While this book does rank as three stars, it is really close to being in four star territory. Try to think of Twilight Company as at least a 3.5 star as you go through this review as well as the novel itself. This book does one of the best things that Star Wars can do; it shows us normal people instead of the super powerful, stuff of legends characters that make SEAL Team Six look like kindergartners. Twilight Company is definitely intended to put the “War” in Star Wars. Whereas the movies (and heck, even most of the books) deal exclusively with the heroes of the Rebellion fighting the big battles that can make or break the war effort, this book shows all of the other battles that tie into those major events but are not important enough to warrant screen time.
Twilight Company is meant to be a tie-in to the 2015 reboot of the Star Wars Battlefront video game, hence the subject matter of the book. While the entire Twilight Company is present for most of the book, the story primarily focuses on a single squad who are more or less the top badasses of what is supposed to be the most badass infantry company within the Rebel Alliance. The book starts off shortly after the end of Episode IV, with the Rebels taking full advantage of the disarrayed Imperial forces that are scrambling to recover from the first Death Star’s destruction.
Sergeant Namir is the central character of the book. He is your typical “been through hell” soldier; fighting from a young age, he has seen and done enough horrible things to harden himself into little more than a fighting machine that lives only to keep as many of his fellow soldiers alive for as long as he can. In this way, Twilight Company is very similar to some other war books, such as All Quiet on the Western Front, but it did feel like Namir was focused on a bit too much in the book. Initially, he is just one soldier among many; there is nothing particularly special about him compared to the other Twilight soldiers. The book could have been a bit stronger if it had focused a bit more on the other squad members, some of whom seemed to have had the potential for as deep of a backstory, if not deeper, as Namir.
The story does change perspective a few times, just not to other Twilight soldiers. There are flashbacks to Namir’s past as well as several moments where we see the villains of the story as they hunt for Twilight Company. Additionally, there are a few bits that tell the story of a female Stormtrooper named Varrah Nyendi. The segment of the story featuring Nyendi did not seem to really add anything to the book. It felt like her story was supposed to give readers the opportunity to see things from the side of an Imperial who genuinely believed the Empire was a good thing out to help people, but she was ultimately not fleshed out enough as a character to have that impact.
Overall this book was a good standalone war story that provides an excellent perspective of what the rest of the Rebel Alliance was doing while Luke, Leia, and Han were dealing with Vader and the Empire’s other major players. However, this story felt like it would have been perfect for a single player campaign mode in the (multiplayer only) Battlefront video game. They would have had to scale back on the story and the characters to focus more on the battles, but that is a necessary sacrifice if you were to transfer this from book form to video game form. If not for that wasted opportunity (and the fact that the whole “humanizing the Imperials” thing was already done way better in Lost Stars), Twilight Company may have ranked a full four stars.