X-Wing: The Bacta War
[Michael A. Stackpole, Bantam Books, 1997]

Synopsis

The Rogues have secured Coruscant, and driven Isard and her cronies, Dlarit and Vorru, from Coruscant.

However, Isard has been selected as Head of State of Thyferra, the Dictatorship that holds monopoly on bacta. naturally, the Republic has to treat her as a legitimate ruler, and cannot attack her outright. Also, the majority of the Republic fleet has been despatched to hunt down Warlord Zsinj.

The Rogues, however, are not content to let sleeping Icehearts lie. The entire squadron resigns, and they proceed to set themselves up as a Robin Hood-style pirate band to prey on the Thyferran bacta traders. A direct attack, of course, is impossible, thanks to Isard's small fleet comprising 1 VSD, 2 ISDs and the Lushyanka, an SSD!

The book introduces Booster Terrik, Corran Horn's father-in-law, who goes into temporary partnership with Talon Karrde in order to aid the Rogues' efforts. An interesting character in an otherwise dull book.

The climax of the novel is an all-out space battle, with the Imperials rapidly losing their sanity as they rapidly lose the fight.

And the end?

The New Republic has no real means for dealing with "War Criminals" - at least no means examined in the books - but lucky for Stackpole, the Rogues are no longer New Republic personnel and thus can "execute" anyone they take a dislike to.

And how do the Rogues define a "War Criminal?"

One of Isard's henchmen wipes out a Rebel hit-squad single-handedly, and then gets accused of murder when he surrenders!

Hmm.


Review

In my humble opinion, this book lacks everything that makes "Rogue Squadron", the first book in the X-Wing series, such a thrilling read. Stackpole has turned the Rogues into a bunch of unkillable superbeings, with the same kind of "Main Character Shields"(tm) the "Main 7" movie characters had. Do we expect the Rogues to take losses? Hell no, they even REGAIN a member previously believed dead!!!

The book is a boring action-fest; YAWN as the Rogues bounce pathetic shots from enemies so pathetic they failed Stormtrooper Academy; DOZE as they wipe out vastly superior numbers in the blink of an eye; SNORE as the indestructible snub-fighter pilots take out Capital Ships with their eyes shut.

"Sir, what good are snub fighters against that thing?"

"Two fighters against a Star Destroyer?"

Stackpole obviously needs to watch the Star Wars movies again.

Rating: 40%

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