Home > Book Reviews > Star Wars: Rogue Squadron by Michael Stackpole

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron by Michael Stackpole

I have always been fascinated by Star Wars ever since I saw the first film in 1978 with my family. While some of the Expanded Universe books have been dreadful (Children of the Jedi (Star Wars) and The Crystal Star (Star Wars (Random House Paperback)) are two that come to mind!), there are a few which continue to capture my imagination. The X-Wing Rogue Squadron series by Michael Stackpole which were continued by Aaron Allston in his Wraith Squadron books are some of the best.

I last “read” Rogue Squadron (Star Wars: X-Wing Series, Book 1) via audiobook. Actually, the last few times I’ve read through the series was audio-based. As I was organizing part of my book collection last weekend, I ran across the physical books and decided to take the plunge again.

What intrigues me the most about this series is that it doesn’t focus on the more mystical aspects of the Star Wars universe: the force and the Jedi Order. Instead, the “working joes” in the Alliance military are the stars. Rather than use deus ex machina through a creatively applied force power by a single Jedi, Stackpole’s characters use practiced flying skills, creative manoevering, tactical thinking, and logic as a team to meet their assigned goals.

It is also interesting how Stackpole builds the comradery and trust between the pilots. Corran Horn, an extremely talented flyer among talented flyers is relatively aloof, but perhaps not consciously so. He knows that his flying and targeting skills are formidable and that he outclasses most of the other pilots in the newly reformed Rogue Squadron. His past as a law enforcement officer in Correllian Security and several years under assumed names in hiding from the Empire causes him to reserve trust in himself and in those few who have totally proved themselves. Wedge Antilles has to take him down a peg for him to see the light.

I sensed realism in the way that hot-shot pilots are given their head to a degree within the military organization, and then yanked back when they go too far. I also believe that it was crucial that some members of the squadron not come back from difficult missions — it is war, and the Empire doesn’t play fairly.

One quibble I have is that the “bad guys” in the form of Ysanne Isard and Kirtan Loor are a bit too shallow.

  • Isard is a more mysterious figure with plans to hold the remnants of the Empire together. Her sinister character is similar to that of the Emperor in the movies — hidden behind the scenes, mysterious, with an almost over-the-top evil. We don’t get to see enough of her to understand her motivations.
  • Kirtan, on the other hand, is almost too weak and spineless. Although the reader gets a few glimpses of his insight and logic, he is almost always subservient to another’s will. He’s a coward rather than a forceful, imposing figure. I wouldn’t expect a story’s antagonist to be likable per se, but I’d like to respect their will or their inner strength. Granted, he’s just a tool for Isard….but I expected a bit more.

Very enjoyable book, and a great start to the X-Wing novels.

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