No Prisoners - Karen Traviss “The choice is always with us, demanding to be made with every action we take, even in peacetime”
Anakin has sent Ahsoka with Captain Rex as the two observe the testing of a new ship, the Leveller, commanded by Gilad Pellaeon. But things go awry when Hallena Devis, a Republic spy and Pellaeon's lover, is captured on Fath.

I Liked:
There is quite a bit to like about this little novel. One of the things that really stood out to me was the characters. I enjoyed seeing our “old” friends, Gil Pellaeon and Callista Masana. I really liked how Traviss added a love interest for Pellaeon (and a black woman to boot!), but she really outdoes herself with Callista, a character I've never been particularly fond of. Traviss does Callista justice and, more than that, alludes to Callista's future bonding with the Eye of Palpatine and losing her ability to touch the Force. Very adept and neatly done (as if on purpose!). Traviss also is more than capable of writing Rex (of course, she really can't err in writing from a clone/Mando) and even, surprisingly, Anakin. Even Ahsoka is far less annoying than I've seen her.
Traviss gets a chance to “fix” the issue of Jedi marrying and having relationships, as first revealed in Children of the Jedi when Callista reveals she dated Geith. I actually don't mind the concept of more Jedi than just those at the Temple, though I continually wonder how the Lost Twenty fits into that picture (not that Altis was specified as a Lost Twenty). Altis' Jedi sect is interesting, and I would love to learn more about them. Though I can't imagine one guy, not that old, has trained thousands of students. Is he meaning thousands of Force-sensitives or thousands of beings in general?
Also, kudos to Traviss for having Pellaeon make Ahsoka dress in decent clothes. I honestly have no idea why the Jedi allow her to dress so scantily (as no one except Aalya, another sex object, does). What happened to the Jedi robes? When could apprentices choose what to wear?
Traviss' forte has always been writing action and military combat (also clones and Mandos). Here, she does a superb job of detailing life on a starship (something gravely missing from most Star Wars EU), a hostage situation, and even a “spook” mission. It's obvious she's knowledgeable and has a firm grasp on what she's talking about (and if not, she does excellent research, as with the battle wounds!).
I was impressed with the conclusions. Several people are given the choice: to think and ponder over the questions they were posed or to ignore them. Some, like Rex, realize that pondering over the questions doesn't do anything but weigh you down. Others, like Anakin, want to refuse to acknowledge there is a problem. And still others, such as Hallena, are seeking out the truth.

I Didn't Like:
This is certainly not the worse that Traviss has written, but I felt it was a little less than perfect, starting with the characters.
From the onset, I was a little shocked at the portrayal of Captain Gilad Pellaeon. It's not that he's portrayed as hugely out of character (like an idiot or corrupt or something along those lines); I just felt that he was off, more like a jolly, good English sea captain who occasionally bucks protocol he doesn't like (such as being on a first name basis with Rex), while adhering to others (proper uniforms on officers, such as Ahsoka). I guess this comes off as a shock since I recently finished Zahn's Hand of Thrawn Duology in which Pellaeon plays a large part and comes off as very formal, very by the book, very proper. And yes, I understand that Pellaeon is younger here, but I still have a hard time picturing him changing so drastically from “cheerio” captain to skeptical, hesitant, questioning captain in Heir to the Empire.
I was also never fond of Hallena. I'm sorry, she just felt too incompetent, too hesitant, too questioning. She goes to JanFathal, utterly fails, and needs to be rescued, causing two clones to lose their lives (and for everyone, most of whom barely know the guys, to angst about it constantly). One could argue that was the whole point, that she accomplished nothing and caused the death of these two men, but I had a hard time buying she was such a good agent, given how quickly she was apprehended and how disillusioned she was so quickly. And her conclusion...ugh, how cliché.
My second biggest complaint is that Traviss, once again, has to make a big argument out of something. Here, as elsewhere, she makes sure to put a load on the comments about how clones are humans, how they are being used by the bad Jedi lead by cold, cruel, heartless Yoda...yada, yada, yada. Been there, done that, got the shirt. As if that weren't bad enough, she also makes sure to really debate the whole attachment issue, sometimes awkwardly inserting it into conversation just so the Jedi philosophy of non-attachment can be assailed (such as when Ahsoka and the clones talk about sex, in the most forced, uncomfortable conversation ever, or Callista and Ahsoka talk about relationships just before a big battle). I don't have a problem with discussing clones' humanity or attachment, but let's not go overboard (and Traviss has said more than enough about the clone humanity thing, in my opinion) and please, let's be a wee bit subtle. I mean, this is a really cool issue, one that would be very interesting, but honestly, Traviss drives it into the dirt (everyone notices the tension between Altis' Jedi and Ahsoka, everyone wants to ask about details, Ahsoka spends 90% of the book gawking at Callista as if she has a second head, etc.) and makes it boring. Although, I will admit, I liked how Altis and Anakin spoke about it at the end.
Then there was the whole thing about Pellaeon and Devis' “secret” relationship. As I read that, I just wondered...why? Why couldn't they come out and admit their relationship? Why was it forbidden at nearly the same level as Anakin and Padme's? I know, Anakin and Padme's was weird (particularly in the movie, when Padme, who should have had zero restrictions, protests it—though the book does clarify this), but the excuse about the Republic wanting squeaky clean officers is just stupid. The Republic needs officers, and they aren't going to get all picky on who they happen to be dating, especially if it means the difference between winning and losing. And I really didn't sense much chemistry between the two. They felt very stiff and formal, even when off duty. Traviss had to tell us they were in love; I would never have gotten it from the way they acted towards or around each other (particularly not with the way that the book ends, which does nothing to cement their “true love” to each other.
It is rare for me to be confused over Traviss' writing or what is going on, but in this book, I encountered that feeling frequently. I was constantly rereading sentences, trying to figure out what the characters were joking about or referring to. Also, there were several battle sequences (such as Pellaeon rescuing Anakin) that were badly described and lost me completely.
I had read somewhere how sexist this book was, and I am going to have to second that. Callista gets slapped on her rear in public as a supposed display of affection (Traviss, if you want to show that Geith and Callista are in love, why not have them hold hands or kiss each other's cheek?). Hallena is considered a commodore solely because she's Pellaeon's squeeze and not because she is an esteemed Republic agent. Hallena also speaks about giving up her job and joining Pellaeon on his ship; nowhere does Pellaeon offer to make the same sacrifice nor do they both agree to give up their jobs for something else. And Padme does the good house-wife thing in making coffee, packing bags, and dishing gossip. Ugh.
Another minor complaint I have is going to sound very strange. Normally, I love it when authors bring a bit of realism to Star Wars: family life, divorce, outings at the park, you get the drill. Here, when Traviss does it, it almost feels over board. From Padme wearing a beauty mask to making coffee—oops, I mean caf—to arguing with a teenager over her clothing choices to likening a revolt to a bargain sale at a mall, it just feels out of place or maybe a bit too...obvious.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Pellaeon goes out of character and swears, using “kriff”.
Geith and Callista are lovers; Geith whacks Callista on the rear in a supposedly “affectionate” pat in public. Pellaeon and Hallena are lovers as well.
Hallena is captured; as she is rescued, at least two clones die.

If I could think of one word to describe this book, it would probably be: disappointing. It's certainly not horrible, but I felt it was lacking, that it didn't live up to Traviss' other works (particularly her novelization of the Clone Wars movie). Traviss writes some characters brilliantly and shows her expertise in military battles, but she flounders by relying too hard heavy-handed messages that just ruins the pacing and flow. And with a price tag of 16 dollars (at most places) for a mere 257 pages, it's hard to justify a purchase.