Alphabet Squadron (Star Wars)

Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Series: Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron, Book 1, Star Wars, Book 29
Length: 13 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,737 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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. 

Part of a Marvel and Del Rey crossover event, Alphabet Squadron is the counterpart to Marvel’s TIE Fighter miniseries, which follows the exploits of Shadow Wing as they scheme to thwart the New Republic.

©2019 Alexander Freed (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"There’s a lot to love about Alphabet Squadron and you’ll be left wanting more in the best way possible." (Cinelinx)

"Alphabet Squadron is a wondrously constructed, character focused adventure that marries high flying thrills with respect and reverence for its subjects, and I can’t wait until we see the next title announcement soaring across our feeds." (Youtini) 

"Every fan who wants a taste of what the future of Star Wars has in store for us should read this novel." (Star Wars News Net)

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What listeners say about Alphabet Squadron (Star Wars)

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    3 out of 5 stars

A Good Story there but poorly written and read

It's a real shame I restarted the book a second time after taking a break to listen to another. But it's just hard to follow mostly from a combination of bad writing and monotone reading of the book. I'd compare it to Empire Aftermath for following the story just confusing at times leaving the listener wondering who they were following or what was going on. The monotone reading left me zoning at times no matter how hard I tried to listen. It's a real shame though I feel there's a good story being told here but too many failures to allow it to be enjoyable.

8 people found this helpful

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not worthy. wont buy a sequel

this book i struggled to finish every chapter... there are a lot of... and this is the story he/she told....this fragmented the book too much.... lost the line....
seems like every new canon sw book is worse than the last....
where is ROGUE SQUADRON? I was a sw fan.. i could say im a sw legends fan now....
i wont buy a second book of alphabet squadron, but i read all of Rogue Squadron
please make full audiobooks of ROGUE SQUADRON.

6 people found this helpful

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A spy book about no spys

A spy book about no spies... Let start with the positive

Pro:
I really liked the reader. Her ability to give each character a distinct voice was a blessing with so many names sounding the same to me.

It's fun for the most part, and a good popcorn read.

It has an ending for the most part, honestly thought it would end on a cliffhanger. (which means I can ignore the sequels)

Sound effect and music were a nice addition without distracting from the book.

Con:
It's a trilogy that never really gets going.

The main reason all the characters are together are to join the intelligence department... though all of them are pilots and hate intelligence work. Start really annoying me every time it was brought up, Seems like it was pitched as a Star Wars bond book, but the author hated mysteries. Like book one is about the chauffeurs that drive around empty limos.

All the characters use non gender names, and K or hard C names. I basically took a good minute each chapter to figure out who they were talking about when it would switch perspective. Like choose one, non-gender names or same letter sounds don't do both!

It follows 4 main charters rotating between each which is fine, but would also throw in a chapter here or there for characters that had nothing to do with the main story, simply confusing the over all story.

Felt like a screen play that Disney said 'no' to.

I was more excited that the book ended then the ending was exciting.

5 people found this helpful

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I am struggling to finish this book

Plan and simple, this is a very boring and confusing story and the narrator's whisperspeak reading makes it no better.
I've had this book for about a month and I am only at chapter 8 because I have had to start chapters over to follow the inconsistencies with the story jumping all over the place.
There is no clear objective to this story.

5 people found this helpful

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least favorite New Canon

story structure was not enjoyable. music was pretty bland. very annoying characters who made frustrating decisions that didn't seem to benefit the story. I was also not a fan of the narration. there isn't much difference between many of the characters. that combined with the story jumping around in each part made it not enjoyable.

4 people found this helpful

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Good start to future adventure

This is a general impression of Alphabet Squadron.

The premise is simple in nature. What happens when an irregular assortment of fighter pilots and military personnel come together to stop an enemy fighter group that are a danger to the very fragile New Republic that forms after the events of Return of the Jedi.

It’s an interesting, albeit reminiscent, premise that Alphabet Squadron explores as this odd group comes together, connected by individual trauma inflicted by the imperial fighter wing nicknamed Shadow Wing. This could be a modern telling of old movies I watched from my childhood like Force 10 from Navarone mixed with a sprinkle of the cat and mouse action from a movie like The Enemy Below.

What I liked about the story was the investment of time given in meeting the crew of Alphabet Squadron and the opportunity to learn about them and understand their motivation in the hunt for Shadow Wing. The members of Alphabet Squadron do not come together easily, these are damaged people and the journey batters them more. We also meet a lot of characters in the story with a good amount of exposition. If you feel like you’re missing something and need to go back, don’t worry, it’s not you.

One major criticism of the story is the lack of a true villain. To learn more about Shadow Wing, there is a prequel comic series that takes place before Alphabet Squadron and it being promoted as a cross-over event. It’s not a deal breaker, but in the story we hear about Shadow Wing and are left to just accept they are a real danger.

On the actual quality of the audiobook, the story was read by Saskia Maarleveld and she is excellent. Maarleveld brought each character a unique voice, her Hera Syndulla[ is damn good, and she should get a phone call anytime a Star Wars production needs a voice for an imperial torture droid.

Some of the music tracks fell short. Again, not a deal breaker as it didn’t distract from Maarleveld, but you feel for the sound engineer with the job of making it sound Star Wars with generic music tracks.

If you do invest in Alphabet Squadron, be prepared for a couple of follow-up novels, this story is just the set-up for the next adventures.

8 people found this helpful

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What a book.

I've seen a number of comments in this review thread complaining that this isn't like the old rogue squadron books, that this book is hard to follow and that it's not very good with some even comparing it to the first Aftermath book. I pose a question to those who commented such things: What about the title of this book made you expect a rogue squadron book? is it the use of the word "Squadron"? did you even attempt to listen to this book, or did you just put it on as background noise? Did you even read the Aftermath trilogy?

this is an awesome book. It made me root for the characters. I experienced sadness, disgust, anger, uncertainty, and a feeling of redemption. The book is very easy to follow if you have half a brain. The characters are all different enough in their mannerisms and speech cadence that they're easy to differentiate. The pace of the book is well done and the voice actor is great. The ambience also deserves a nod, introducing new music to the star wars world besides the typical John William's score and cantina song.

The book has a surprising return of a beloved character, mentions the exploits of the main characters of the star wars movies and let's you experience the war from the eyes of basic foot soldiers to pilots to Intel agents. It also introduces some new myths, a view of the jedi from people who have never seen or experienced them and the experiences of an imperial defector as she seeks redemption and a new home.

Of course, there are some issues with this book as nothing is perfect, regardless of the romanticized legends lore. As with every disney book now, gay characters are ham fisted into the book, mentioned for literally no other reason than to attempt diversity and inclusion. I feel like it can be insulting to real gays, as it's done more out of an effort to have a "token" gay character than to actually flesh out a characters back story. It really takes me out of the immersion. I can immediately think of a gay character that was done horribly at first, but grew into one of my favourite characters of all time (sinjir rath velus from aftermath). I'm not sure if it's a "quota" of sorts handed down from Disney to the Authors of the new canon, but I really wish they took more time to flesh these characters out.

overall I think this book is worth getting. It's an awesome listen, the story is done well for the most part and the voice actor does a great job.

3 people found this helpful

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It's not Rogue Squadron

Being a die-hard fan of the Rogue and Wraith Squadron series of books from the EU, I was super excited for this release.

The premise was slightly baffling, but I needed to read this book.

However, I just couldn't get into it. There are far too many characters, too many storylines to place these unfamiliar names, and the book seems so jumbled.

The narrator does a fantastic job throughout the book, but it's still very lacking. I listened for the lore, for the back story that would flush out the overall Star Wars arc... But it wasn't there.

39 people found this helpful

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weak story, bad narrator

First time i feel like i wasted credit on a book. the story is sloppy and Narrator is for some reason whispering all the time. Story flow is confusing.

2 people found this helpful

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Worse than Aftermath and that's saying something

I tried, i really tried. I just could not get interested in the characters or the storyline. I am a die-hard star wars geek and this just had me puzzled. Right from the start it didn't sound like a Star Wars story. Of course it was lacking all the fan service and main characters we've come to know and love but the writer seemed to have trouble telling a real Star Wars story.

Give me Wookie lore and space battles right away and i'll forgive the endless internal dialogue of a main character whose name still escapes me. If I have to ask myself "who?" every time a character is mentioned, you've lost me. There are no reference points; it felt like a movie jammed into a book. At least in the movie i would visually recognize the character and feel like "ok, i have to root for her."

For me the reader was also very distracting. I couldn't figure out which was a male and which was a female character. Marc Thompson would have given this book a bit of a bump but I can see why he passed on the story.

Overall it wasn't as bad as The Crystal Star but still worse than Aftermath Book 1 which this reader just barely made it through without throwing the book out a window.

Would not recommend, I had high hopes but they were sadly not met.

45 people found this helpful