Friday, November 6, 2015

James Review -- Star Wars: X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble

This week I decided to review the re-release of Star Wars: X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble by Michael Stackpole.
The novel opens with a small skirmish in the Borleias system involving one Rogue Squadron X-Wing and two Y-Wings from Champion Squadron repelling a reconnaissance force sent by the Warlord Zsinj. The story then shifts to the base on Borleias where Wedge Antilles is meeting with the two newest members of Rogue Squadron before shifting to Corran  Horn’s quarters where Hore and squadron XO Tycho Celchu  discuss Horn’s investigation into the odd behavior of Emtrey, the unit’s M-3P0 droid, who unknown by the Alliance had been programmed to serve as a scrounging and trade droid by a desperate supply officer who died during the Battle of Hoth years prior to the events of the book.
The discussion then shifts to why many in the upper ranks of the New Republic distrust Celchu  to the point of keeping him under watch at all times. Celchu  explains that he had been captured by the Empire while on a reconnaissance mission and eventually escaped, but before being transferred to the POW camp he escaped from, he had been held at Lusankya, a legendary prison apparently used to create Imperial sleeper agents. After a meeting where the provisional council discusses strategy and decides it is time to move on Coruscant and a raid on the freighter which escaped the battle that opened the story, Rogue Squadron is assigned to infiltrate Coruscant in small groups and assess the planet’s defenses, but first they must travel to Kessel and secure the release of a number of prisoners to be used to revive the crippled Black Sun Organization in an effort to distract the Empire.  
Meanwhile, the Empire is seeking to create a bioweapon that only targets non-human species, but the bioweapon is also designed to be treatable so the Republic will be forced to exhaust its resources saving as many people as they can from it. While the initial infiltration of the Rogues goes well, one group finds themselves having to defend one of their human members from the Alien Combine, a coalition of non-humans that wishes to execute him as an example to the Empire, while Corran finds himself in a firefight with an old Black Sun nemesis of his.
Then the Empire raids the Combine and Corran crashes into the battle while fleeing his enemies. And soon the Rogue’s mission is changed to finding a way to bring down the planet’s shields. After one attempt ends in an ambush which the Rogues are rescued from by Celchu, who had been slipped onto the world as an ace in the hole by Commander Antilles, another attempt is launched trying to use an artificial thunder storm to disable the power grid feeding the shield generators. But time is fast running out, and there is at least one Imperial agent attached to the mission…
I give this book 8 out of 10. On one hand, I love the detail put into the Coruscant mission. Getting to see things like how the Empire paints Palpatine’s death and the sections detailing the backstories of Celchu and Emtrey were well done, as were the combat sequences.
On the other hand, how Celchu escaped Alliance custody and infiltrated Coruscant is left completely unanswered. Also, I feel the reasoning behind sending Rogue Squadron to scout the planet rather than an intelligence team is thin at best. It feels like the author is still treating the New Republic like the Rebel Alliance that had to basically just send whoever they could on missions because they often didn’t have the proper trained personnel, a problem that shouldn’t exist anymore since the New Republic apparently controls a fifth of known space at this point. Also, I find it mildly annoying that the author identifies freighters with added weapons as assault frigates when, at the point the book was written, there were two established warship classes known as Assault Frigates in the setting and neither was a modified freighter class.

No comments:

Post a Comment