Your basic Dwarf+Giant Overview is a comprehensive survey of an author or series. It is not an in-depth analysis, nor is it a summary. Think of it as a buying or reading guide, telling you what’s out there, what’s essential, what to avoid and so forth.
Editor’s intro: This is the fifth post in our Star Wars novels Overview. For brief introductory notes, please see Star Wars Overview: The Old Republic.
*** Indicates the Best.
** Indicates Good.
* Indicates not the best, but still Star Wars, so not bad either.
We’re doing something with the timeline in this era: We start chronologically, then go straight thru the X-Wing series. We’ll cover any intervening stories in part II.
Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor ***
This is the second excellent book after Return of the Jedi, and I’m hoping it’s a trend that continues. The action is great, though the plot at times does push the edges of credulity.
This book’s villain discovers old Sith alchemy, and his usage of it was a hearkening back to the Pre-Republic era; as I am a huge fan of the books from that period, I really appreciated the nod. This book also explores Luke’s experience as a Jedi, how he deals with unwinnable situations (of which there are plenty here), and the moral toll that takes on him. There is also an interesting exploration of his having touched the Dark Side (in his battle of wills with the Emperor) and how that both hurts and aids his use of the Force. I highly recommend this book.
Dark Forces – Rebel Agent **
You may have read my review of the first in this series, Soldier for the Empire, but I actually thought this one was too convenient. To start, there is an entire cadre of Dark Jedi whose existence, given Palpatine’s dislike for others taking apprentices, seems pretty incredible. Then there is a dead Jedi whom the hero, Kyle Katarn, has never met yet whose ghost in the Force finds him and gives him guidance. Just a little… meh. He’s not Luke Skywalker, you know?
As with the last book, the action is great, and but here you get to see a fledgling Jedi in action. Fun but definitely not required.
Dark Forces: Jedi Knight **
The last in this series concerning Kyle Katarn, and it seems incredible that he would be tasked with such an important mission given his rather novice status as a Jedi. But, then there would be no story. It keeps pretty much in line with the second book, action is good but things are just a little too convenient.
However, there is a passage here about the fall of the Sith Empire, which anyone who has read the Bane books will recognize. Bane was written after this, so credit goes to that author, but man was it a great throwback and tie-in for the Legends Universe.
X-Wing: Rogue Squadron ***
This book was pretty badass. Think Top Gun meets Star Wars, with a little of the new Battlestar Galactica thrown in for good measure. No Jedi, no Sith, purely strategic and skillful action all from the perspective of new recruits to the rebuilt Rogue Squadron. It reminded me a lot of the Republic Commando books in its detailed description of battles, the characters’ thoughts during those battles and their aftermath, and even their day to day lives. I highly recommend this book.
X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble **
While the first book in this series is all action and flying, book two is far more of a chess game. Keeping all the characters and their strategies straight is a challenge, but worth it. One thing that gets tiring is the hidden “mole” from the first book. It becomes pretty clear who it is halfway through the book, but then the author tries to keep the question going. Overall, a far headier, but well written, book. And I think it’s going to set up the rest of the series quite well.
*Note: more credit is due this book than was given, in future books the “mole” issue turned out not to be as obvious as I thought. Pay close attention to everything.
X-Wing: The Krytos Trap ***
This book picks up the action while keeping the chess game going. I have to say it’s the strongest so far. The truth behind the mole is finally revealed and a lot of pieces that were set up in Wedge’s Gamble either fall into place or fall off the board, usually with a lot of destruction. During most of the book I was trying to figure out what was really going on – lots of layers. The end wraps it up with a lot of surprises and vaults into the next book like an Olympic gymnast.
X-Wing: Bacta War ***
Also a great book, I gotta tell you, this series is really delivering. The Rogues really do go rogue this time, which allows them to take control of the chess game and do some damage, though by the skin of their teeth. I wish I had more to say, but that would involve spoilers, which I always try to avoid. It’s an incredibly fun book, just read it.
X-Wing: Wraith Squadron ***
If Rogue Squadron was Top Gun meets Star Wars, this is The Dirty Dozen meets Star Wars. This is a great book, the characters are incredibly compelling, with plenty of action and intrigue. I’m hoping this isn’t just going to be a rehash of the first 4 books with a new group, but so far, I have 0 complaints. Best book of the bunch so far.
X-Wing: Iron Fist **
Seriously, these books do not disappoint. Action is great, and since we are still focused on the Wraiths, there is plenty of espionage and trickery to go with the normal X-Wing “shoot ‘em up” fun. Locations and plot points from earlier Legends Books* are brought into the storyline, which adds to the overall mythology and is always appreciated. Be warned though, a couple of my favorites died here, one was a character I thought was too big to take out. Be prepared, they don’t go easy on anyone…
*I prefer the term Expanded Universe but that is a longer and geekier conversation than can be had here
X-Wing: Solo Command ***
I both laughed and gasped out loud more than once while reading this book. Be warned, it’s not only still great, but still ruthless. The Wraiths and Rogues team up with an A-Wing and B-Wing squadron, all under the command of General Han Solo. I think the greatness is self-explanatory.
Characters continue to die in the struggle, and the machinations of Warlord Zsinj force some of Wedge’s pilots from the same squadron to kill each other. Even the romantic couples aren’t spared. Do I need to say much else to explain why this book is ruthless? It’s not an easy book, but it is great.
X-Wing: Isard’s Revenge ***
I thought this book was a fitting end to the Ysanne Isard’s story in the X-Wing series. So many red herrings, weird alliances, and betrayals as to dizzy the reader. The action is delicious, and my heart broke for a number of the characters before the book was over. Not sure what the ninth book is going to hold in store, because this one feels like a great ending to the series, so we shall see.
X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar **
My suspicions in the last X-Wing review were correct. This was a great book, I just don’t think it fit as an X-Wing series book. I love how it dealt with Wedge and sent him into his destiny, but it was completely outside the storyline that had been set up in the preceding eight books. Even the method of storytelling was a break from the previous eight books. Making a part of the series feels like a sloppy attempt to extend the series.
Look, the action is great, the storyline a bit weak but still compelling, and there is enough intrigue to keep it going. Read it, but think of it as a standalone about Wedge, not a part of the X-Wing Series.
Up Next: New Republic part II