Coming at you a bit late due to the business of my May the 4th day, I present my review for the first book in the X-Wing Series by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston!
Book one, Rogue Squadron, is by Michael A. Stackpole and is a wild ride akin to a two-part pilot arc such as what we got from a show like Firefly or even Stargate. I really enjoyed that vibe of things, especially since it reminded me that the cast still needs to mesh. Sure, Corran and the others have been flying and training for awhile prior to the story but they aren’t a team yet. By the end of the book, they made some progress, but the growth of the squadron is something I really look forward to seeing. Given that their first mission is to learn to work together while liberating an Imperial moon in order to get a grasp on a Coruscant retake, the young pilots must adapt quickly or die like their predecessors.
In terms of the story itself, it moved quickly and introduced the major Imperial baddies. I don’t know about anyone else, but one thing I’ve always loved about Star Wars books are the female villains in the Imperial forces. This is the first book I’ve read – EU or otherwise – that has actually addressed Emperor Palpatine’s hatred of aliens and women and yet we still have characters in the Empire who have fought tooth and nail against that hatred and made it into positions of power no matter what. I know they’re the bad guys and the Emperor still sucks, but there’s something admirable about that quality. Ysanne Isard is no exception and I want to see so much more of her being cutthroat.
To turn back to the Rogues, Wedge is so incredibly written and while PTSD isn’t mentioned, the suffering he still goes through over losing his friends during the Death Star runs hits so hard. He’s a war vet who refuses to move on because that means letting the dead go. It means letting his friends go and he wont do that. I think that’s why he refuses to be promoted above commander too. But this suffering comes out a lot in his command style as he won’t joke around with or even become friends with his new squadron because that means more friends to mourn should they die. It gave me a lot more respect for Wedge to get to know him this way and I love him so much more now,
I liked the squad. Corran and Gavin almost seem to be competing for who can be the next Luke Skywalker. The four female pilots should have gotten more page time but I can let that go for now. But I do think that Ooryl was probably the biggest sweetheart in the group and I hope we still get to see him in book two. It’s hard to have many comments about the squad as there are a lot of them and with the circumstances of the book (without spoiling too much), it’s hard to tell who will be flying in the next mission when the Coruscant take-over mission takes a fuller shape, but I’m exciting to cheer on the squad.
In the end I give book one a three out of five. It would have been higher, but like I said earlier, I wanted more out of the female characters as they left me thinking of them in more one-dimensional terms, which I’m not a fan of.