Science Fiction, Military Sci-Fi
August 13th, 2017
A Review by Chris Fried
Kill Team is Book Three in the Galaxy’s Edge series, which finds us picking up where we left off after the events of Galactic Outlaws, Book Two, with the crew of the Indelible VI licking their wounds and pondering their futures. As we flash back to the aftermath of the Battle of Kublar seven years ago from events in Book One, we pick up the action with the remnants of Victory Company. The Mid-Core Rebels have control of a capital ship and are battling it out with the Republic’s super-destroyer in space and it’s up to the Legionnaires to grab some soldiers, board the ship and stop them! But there’s no rest for the weary because from that mission onwards, a Dark Ops team is formed to defend the Republic and go on missions too impossible for the regular soldiers. But when they discover the rebel’s plan to strike a strong blow to the Republic, will they be able to stop it in time?
This novel is split into two narratives. The first one is about the Dark Ops team that forms and faces down dark threats. This kill team is comprised of the best of the best and their missions are filled with heart-stopping, adrenaline pumping action. From rooting out traitors and the corrupt, they also chase down crucial intelligence and each assignment is more gripping than the last. This feels like the movie “The Delta Force” mixed in with some “Zero Dark Thirty” special forces missions as they follow these leads to find the rebels and their leaders who committed these heinous terrorist acts against the Republic. As the Legionnaire motto says: “Always make ‘em pay” and they do so with vicious and enthusiastic gusto.
Filled with tension, brimming with firepower and threating to explode into wanton violence, each surgical strike brings them closer to finding out what nefarious plan the rebels have in mind. Boarding a cruiser to take it down from the inside was particularly thrilling, fraught with danger and creative problem-solving. The one truly impossible mission that looks like a suicide run is a real humdinger and deservedly the centerpiece of the grand finale. All the while, camaraderie is built as one group of stragglers is sewn together into a finely-honed blade that strikes deeply at the heart of the enemy and its might is needed to try to foil the rebel’s audacious plan.
The second narrative is about a spy named Tom who is deep undercover, trying to get precious intelligence on the rebels while ingratiating himself to their benefactor. This arms dealer, Scarpia, is a mob boss of the highest order, who has the ability to get the resources the rebels need to carry out their plan. The deeper Tom gets, the higher the paranoia rises as every turn has the potential to self-destruct and get him killed!
As the two storylines intersect in surprising ways, we see how much more complex the storyline becomes, as each one influences the other. It also picks up on plot threads left dangling from Book 1: Legionnaire, and masterfully weaves them into the story here. Some of those threads really provide some strong background for the events leading up to and into the Battle of Kublar, showcasing the ability of the authors to deftly tie all the stories together while adding new depth to them in unanticipated ways.
The second narrative also is told from a bold storytelling perspective, featuring Tom’s deepest innermost thoughts and feelings of nervousness, revulsion, and calculation required to get the job done. It also presents several complicated moral dilemmas that challenge his ethics by being pushed into directions he doesn’t want to go. The extremes he struggles with and how he tries to use the ends to justify the means for the greater good adds a meaningful and colorful dimension to Tom’s personality, where everything is not so clear cut.
This storyline was a risk to me, as it slowed down the fast pace of the novel to dive into Tom’s life. How Tom submerges his personality into this role in front of Scarpia and his dangerous crew is also very challenging and filled with shades of gray. It’s a dash of James Bond mixed together with the classic “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” as all decency is slowly sacrificed for the sake of the mission. This aspect of the story took a while to grow on me, as I was impatient to get back to the action with the Kill Team.
But as it was developed further, it became increasingly more fascinating and sucked me into the storyline in a different way that was also equally compelling. This becomes more immediately apparent as the two storylines begin to dovetail together more tightly, intertwining around each other until the finale is dependent upon both narratives by the time we reach the end. The finale is one of the most suspenseful sequences in this series of books to date and that’s saying something because there’s plenty of great stuff in the series to compare it against!
Both authors could have just been complacent and just replicated the success of the previous two novels to play it safe. But this storyline proved to be just as effective, taking bold steps, getting big payoffs and featuring some startling revelations as a result. Meshing into events from before Legionnaire and tying all of the stories together like this demonstrates their dedication to crafting these stories. What impressed me with this is the fact that they know where the entire nine-book storyline is heading and how it picks up on tiny details like this and transforms them into important pivot points that this novel then builds upon. As a result, the world-building and fine attention to detail is something I appreciated a lot.
I would warn anyone picking up this novel without having read the first two in the series that the beginning of this novel features some minor spoilers from the end of book two. If you haven’t read books one and two in this series (and you really should, I loved them), this novel throws you headlong into battle without a helmet or any training and assumes you know the story from the previous novels published so far.
This is another outstanding novel in the Galaxy’s Edge series, one that switches it up some with a greater variety of storylines and does a superb job with it. Though this is Star Wars but not Star Wars in its depiction of a galaxy fighting between a dominant Republic and a group of rebels, it takes these concepts and continues to spin them in refreshing and daring ways. The pages turn quickly, it engages your imagination and held my interest from the beginning to the end. Bring on the next book in the series, as I definitely want more!
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