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.
-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.
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