Legends Recs: If You Like Rebels, You Should Read Wraith Squadron

We’re starting a new series here at Tosche Station: Legends Recs. While we support the new Story Group era canon and are super excited for new stories like Aftermath and The Force Awakens, the old Expanded Universe holds a special place in our hearts. But we know that as long as we keep reading, these stories will never die. To that end, we’re offering recommendations for Legends stories based on what people enjoy in the new canon. Up first, we explore one of the best novel series in the EU that also paved the way for a new group of Rebels. 

rebels logoThe second season of Star Wars Rebels premieres on June 20. The series has done extraordinarily well, and has surprised a lot of viewers (myself included) with how high the stakes have grown in just 16 episodes. I loved the Ghost crew by the end of “Spark of Rebellion,” and after “Fire Across the Galaxy” the Specters felt just as familiar to me as EU characters I’d loved for over 20 years.

One of the reasons Rebels resonates with me so much is the aspect of the crew as family. They’re together, flying across the galaxy, looking for different jobs and ways to fight against the Empire. And they remind me of another group of characters who excel at creating their own special brand of chaos: Wraith Squadron.

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EU Retrospective: Wraith Squadron

Only books I adore get sticky-noted like this

I love Wraith Squadron.  There are not enough words in any of the languages I know to properly express how much I love the Wraiths and these three books.  Reading these has never been anything less than a joy and I have strong emotional attachments to these characters.  Heads up, there’s going to be a lot of gushing in this post.  There are also going to be a lot of rambling emotions in this post.  If you want proper reviews of the X-Wing books, go read the retrospectives the rest of the staff wrote last year.  Yes, there will be more flailing and emotions than in the Shatterpoint and Revenge of the Sith reviews.  Brace yourselves.

Wraith Squadron
Rogue Squadron has officially rejoined the New Republic and Wedge Antilles, not content with the stack of medals and accolades he already has, is going to create a brand new squadron that will totally kick some Imperial behind but in their own distinctive way.

It’s actually Wedge himself who iterates why I love the Wraiths so much, even more than the Rogues.  Wedge assembles the Wraiths from the pilots in Starfighter Command who appear to be chronic screw-ups and are dangerously close to washing out.  He finds the men and women who are good to decent enough pilots and have skills to offer the New Republic but who’ve just had trouble making it.  In contrast, the Rogues were mostly from backgrounds that were quite the opposite.  Wedge specifically cites Corran’s CorSec and Bror’s Bacta Prince roots.  Not everyone can relate to something like that.  On the other hand, the Wraiths and their backgrounds make it a lot easier for the everyday person, including myself, to relate to them.  Allston lets us watch throughout these three books as these characters not only overcome their personal issues but also as they becomes heroes.

I enjoy both the plot and the characters development in Wraith Squadron equally.  It never feels like one is dragging the other along but rather that they go hand in hand which is absolutely how a novel should be.  It’s easy to become invested in how quickly this unit goes from not even being operational to capturing spaceships and doing some serious damage to Warlord Zsinj.  Plus, as Wedge and Wes both note, the Wraiths have a tendency to look at a problem and jump outside of the box that the main box is inside of and come at it from a completely different angle.  It’s what makes them dangerous and it’s why I love them.

Obviously, this is Kell Tainer’s book and wow does he have a lot of character development to go through.  In a lot of ways, he’s Corran Horn’s opposite.  Both of them are naturally gifted pilots with dead fathers but that’s where the comparisons stop.  Kell knows that he’s a good pilot, gifted with demolitions, and a more competent mechanic but he is plagued with the biggest case of self-doubt and fear of screwing up and letting others down.  It’s rather neat getting to watch him slowly get over both his fear of Janson and his fear of being a failure.  It doesn’t happen over night and it doesn’t happen without some encouragement from his friends but it happens.

The other thing that I really like about the Wraith books is that I feel that the readers actually get to know the entire squadron instead of just the leads and a few others.  Kell and Face may battle it out all the time for who’s my favorite Wraith but it just wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t finish the book feeling like I knew who each of the Wraiths was.  As a comparison, I can name every single member of Wraith Squadron in these three books but I don’t think I can say the same about all the Rogues in the X-Wing books.  (Peshk who?)

Okay, I think that’s enough emotions about the first book for now.  I have to save some for what’s coming next.  You know what’s about to happen.  And if you don’t, please go read these three books before reading the rest of this review.

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Gender Swapped Wraith Squadron

You’ve heard us talk about it before and you’ve even seen a teaser picture but now, direct from Dragon*Con, we bring you the Gender Swapped Wraith Squadron featuring, yes that’s right, some of the Tosche Station staff!  We had an absolute blast getting the group together especially since we got to chat with the one and only Aaron Allston after a panel as the Wraiths.

Allston's Wraiths

The Wraiths with their creator!  Check out the rest of the photoshoot after the jump!

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X-Wing Retrospective: Wraith Squadron

I love all the X-Wing books. I especially love the Wraith Squadron trilogy by Aaron Allston. While Corran Horn remains one of my favorite Expanded Universe characters, I have a deep and abiding love for Garik “Face” Loran. (This will not come as a shock to people who regularly listen to the podcast.) However, there is so much more to this series than this one exceptional character. Allston took the wonderful setup given to him by Michael Stackpole and ran with it, but wasn’t afraid to put his signature touches on the trilogy. To that end, fans of the Expanded Universe received a plot worthy of Star Wars and engaging characters who jump off the page and keep bringing you back for more.

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Rogue and Wraith Squadron Fanfic-A-Thon

There hasn’t been an X-Wing novel in thirteen years.

That’s an awful long time for fans of the Rogues and Wraiths who have been wondering what shenanigans they’ve been getting up to while the Jedi have been dealing with the weekly galactic apocalypse of certain doom and terror. While, thankfully, we’re finally getting a new book this August, there’s another way fans have managed to fill the void over the last decade and change: fanfiction.

Over at the Rogue and Wraith Livejournal comm, members have put together a starfighter jockey-themed fanfiction marathon. If you’d like to read some great stories about Wedge, Tycho, Wes, Hobbie, the Rogues, and the Wraiths, head on over and read the entries.