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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rogue Squabbling

It's over. Finally over. For the last two weeks or so, I've been slogging through X-Wing: Rogue Squadron and grousing all the way. I don't think it would have been so bad except the last book we read, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, was also not my favorite. Coming off two Star Wars letdowns, I'm definitely ready for one that I know I'll like. But more of that in our next post...

 This book infuriated me, as I have already posted. Its pacing had more stop and go than a Seattle traffic jam, and the characters, while interesting at points, popped in and out of the woodwork and seemed to change to fit the author's whims. For example, Corran Horn's wing-mate, Ooryl Qrygg, is prominent in the first half of the book, but then disappears after he's injured during one of the space battles Rogue Squadron participates in. What happened to him? I asked myself. He lost a limb, was given a non-functional prosthetic, participated in one pre-op meeting, and then was gone. Stackpole's set up seemed to be leading toward Ooryl becoming Corran's version of Chewbacca, at least that's what I got, but Corran hardly thought about him after Ooryl was pronounced recovered (though without a limb? Was he traumatized? Did he drop out of Rogue Squadron? Or did he fight to stay in? I suppose these questions will be answered in the second book. Maybe.)Ooryl had a lot of set up in the beginning of this book, and then just disappeared without a peep.

Stackpole also set up a love triangle between Corran, Erisi Dlarit, and Mirax Terrik. While I think love triangles can be a good plot device when used the right way, I felt this one was just tossed in to illustrate how "desirable" Corran was supposed to be. Not that Stackpole gave us any indication at all of this at first. And I kept forgetting who both of these characters were because they appeared so infrequently throughout the story. Until the end, when Mirax comes into more prominence. There's a brief (verbal) scuffle between Erisi and Mirax over who "gets" Corran which I found totally disgusting. Almost like the daydream of an author who imagined two women arguing over him. If Stackpole is going to create a threesome that involves two women fighting over a man (which I have never liked, personally, because no woman I have EVER known would actually do this...), he had best do it well. And this set up did not instill confidence in me.

The rest of the book has faded from my memory, with only fits and snatches standing out on my mind.  Most of it was boring interludes followed up by intense space battles followed by more boring interludes. I know this series is beloved by many Star Wars fans, and I can sort of see why, but I just wish it was more well written...

Esme's Input

Well, I was all prepared to defend X-wing: Rogue Squadron but unfortunately, now I can't. I was really prepared to defend it on the grounds that I just didn't think it was that bad - except that, as Rose so astutely pointed out above, it is. The comparison to Seattle traffic (the stop/go) really resonated with me, as did the disappearing/reappearing characters like Ooryl. If you're going to have an ensemble cast, you've got to make every character unique, consistent, and interesting. Perfect example: Bror Jace is set up as a rival to Corran but we only see them actually go head-to-head once. And Jace and Erisi are supposed to be rival Tyfferan bacta mogals (or, at least, their families are) except that we never see them actual behave contentiously. And, come on, if you're going to create a character as potentially awesome as Mirax Terrik, don't give her two pages of screen time and a rivalry with another woman over a man. There aren't enough women in the Star Wars universe to waste them this way!

What it boils down to for me is a total lack of the critical SHOW-DON'T-TELL component of wrting. There are plenty of allusions to rivalries, group dynamic, friendship, and romance but no actual substance to support them. I won't rehash what Rose laid out so effectively above - I'll only say that we're actually in complete agreement.

To that end, I'm changing my mind about a reading choice I made when we first outlined this reading project. I'm not going to continue to read the X-wing series. I have a feeling that my hopes for improvement probably won't lead to anything and I don't want to waste the time when I have so many other reading projects I want to get to.

Ro, any ideas about how I should fill my time while you're reading the Thrawn Trilogy? I'm open to suggestions ....


  1. Hmmmm... Have you read the Bounty Hunters trilogy by KW Jeter that centers around Boba Fett? Or maybe the Han Solo trilogy that gives tons of awesome backstore on General Solo? Or you could read the two short trilogies, one about Han, one about Lando. You could also read the original trilogy, springing back to the good old days of A New Hope, Empire, and Jedi. Just a few suggestions. ^_^

  2. Awesome suggestions!! I'd consider rereading Bounty Hunters, which I remember being very impressed with. I also remember loving the Han Solo trilogy too ... I'll have to give it some thought. We have time, thank goodness!

  3. Absolutely! I love the Han Solo trilogy!! So many parts of those books made me love his character even more.

  4. Hmm ... I will have to give it some serious though then ...