BBY/ABY is used to position items along the Star Wars Timeline. BBY refers to Before the Battle of Yavin. ABY refers to After the Battle of Yavin. The Battle of Yavin in Episode IV: A New Hope occured in 0 BBY/ABY.
The Youtini Expanded Universe Ranking system is a 1-5 scale that ranks EU book quality, difficulty, and importance. Books closer to Level 1 are easier to read and understand, more important, and of higher quality.
From the mind of Battlefront: Twilight Company’s Alexander Freed, Alphabet Squadron (the first book in a planned trilogy) brings us into the lives of the newly minted titular squad of ace fighter pilots led by recent Imperial defector, Yrica Quell. Under the watchful eye and tutelage of both New Republic Intelligence Agent Caern Adan and the illustrious General Hera Syndulla, Quell’s team attempts to coalesce in pursuit of a singular, crucial objective: the eradication of the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing more commonly known as Shadow Wing.
The first novel in a new trilogy starring veteran New Republic pilots.On the verge of victory in a brutal war, five New Republic pilots transform from hunted to hunters in this epic STAR WARS adventure. Set after Return of the Jedi, Alphabet Squadron follows a unique team, each flying a different class of starfighter as they struggle to end their war once and for all. The Emperor is dead. His final weapon has been destroyed. The Imperial Army is in disarray. In the aftermath, Yrica Quell is just one of thousands of defectors from her former cause living in a deserters’ shantytown—until she is selected to join Alphabet Squadron. Cobbled together from an eclectic assortment of pilots and starfighters, the five members of Alphabet are tasked by New Republic general Hera Syndulla herself. Like Yrica, each is a talented pilot struggling to find their place in a changing galaxy. Their mission: to track down and destroy the mysterious Shadow Wing, a lethal force of TIE fighters exacting bloody, reckless vengeance in the twilight of their reign. The newly formed unit embodies the heart and soul of the Rebellion: ragtag, resourceful, scrappy, and emboldened by their most audacious victory in decades. But going from underdog rebels to celebrated heroes isn’t as easy as it seems, and their inner demons threaten them as much as their enemies among the stars. The wayward warriors of Alphabet Squad will have to learn to fly together if they want to protect the new era of peace they’ve fought so hard to achieve.
Alphabet Squadron is a fantastic read! The characters that Freed created for this story are incredibly interesting both individually and as a unit. The vast majority of the book is spent inside the different characters' heads and very slowly revealing small facts about their pasts and small hints about their intentions for the future. Admittedly, spending so much time on character development doesn't leave a ton of room for the larger plot to be developed. However, with two books left to go in this trilogy, there is plenty of time for that. Overall, one of the best Canon novels to date!
For anyone that loves starship pilots, dog fights, and honestly, Star Wars as a whole, your time has come. Alphabet Squadron is an incredible, character-focused, beginning on the next great trilogy in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Freed has created a cast of characters that I would follow through fire, and the stakes of this book are intensely real from the first page. A must read.
If there's one thing I'll remember about Alphabet Squadron a year or so from now, it'll be my love for the characters. Each member of the squad carries a unique background and their own reasons for fighting, making them all valuable in their own special way. Their differences cause conflicts within the group, but I found myself rooting for them as Hera Syndulla encourages camaraderie among the pilots. You won't find any major characters, untapped links to the films, or anything significant to add to the overall EU, but Alphabet Squadron expresses a certain charm that you can't help but appreciate.
If you like starfighters and pilots, then you're going to enjoy this book. Alexander Freed introduces quite an ensemble, which might make the first few chapters a little harder to get through for some people, but the payoff is a thorough exploration of their personalities and motivations. Hera Syndulla (not much of a spoiler there, she's on the back of the dust jacket) makes more than "just" an appearance for the sake of fan service. The plot is straightforward, if not terribly adventurous, but with such a great example of character exploration and development, I have high hopes for the rest of the series.
The Empire is a mess following the demise of its Emperor, and it's up to the New Republic to secure control of the galaxy once and for all. Along the way, a group of pilots is forced to work together to help eliminate evil in the galaxy once and for all -- and it's a fun and entertaining flight! Alexander Freed is a master in character development and keeping his readers curious, and the return of a familiar character fan-favorite makes the book even more enjoyable. While the writing style can take some getting used to in the very beginning, once you really get into the story and all it has to offer, you're going to have a hard time putting it down.