By George Bate
The post-Return of the Jedi era has been fleshed out across a number of projects in different mediums, including the hit Disney+ series The Mandalorian. Given the wealth of content inhabiting this transitional phase in the galaxy, it’s a testament to author Alexander Freed that his Alphabet Squadron trilogy stands apart as being some of the most emotionally resonant and impactful Star Wars content in this era and even the franchise more broadly in recent years. This is further showcased in Del Rey’s Victory’s Price, Freed’s concluding installment in the Alphabet Squadron trilogy.
Victory’s Price follows the events of Shadow Fall and the shocking twist regarding the series’ lead character Yrica Quell. The galaxy is still reeling from the Emperor’s Operation Cinder, plummeting the galaxy into turmoil. The 204th Imperial Fighter Wing, a.k.a. Shadow Wing, have strengthened significantly since they first emerged in Alphabet Squadron. Led by Colonel Soran Keize, Shadow Wing once again go head-to-head with Alphabet Squadron in a conflict that is both intriguing and emotional.
Victory’s Price continues the tradition of its predecessors in really offering insight into what it is like to live in the aftermath of the Battle of Endor and be enveloped in the subsequent conflict. Yes, we see how the Empire ‘fell’ in Return of the Jedi, but it’s canon content like Victory’s Price or Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy that puts the audience in the shoes of people actually living through these events. Freed excels at this grounded, introspective storytelling and doesn’t restrict such a perspective to just the New Republic in also highlighting the perspectives of the antagonists.
This style of writing is best showcased whenever Yrica Quell takes centerstage. We really felt invested in Yrica’s moral conflict and warring sense of duties. Yrica is unlike many Star Wars protagonists we are exposed to as she’s more withdrawn and temperamental than others. This has made Yrica standout throughout the Alphabet Squadron trilogy and especially in this final installment.
The improvement of Victory’s Price over its predecessors is perhaps most evident when looking at the novel’s antagonists, in particular Soran Keize. The initial Alphabet Squadron novel provides a somewhat shaky characterization of the trilogy’s villains, but this issue has been ameliorated with both Shadow Fall and now Victory’s Price. Tonally, Victory’s Price is more akin to Shadow Fall than Alphabet Squadron, which is another advantage it has. Shadow Fall followed in the footsteps of The Empire Strikes Back in adopting a darker, nuanced tone relative to the more colorful Alphabet Squadron. Victory’s Price seems to blend the tones of Alphabet Squadron and Shadow Fall really well with plenty of levity that never detracts from the emotional weight or stakes of the plot.
Alexander Freed concludes his Alphabet Squadron in stunning fashion with Victory’s Price. The novel continues to flesh out the post-Return of the Jedi era by offering unique characterizations of figures on both sides of the morally ambiguous conflict. Exciting action, impactful emotional setpieces and decisions, and interesting easter eggs and references are abound in Freed’s novel and make us highly recommend it to Star Wars eager to engross themselves in a relatable, poignant tale in a galaxy far, far away.
Victory’s Price will release on March 2.
Image courtesy of Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC