The Great Comics Con Queso Star Wars Expanded Universe Reading Experiment – Entry # 9 : X-Wing Rogue Squardron
As I type this review, I’m already about halfway through the second book in the series. I’ve been a bit under the weather as a result of what I estimate to be a catastrophic influx of pollen in the air as well as stress induced from mid-terms this semester. When you start caring about your grades, university work becomes a bit more intimidating. As such, I’m sorry for the manner which these updates have been prepared but such is the way of life.
After the disappointing Shadows of the Empire I was happy to get back into a book that followed the strategem that works so well for books like the Republic Commando novels; one that focuses on the inner workings of the military in the Star Wars universe. This book takes a look at the squadron of x-wing pilots touted as the best of the best following the destruction of the second Death Star. While the Emperor is dead, the war isn’t over and things are really only heating up in terms of military operations. This particular novel focuses on Wedge Antilles, leader of rogue squadron as well as Corran Horn, a hot-shot pilot and a new addition to the squadron. Horn has a checkered past from his time in the Correllian Security force that had him working alongside Imperial Intelligence and his new stance in the Alliance is one where he has to re-evaluate his positions on certain enterprises, such as the practice of smuggling which he was tasked to halt while in CorSec, and come to terms with his new role in the galaxy. Really this is the first book in the timeline that I’ve read that really deals with the political elements of the galactic civil war in real detail. Horn has some reservations about a pilot from Kessel, a penal colony that he sent some criminals to himself, operating in Rogue Squadron and there are several other instances of internal race relations that make the novel seem more realistic in its depiction of warfare and political strife than it truly has any right to be.
This series is definitely off to a great start and I think that I could come to put this particular saga on the same pedistal as the Republic Commando series if things continue as well as they’ve started.
The Great Comics Con Queso Star Wars Expanded Universe Reading Experiment – Entry # 8 : Shadows of the Empire
I remember reading this book way back when the video game adaptation came out for N64. I was maybe ten or eleven years old at the time and I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world. It was pretty much the epitome of 90’s cool to me. I was one of the biggest Star Wars nerd kids you could find at the time, obsessed with collecting the old red and green card Power of the Force figures. I had a remote control that was a replica of Luke’s lightsaber from Return of the Jedi. So you can imagine how this book was like crack to me. It wasn’t intimidating in the way the few other Star Wars expanded universe novels I’d seen on the bookshelves seemed to be. It was light reading by comparison, and I tore through it fairly quickly.
It’s been a while since then and going back and re-reading it has cooled my opinion of it a little bit. Xizor isn’t the amazing villain I thought he was back in the day and the plot tends to drag on a little bit. It’s not that it’s a bad story it’s just that the telling of it seems to be a bit off kilter and has the pace of a record played just a little bit slower than it needs to be to sound right. There seem to be a lot of scenes that are just re-hashes of previous scenes that are left in only to fill out the page count and none of the characters are particularly well defined outside of Xizor. The new side-hero Dash Rendar is basically a Han Solo clone and nothing else is added to his character. He’s got a backstory and an attitude and that’s about it. The ending is also rather anticlimactic, given how hard the book works to establish Xizor as an ultimate badass you wouldn’t expect his eventual defeat to be so underwhelming.
But the end point of the book is basically to connect parts V and VI of the original trilogy and in that regard it succeeds by filling in the gaps that everyone needed to know, ie. how Leia got that bounty hunter costume.