It’s been thirteen long years but Expanded Universe readers can finally get their hands on a brand new X-Wing novel and wow is this book worth the wait. Mercy Kill helps put the fun back into the galaxy far far away and does so with a typical Allston flourish.
Mercy Kill is set after Fate of the Jedi in a galaxy where Wraith Squadron hasn’t existed for a few years. But there’s a general who’s clearly been up to no good and that calls for Face Loran to reassemble the Wraiths to take care of business.
Of course the plot is far more intricate than that but the shining stars here are the characters. What surprised me was how this book was clearly Piggy’s book. It’s told a great deal from his point of view and Allston does a wonderful job going back and answering the questions readers will inevitably have about why Piggy (or rather Voort as he now prefers) is such a changed person and also what happened to the various Wraiths over the decades. (Warning: There are a few tear jerker moments so be prepared.)
In the present day part of the story, there are tons of new characters introduced Would I have liked to see some more of the old school Wraith such as Kell? Of course. However, none of that detracts from how excellent the book is as a whole. The introduction of the next generation of Wraiths left me grinning like a lunatic especially since I had no idea that one of those characters was going to be there. I won’t say who it is but when I read his last name, I jumped in the air and shouted “YES!”. Actually, there were quite a few moments of shoutouts to the original Wraith books that left me flailing in a very undignified manner.
However one of the best things about Mercy Kill is its ability to stand alone. As someone who only read through book four of Fate of the Jedi, I had very little trouble picking up on the political situation from contextual clues. If you’ve read the Wraith Squadron books and maybe also Allston’s two NJO books, you will have no problem enjoying this book. It is definitely the book that people who have drifted away from the EU should pick up and give a try.
The other best thing about this book is Myri Antilles. I would do basically anything to have a book all about her. And Syal. And Jysella and Valin. And Jesmin and Doran. And any other children of the Wraith and Rogues that no one’s told us about yet. My wishful thinking aside, Allston establishes Myri as her own character and not just a carbon copy of either Iella or Wedge although she has certainly inherited traits from both her parents.
Mercy Kill is definitely different from the previous X-Wing novels but that’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t feature an actual squadron of pilots but rather a unit of spies although X-Wings do make appearances. And none of this is a bad thing! Although it is a different setup from the other books, it nonetheless still captures the essence of why readers love the X-Wing novels in the first place.
This is clearly just an initial review and I will definitely be going back and rereading this book again tonight but it is absolutely 100% worth your time and money. Allston ends the book with a perfect set up for more Wraith novels and it would be an absolute shame to not see that happen.