Republic Commando: Triple Zero

June 8, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

zeroRepublic Commando: Triple Zero by Karen Traviss


After liking Hard Contact as much as I did, I was eager to read Traviss’ next book in the Republic Commando series. It took me a bit longer than usual to finish the book, thanks to regular life getting in the way, and I was pleased to see that the style and tone she set in the first book carried over to the second one. This makes me eager to want to read the next three books in the series, as well as everything else Traviss wrote for the Expanded Universe.

Like she did in Hard Contact, Traviss focuses on humanizing the clones and making the story about them. This time, instead of having them fight a battle on the front lines, she puts them on Coruscant, where they’re trying to stop a group of insurgents who are bombing the city. The story involves a lot of espionage, infiltration, and assassinations, but instead of the Jedi fighting to prevent these things, this time the protagonists are the ones doing these things, often with the help of some of the Jedi. It’s not a typical Star Wars story, but based on Hard Contact, it is a typical Karen Traviss story.

In Hard Contact, the heart of the story was an insecure Jedi coming into her own when she’s put in command of a team of Republic Commandos. The story eschews the stereotype of the arrogant Jedi, instead making the clones she commands the heroes of the story. In Triple Zero, the entire exercise is performed with the established team (plus a few extras), so that aspect of the story was missing. A large part of what made Hard Contact work for me was that progression of character, so Triple Zero didn’t resonate as much with me. That’s not to say it didn’t resonate at all; it just didn’t have the same effect on me.

Traviss uses some of the same characters she used in the first book in this series, which makes sense, since the series is called Republic Commando. To suddenly shift to another commando team wouldn’t make sense, but she does bring new commandos onto the team. The problem is that she now has double the number of characters in the novel, and I had a hard enough time keeping up with them all in Hard Contact that I’d rather not have to deal with that many more again. That’s not the author’s fault by any means, but it was a deterrent on my part.

On the bright side, she creates good characters, and once again avoids the standard Jedi story and instead focuses on the clones. In fact, the story doesn’t feature or even mention any of the usual Star Wars characters, save for one off-the-cuff mention of General Kenobi. She blazes her own trail again, and it fits well in the Expanded Universe, despite the fact that the inclusion of interrogation, assassinations, and the propensity of violence and anger don’t scream “Star Wars” for a lot of readers.

Triple Zero isn’t quite as good as Hard Contact, but that’s to be expected, since much of the first novel was introducing us to the central characters of the Republic Commandos. It was still a good novel, with thoughtful passages, an interesting plot, and engaging characters. The novel sets up events for the next book in the series, and it’s one I look forward to reading. In fact, anything Traviss writes — Star Wars or otherwise — will likely wind up on my future reading lists.


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