“X-Wing: Iron Fist” by Aaron Allston – Star Wars Expanded Universe Read-Through

I’m on a quest to re-read all of my favorite (or least favorite that I kept for whatever reason) Star Wars novels in the Expanded Universe and beyond. Come along for the ride and check out my Star Wars Hub for more. There will be SPOILERS for the book discussed.

X-Wing: Iron Fist by Aaron Allston

Wraith Squadron has to try to stop warlord Zsinj from joining the Empire. If he does, he’ll bring Iron Fist, his Super Star Destroyer, along with him, tipping the balance of power in the region decidedly against the New Republic. They form a wild plan to become pirates, convince Zsinj to hire them on, infiltrate his fleet, and find out what he’s going to do and/or put a stop to it and destroy Iron Fist.

The book is filled with good action moments and surprising sections of character development. One scene, in which a character appears to murder another in cold blood, was especially well done. While reading it, I knew it couldn’t be happening as written, but I wasn’t sure what was going on behind the scene until later. Other scenes, like ramping up to fighting as pirates and the like, were great. The suspension of disbelief has to be fairly strong here, but if one is willing to accept the Star Wars universe as a kind of anything-goes Wild West in some ways, it mostly works.

Zsinj makes a good villain. He’s not the mustache-curling villain trope of some other characters in the Star Wars universe. On the other hand, it never seems that likely that the New Republic folks would be able to be anything other than an enemy for him. Face was a particularly enjoyable character in this book. Felt like a kind of rakish actor trying to be a scoundrel look and it was done quite well.

My main complaint is twofold, but it ties together: the book doesn’t really resolve the problem of Zsinj, while also having a kind of anti-climactic final battle. I guess I just expected a much bigger, more powerful feeling finale than what we get, which doesn’t have the huge epic feel of a fighter-carrier fight that the other books often have had. Indeed, better battle scenes are found earlier in the book as Wraith Squadron attempts to set up its credentials as pirates.

Overall, X-Wing: Iron Fist is a good read with some of the better character building in the series. While its ending feels a bit like a flop, I’m hoping the continuing series makes up for it.

The Good

+Treacherous Villain
+Pirate action
+TIE Fighters
+Impactful losses

The Bad

-Very little actually gets resolved
-Disappointing final battle

Cover Score: 7/10 – Iconic imagery of TIE fighters and Interceptors, but the scale is enormously off when comparing the TIE fighter in the background firing and the Imperial Lambda class shuttle that it’s flying near.

Grade [measured against my super objective* Star Wars enjoyment factor]: B Plenty of action and character development, even if it’s all a bit rushed.

*Not super objective and in fact wholly based on my feeling at the time of this review. Not measured against any other sci-fi works or really any other literature. This score is purely because I like giving scores to things.

All Amazon Links are Affiliates

Links

Star Wars Hub– All of my Star Wars-related posts can be found here. These include posts about more expanded universe books, the movies, and new canon novels.

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

There are other posts on science fiction books to be found! Read them here.

SDG.

Star Wars Expanded Universe Read-Through: “X-Wing: Wraith Squadron” by Aaron Allston

I’m on a quest to re-read all of my favorite (or least favorite that I kept for whatever reason) Star Wars novels in the Expanded Universe and beyond. Come along for the ride and check out my Star Wars Hub for more. There will be SPOILERS for the book discussed.

X-Wing: Wraith Squadron by Aaron Allston

Wraith Squadron marks a departure for the series as Aaron Allston takes over for Michael A. Stackpole. Wedge has moved to a different task. Instead of leading the elite-of-the-elite in a squadron to be commando-pilots, he is taking on the castoffs and problem children of other squadrons, whipping them into shape, and making them into, er, commando-pilots.

The idea is a fine one, and it gives the series a slew of new faces. The best part of the book is all the side characters getting so much development. I was blown away when a certain event happened, showing characters in this series are actually vulnerable. It was quite well done, especially the aftermath.

The plot is a good thread, as an Imperial Warlord continues to meddle with Wedge’s affairs. There are plenty of well-written space battles (caveat being you have to accept the complete absurdity of Star Wars space battles–no; physics and common sense need not apply) to be had. What bogs the story down is some of the more commando parts in which the pilots are out of their various spaceships. There are many scenes that are apparently supposed to be a kind of spy-action type thing happening, but instead just feel slow. They’re throwaway scenes as far as the plot goes, too. One can almost feel Allston waiting to get pilots back into their fighters.

Wraith Squadron is another good read in an excellent series. I continue to enjoy my first-ever read through of this series, and I’m glad I’ve been able to circle back and read them at last.

The Good

+Great space battles
+A villain that at least has some mystery to how he acts
+Many side characters introduced
+Actual consequences for characters in the book

The Bad

-Gets bogged down in action scenes that aren’t in space
-A bit too much standing around talking with each other

Cover Score: 5/10 – They basically just mashed as many fighters on the cover as they could

Grade [measured against my super objective* Star Wars enjoyment factor]: B Allston takes over the series with hardly a hiccup.

*Not super objective and in fact wholly based on my feeling at the time of this review. Not measured against any other sci-fi works or really any other literature. This score is purely because I like giving scores to things.

All Amazon Links are Affiliates

Links

Star Wars Hub– All of my Star Wars-related posts can be found here. These include posts about more expanded universe books, the movies, and new canon novels.

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

There are other posts on science fiction books to be found! Read them here.

SDG.