Friday, May 11, 2012

"Republic Commando" Commentary

This week's commentary will be on the Republic Commando book series by Karen Traviss, and I can assure you that this commentary will not be as silly as our last one on "Who Shot First: Greedo or Han?"

For those of you who don't know, Republic Commando is a series of four books that follow the lives of two clone commando squads and their various non-clone friends and superiors through the three years of the Clone Wars. Karen Traviss, the author, was planning on continuing their stories with a series called Imperial Commando (which would take place during the Jedi Purge and the very begining of the Empire), but, unfortunately, the series was cancelled after the first book, 501st.

My sister, Ahsoka Tano, and I will be commenting on various aspects of the Rpeublic Commando series, which we hope you will find informative or at least enjoyable. Ahsoka's answers are in red, mine are in blue.

Which character(s) is/are your favorite, and why?
My favorite ones would have to be Fi and Corr [from Omega Squad].  They add a lot of comic relief, and they have a different personality than you would expect most clones to have.

The best character by far is RC-1207 – whose given name is Sev. He’s a member of Delta Squad, which is the main group of Republic Commandos after Omega Squad. Sev is very cool and arguably the best commando in the entire army, particularly when it comes to sniping. His morbid humor is very funny, especially when he’s exchanging quips with his brother and squadmate, Scorch.

What are your thoughts concerning the premise of Republic Commando?
Omega Squad, the main characters of "Republic Commando"
I think it was really interesting to see someone’s point of view on how clones were treated (which was not very well, apparently), because in other movies and books they show clones as being like, “Oh, yeah, this is great!” And they make it seem like the clones are just a type of living robot that can’t think for itself mostly. But in Karen Traviss’ books she makes them seem more human, and I like that as opposed to the mindless droids. Although, in some parts, she might have slightly overdone it. By that, I mean she focused more on the bad parts of their lives than some of the good things that could’ve come out of it. Especially when she delves into the character’s thoughts, where they’re thinking about all of the bad things that are happening to them. It can be rather depressing. But overall I thought it was very well thought out.

Like Ahsoka said, I really like that this series shows an alternate view of clones. We get to see the war through their eyes, rather than through a Jedi’s. I know from a few comments I’ve read on the Internet that some readers think that the clones don’t care about the outside world, that they wouldn’t dream of doing anything but work in the army. But I really don’t think that’s true because the clones are humans – extremely well trained and conditioned humans, yes, but humans nonetheless – so it’s nice to find a series that talks about the clones as though they’re real thinking, feeling human beings. Republic Commando actually opened my eyes quite a bit to what the clones were really like. It’s so easy to see them as almost machine-like when they stand in formation and wear identical, faceless armor. But Republic Commando introduces us to the men underneath the plastoid, and that is an experience that I will never forget.

Would you say that the series is re-readable, and why?
Yes, I think it is, mostly because when I read books the first time I tend to skim over long, important, boring parts. [laughs] But even if you don’t skip over parts when you’re reading, I think it still would be re-readable because you can never pick up all of the information the first time around – that’s ture for all books. So every time you re-read it, you can glean a little more information that makes you see what’s happening more clearly. And the funny parts are still funny every time.

Most definitely. With every reading I learn more and more about why a certain character said something, or why another character refused to do something else. Republic Commando isn’t like mystery stories (like The Westing Game) that you can’t ever read again because you know what happens, nor is it like some badly written books that you wish you hadn’t read in the first place. Whenever I start reading Republic Commando again I feel like I’ve been invited back into an awesome world. It’s such an inviting series that sometimes I imagine Omega Squad welcoming me back whenever I start re-reading the series. If you like Star Wars and war books, then Republic Commando will most definitely be one of those books that you want to re-read over and over again.

Give me three reasons why you like Republic Commando.
Well, the first on is it’s got everything I think a good book should have, which includes: humor, drama, action, suspense, um, oh drat I had something, just a touch of sadness, and a little mystery.

Second would be the plot and characters were all very well thought out. Even though none of the people and places exist, you feel you know everything about them.

And number three…my third one would have to be Karen Traviss is such a great author. There are not many people who can actually write a good story, but I think she does a really good job of it.

One, the characters are amazing!

Two, the whole series was developed extremely well with twists and turns around each corner.

Three, it’s Star Wars and clones! You can’t get much better than that!

Give me three things you don’t like about Republic Commando.
If there were one thing I could change, it would be to take out all of the Gurlanins [a shape-shifting, dog-like alien species]. They are so snotty, and querulous, and overall annoying.

Number two would be she does focus on all of the bad things rather than the good which – too be honest – they don’t have much good in their lives, but some good things do happen.

The main thing I don’t like is the fact that starting in the second book – Triple Zero – two of the characters have a relationship that I believe is not appropriate since it is not in a marriage context. Karen Traviss, the author, does not exactly talk about it – she mainly just alludes to it in a very roundabout sort of way without ever actually saying what those two are doing – but the readers will understand.

The second thing I don’t like is that one character I really like goes MIA and never comes back.

And, thirdly, I agree with Ahsoka: the Gurlanins need to go. They are the most annoying characters I have ever encountered. The whole species is just really annoying, snobbish, arrogant, and they all have superiority complexes. After the first book they aren’t in the series all that much, but they’re still there enough to be exhasperating.

Which book is your favorite, and why?
Probably the third [True Colors]. Mostly because it’s the funniest one.

My favorite book is Triple Zero, followed closely by True Colors. Those are both very funny, and Triple Zero also introduces Delta Squad (who, by the way, are better than Omega, in my opinion).

If someone asked you why he should read RC, what would you say?
Because it’s one of the few series of books that I find good enough to put time into reading it.

It’s Star Wars, clones, war, humor, drama, clones, and it’s just an amazingly well done series.

What do you think of Karen Traviss’ writing style?
She has a very easy to understand writing style, and can do both action and dialogue pretty well. Although sometimes when she goes into character’s thoughts, she can be a little overly wordy.

Delta Squad, with Fixer, Boss, Scorch, and Sev
I think that Ms. Traviss did a very good job in writing Republic Commando. She used to be in the British Army, so she knows how to write action scenes, how armies work, and how real soldiers act and talk, so the whole thing sounds very plausible. Her dialogue is witty, and her descriptions are concise and understandable. The only thing I think she could’ve worked on were the sections when some characters are in love. They just talk to each other like it’s business as usual, and their dialogue sometimes sounds strained in those instances. Other than that, I think Ms. Traviss did a really good job. She’s one of the best authors I’ve read so far.

How developed are Traviss’ characters, and why?
I think her characters are very well-rounded, and while I know they do not exist when I’m reading the books sometimes it feels like they really do.

Extremely well developed. At first it’s a little difficult to keep all of the commandos straight, but once you’ve got it then they just keep developing and progressing. Even the minor characters feel like real, tangible people. You emphasize and sympathize greatly with them, and you can even feel their pain, their joy, their fear, every emotion they feel. The characters are so well rounded and developed that it actually makes me sad because they feel so real but they’re really not.

What was your most favorite scene in any RC book?
One of my favorite parts was in True Colors, when Omega Squad were eating dinner with the native Gaftikari, the Marits – a lizard-like people. Basically, it is a funny part concerning what they were eating. You would have to read it to understand the humor. [smiles slyly]

My favorite scene would have to be from the second book, Triple Zero. Delta and Omega squad are hiding in various buildings, and Omega Squad’s demolitions expert, Darman, is complaining that he can’t wear his armor during this stakeout. His squadmate, Fi, quips, “But you get to wear face camo, instead. Makes you feel wild and dangerous?” Then Sev growls back, “I’m wild. And then I get dangerous. Shut up.”

That scene cracks me up every time.

What was your favorite line in any RC book?
There were too many good lines for me to just pick one.

I like a lot of lines, but one of my favorites is from True Colors. Scorch and Sev are both doing reconnaissance underwater, and Scorch exclaims: “Wow, this is amazing. Look at that!” Sev responds back, “It’s a fish, Scorch. You’ll get over it. So will the fish.”

Do you think that Imperial Commando, if it had continued, would have been just as good, better, or worse than RC?
It could be good or bad depending on where she went with it. Like she could kill off everyone in the end, and that would make it terrible. Or she could have them all back home and live happily ever after.

I really don’t know. I would hope so, but I guess we’ll never know…at least not until someone actually writes the sequel to 501st – which isn’t likely. I don’t really think I could say if Imperial Commando would have been better or worse.

How many stars would you give the plot?


The characters?


The style?


The re-readability?




Would you recommend RC, and which age group would you recommend it for, and why?
Yes, I would recommend it. As for the age group, I would say late middle school and up, so 13-ish. Because some concepts might be difficult for younger readers to understand, and there are made-up swear words.

Yes, I would recommend this book whole-heartedly, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone younger than 12 or 13. The main reason is because the books are war, deal with some concepts that younger kids wouldn’t understand, and because of the extra-marital relationship between two of the characters (which I mentioned earlier). There are no real swear words, but there are a few that were made up and don’t actually mean anything. Those don’t bother me so much because they don’t mean anything, but I usually replace them in my mind with something funny. It’s kinda funny to be reading a part like that and replacing the made-up bad word with something like, “Oh, pink sparkly unicorns!”

Final thoughts?
*Jedi Mind Trick* You will go read this book. Now.

My final thoughts are that these books are really good, and I really wish that Ms. Traviss had been allowed to continue the Imperial Commando series, but maybe she will someday. Even if she doesn’t, Republic Commando will still be my most favorite Star Wars books, hands down.

If you've read Republic Commando, what do you think of it?
And if you would ever like to be part of one of our commentaries (or you have a topic you'd like us to discuss), please send me an e-mail at this address: edessacarrick@gmail.​com
We'd love to hear your opinions, too! :D

 - Edessa, signing off


  1. I will go read this book....
    The Commandos should make an appearence in The Clone Wars. That would be awesome! :D


    1. Awesome! Let me know what you think of it! :D Delta Squad did make a very minor appearance in Season Three's "Witches of the Mist" episode, but I would also love to see an episode (or even a whole arc) devoted to the RCs. *hint hint, Mr. Filoni* lol! XD

  2. I would like to argue that Imperial Commando: 501st is part of the other four books. I mean, it's the same people, just a different title. So when I think of "the Republic Commando series" I think Imperial Commando as well.

    1. and, besides, 501st is the ONLY ONE IN ITS SERIES. :P

    2. Yeah, I was soooo upset about that. I mean, I knew there wasn't a sequel to "501st," but I was still pretty bummed that there wasn't another book. I just hope that Karen Traviss is allowed to write more "Star Wars" books 'cause she is seriously an AWESOME author! I just wish I knew why she can't finish "Imperial Commando".....

  3. my boss needed a form several days ago and saw a document management site that hosts lots of fillable forms . If others are interested in it also , here's a


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