I love the clones in Star Wars (except when they turn into huge jack asses), so a book featuring clone commandos is right up my alley. Before I get to the actual review though, I’d like to note that this is exactly the kind of book I would have done a book report on when I was a kid. You can see why I didn’t kiss a girl before the age of 19.
Star Wars: Hard Contact by Karen Traviss
Book Report by Vincent
Star Wars: Hard Contact is written by Karen Traviss who also wrote the book, Gears of War: Aspho Fields. She’s really good at writing about soldiers who tear shit up and she hits the mark once again. Star Wars: Hard Contact focuses on a squad of clone trooper commandos that have special training, armor, and weapons and live a life dedicated to fighting war. In other words, they are ball dropingly awesome dudes in rad ass armor. The book is based on the Republic Commando video game that came out a few years ago, which was awesome but nobody played it so there isn’t a sequel yet.
The troopers’ mission is to blow some junk up and capture a scientist who is working to create a virus that kills clones. Seeing as how the whole Republic army is made up of clones, a virus that kills clones could be a big twist in their panties. There’s also a Jedi Padawan (basically a glorified trainee) that’s stuck on the planet where the scientist is working. The Jedi’s master was killed and se doesn’t seem to be very good at doing Jedi stuff on her own, so that’s another big problem.
The clones make landfall and from the beginning they start having issues. One clone, who goes by the name Darmon, gets separated from the other three. While they are separated you get to learn that clones have feelings too and that they aren’t just machines like the droids they fight. Eventually Darmon meets up with the stranded Padawan named Etain and they both get past how she sucks and focus on her strengths.
Let’s pause a moment. Before you get all, “WTF, this isn’t like the game at all!”, let me just tell you that the Commandos featured in Hard Contact aren’t the commandos in the game Republic Commando. Star Wars: Hard Contact is based on story elements that occur in a video game, which is in turn based on events depicted in three films, which in turn where prequels of other films. Ow, my brain hurts. If you’re confused though, Hard Contact has a time line of the Clone Wars in the first few pages, so it really helps if you don’t give a shit about the rest of the Star Wars books.
While the clones are all trying to survive in the countryside before they meet up for their big mission, you get to meet the bad guys. I was totally like, “Oh shit!” when I realized that the guy in charge of security was a Mandalorian professional ass kicker like Jango and Boba Fett. I was ultimately let down when the dude never really proved to be that great of an adversary, since most of his plans are foiled immediately by the commandos’ actions. That and I realized I was reading a book so I couldn’t actually see his armor, it was only in the pictures in my mind and that wasn’t as good.
One cool thing about the book is that the droids that make up the bad guy army aren’t half as annoying as the ones in the movies or the Clone Wars cartoon series. They don’t say “Rodger, Rodger” or act like retarded clowns. Instead, they act like formidable enemies should act, which is a big change from all the horseshit George Lucas comes up with. You also get to learn just how big of an asshole the Nemiodians are. They keep the local population in poverty even though they raise the most expensive crop in the galaxy and when they know clones are in the area they start burning down people’s farms in order to flush them out. What asses!
Anyway, the clones finally meet up with each other, come up with a plan, and then attack the jerks who are protecting the scientist. There’s not a lot of plot to discuss, so it makes my book report pretty lame. The book itself isn’t lame though. Hard Contact has great Star Wars sci-fi themed action and provides valuable insight like clones have feelings too and that even a bad Jedi can accomplish great things if they only believed in themselves, but you don’t have to take my word for it: