It’s taken me a long time to read this book. Not because it was bad, boring, or slow, like…say…Fate of the Jedi: Vortex… It took me a long time to read because I was savoring every moment. It’s not a book I wanted to end.
For a long time I avoided as much of the EU as I could, save the X-Wing and Wraith Squadron series. The fact that they let Michael Stackpole go and Aaron Allston was working on other series was always shocking to me.
I’ve been to plenty of conventions over the years and a question you always hear asked is “When are we getting more books in this series?”
Well, the time is now and the wait has been frustrating but well worth it.
Aaron Allston has given us a fast paced Wraith Squadron novel that feels equal parts Star Wars, Mission: Impossible, and The Guns of Navarone. But there’s so much more to it than that. It even opens with the most ridiculous Temple of Doom dance number opening with Piggy standing in for Willie Scott. Sure, it’s a distraction for the job they’re working on, but that’s the kind of fun you should expect from Allston’s latest (and hopefully not last) foray into the lives of Wraith Squadron.
The book doesn’t just deal with breathless military action, intrigue, and suspense, though. It also deals with much larger issues of getting older and not wanting to see the next generation take your place and get killed doing so. It deals with racism and prejudice, greed, military largesse, but never in a way that isn’t fun. You’re dragged through this mystery of a mission, working hard to unravel things, but like the Wraiths, you’re jerked to the next place before you can quite put your finger on what happened at the last place.
The book kept my heart pounding and a smile on my face, which is the best I could ask for from a Star Wars book. It deals with the Wraiths smashing a conspiracy to steal Alliance materiel and sell it on the black market… The thing is that the story is almost just a really interesting coat hanger that you can hang the things that really matter onto. The characters and the action of this are what matter. The Lecersen Conspiracy is ancillary.
More than the long, multi-book epics, this book captured the feeling of Star Wars for me than any of those have (save, perhaps, Legacy of the Force.)
I want to see more standalone books like this with a sense of humour. And given the spot it ends, I’d love to see many more books in the series. I’d love to see more books set during the time of the original X-Wing books as well.
For Allston’s part, this book is everything he’s best at. It has a warmth and humour beneath the horror of what war is really like. But there’s also that pulse pounding intrigue that keeps you moving.
Like I said, as fast paced as this book was, I took it slow simply because I didn’t want it to end. That, and I thought the title implied an ending much more sinister and depressing and I was in no hurry to get to that point. I was foolish to think I wasn’t going to like the way things turned out, save a few surprises along the way.
There are going to be lots of satisfied Wraith Squadron fans after this book.
I would give this 5 of 5 stars as far as Star Wars books are concerned.
It comes out Tuesday, August 7th. You can order a copy from Amazon.