Science Fiction

Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill

Author: Aaron Allston

Published By:
The Ballentine Publishing Company

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            I’m a huge fan of the X-Wing book and comic book series.  I have them all.  I love the characters and the adventures that Rogue and later Wraith Squadrons have gotten into.  I always look for my favorite Rogues and Wraiths appearances in other series like the New Jedi Order, Legacy of the Force, etc.  So, I was really excited to hear that a brand new X-Wing book was coming out written by the man who invented Wraith Squadron, Aaron Allston.  I hurried out to get myself a copy of Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill

            It has been years since Wraith Squadron was disbanded when Garik “Face” Loran approaches Voort “Piggy” saBinring about joining a newly formed version of the Wraiths.  Voort is extremely hesitant at first, citing that he is now a math professor with an obligation to his students.  But this is Face Loran and he knows just how to persuade Piggy to rejoin, especially when he explains the target.

            And what a target it is, for Face Loran and his newly formed unit are going up against someone very high up in the government - someone whose possible involvement in the Lecersen Conspiracy that recently threatened the fate of the galaxy (Fate of the Jedi) now threatens to rend asunder all the Galactic Alliance has put to rights.  Joining Piggy in the field are old teammate and retired intelligence officer Bhindi Drayson, Antarian Ranger Jesmin Tainer (daughter of former teammates Kell Tainer and Tyria Sarkin), gambler Myri Antilles (Wedge Antilles’ daughter), Clawdite actor Turman Durra, mechanical engineer Trey Courser and Viull “Scut” Gorsat, a biofabricator who just so happens to be a Yuuzhan Vong, a fact that causes great tension between Scut and Piggy.

            Things start off well for the new Wraiths until the alleged assassination of Face Loran and an insertion gone wrong reveals that Face was hiding a few tricks up his sleeve and threatens to put the whole operation in jeopardy.  The shocking loss of a Wraith team member brings Piggy to the forefront as leader, but will the others be willing to follow.  More importantly, will Piggy be capable of doing what must be done to bring down a corrupt general and his entire army?

            Aaron Allston has not lost touch with the X-Wing series, offering up flawed characters who, working together as a team, can achieve incredible things.  Each team member has his own demons to face and we get to watch as they either use those demons to propel them forward on their mission or put those demons behind them in an effort to focus on their goals. 

            I enjoyed the flashbacks in this novel that served to explain not only Piggy’s reluctance to join the Wraiths, but his issues with having Scut as a team member.  The flashbacks are quite revealing if you are paying attention and will give away clues as to what might happen next for the team.  You often don’t realize just how much a certain flashback has revealed until later in the novel when you find yourself smacking your head thinking, “Oh yeah!  I should have remembered that!” 

            Aaron Allston did a terrific job in bringing new fans into the X-Wing series fold by adding members from the new generation of Star Wars characters while keeping enough of the older members to peak the interest of the longtime X-Wing series fans.  Us older generation fans will appreciate comments made by older Wraiths to newer ones, such as, “I didn’t give you permission to grow up, “ something that every older fan can relate to as we watch the younger generation become adults right before our eyes.  In fact, a great deal of the dialogue between the Wraiths is humorous, a trademark of the series that I was happy to see Allston keep up.

            Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill is an action-packed dramatic novel full of twists and turns and a whole lot of fun.  There’s enough action, intrigue, espionage and emotion to keep the reader hooked until the very end.  There is a great deal of suspense in this novel and the twists and turns will keep you guessing until the very end.  Just when you think you know what’s going on, you realize that you never had a clue.  I especially enjoyed the twist toward the end of the novel - never saw that one coming.  Most importantly, this novel opens the door for more adventures for the new Wraith team, something I and many other X-Wing series fans would be quite amenable to!


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