I finished Karen Traviss's first Republic Commando novel last night. Way, way too late last night. Amy says I should self-impose a reading curfew and that sounds like a good idea right about now.
The book itself is quite good. Unlike most things Star Wars, Hard Contact focuses on the adventures of a squad of commandos thrown together after their original squads are destroyed in the Battle of Geonosis at the end of Episode II. These four men are sent behind enemy lines by the Republic on a new mission to destroy a Separatist bioweapons facility. While doing so they run across some Jedi and a Mandalorian, There are no named characters from the films in this novel. This is a book about the troopers and Padawans that make the Republic war effort run.
It does a very good job. The book delves into the culture of the clone soldiers and their inherent humanity. While they are of identical genetic stock, each commando has their own personality derived from their personal experiences as individuals. They become more than just faceless "wet droids." These are tragic figures. Men born to die, either in battle or because of the side-effects of the rapid aging used to bring them to an early adulthood.
The military terminology of the book didn't quite work for me though. It is too derivative to really fit in Star Wars. Couldn't she have found a better acronym than GPS for am SW GPS system for instance? I also found it funny that acronyms were throw around a lot even though Star Wars uses Aurek-Besh instead of the Modern Latin alphabet. Not that this kept the movies from having characters named R2-D2 or C-3PO.