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.
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.