Star Wars: X-Wing
Written by Aaron Allston
Book 5: Wraith Squadron
Book 6: Iron Fist
Book 7: Solo Command
Del Rey Books
The second part of the X-Wing series of Star Wars novels, and the second last set of books from which I’ll be reviewing, we are introduced to Wedge Antilles’ idea of a flying-commando group. While Rogue Squadron turned out to be fliers who might be able to do other things, Wedge wanted a group of specialist commando’s who, just probably, could fly.
And thus, Wraith Squadron was born, and with it some of the greatest characters you could ever hope for.
Only Wedge is brought over from the first four books for Wraith Squadron, and he is joined by Wes Janson, a character that appears very briefly in Empire Strikes Back. Together, they choose a bunch of misfits and outcasts, most on their last chance in the New Republic military, but that have specific skills, to join their new Wraith Squadron (Wes is Wedge’s number 2).
The Wraith Squadron stories depict the New Republic’s battle against Warlord Zsinj, a former Imperial Admiral, possibly a Grand Moff, who set himself up as a Warlord after the destruction of the Emperor. He was a nuisance often referred to in the first four books, but now the New Republic has decided to focus their attention on him.
But before Wraith Squadron get to go up against Zsinj, Wraith Squadron sees them try and gain information on one Admiral Trigit and a secret weapon he is working on. They are forced into action almost immediately, and have to take over an Imperial warship, impersonate its crew, and try to sabotage the Admiral’s plan and lure him in to an Alliance trap.
They succeed, obviously, and are then quickly pushed in to action against Warlord Zsinj. They first must disguise themselves as pirates trying to join Zsinj’s forces, meet with him in person, steal goods and pretty much act like a rag-tag group of pirates trying to make the most of the confusion in the galaxy.
By now, most of those who are reading have become totally infatuated with one Garik “Face” Loran. Once a child-actor who starred in many Imperial propaganda movies, and beloved by a galaxy of teenage girls, Face is now an accomplished fighter pilot, and still an accomplished actor, which helps him in meetings with Zsinj, among other situations.
Another character that you come to love is Kell Tainer, a human male who loves demolitions. One of the more character insightful quotes from Kell, really sheds light on his main passion: “I don’t have to blow up everything I see. I just like to.” One of my favorite characters is Myn Donos, a man who had lost his entire unit prior to arriving with Wraith, and a brilliant sniper, the character development that we get to watch this man go through is really heart wrenching at times. But by the end, his attraction and subsequent romance with former Imperial spy turned Wraith member Lara Notsil/Gara Petothel, you really grow attached.
In fact, Notsil is another character that you really fall in love with, for her inability at first to work out her emotions and her loyalties, and then in the end for those same qualities that she finally gets worked out.
The final book, Solo Command, is perhaps the best, because it sees the culmination of all of these characters and relationships, and brings them together in one book, with Han Solo. Now a General in the Republic forces, Solo must go head to head with Zsinj in one final attempt to defeat him. Wedge and Wraith Squadron play a large part in the subsequent victory, but not before we lose a few members along the way.
All in all, the Wraith books continue the fantastic stories that we’ve seen in the Star Wars universe and the X-Wing universe in particular. All receive 9 out of 10, simply because there are very few books that I have read that compare to these. I feel totally spoiled after reading so many Star Wars books that rank 7 and up, especially compared to the almost complete lack of bad books being written in the Star Wars universe. I’m not even a quarter of the way through all the possible books to read, but I can only hope it continues.
With one week of Countdown left, that means that we’re also only a week away from the movie, so stay tuned to Geeks of Doom for all the latest news, features, and info on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.