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Wedge's Gamble (Star Wars: X-Wing Series, Book 2) Paperback – May 2, 1996
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Top Customer Reviews
There are so many characters in this book, many of whom are indistinguishable, that things are very confusing. There are too many plotlines going on at once, with the main plotline of the book, Corran's plotline involving his father and people he used to work with, Loor's plotline, Wedge's plotline, Gavin's plotline, etc. But then there are tons of other minor characters to whom I can't put a distinct face or personality, and the net effect is confusion.
In addition, while thankfully there are less space battles in this book (the most difficult to visualize and follow), there's a heavy dosage of hard-to-follow shootouts here that are equally difficult to follow. And this book is supposed to portray none other than the taking of Coruscant.
I struggled through Rogue Squadron, and I struggled through this one. It's just not fun to read for me and I don't find myself connecting very well. I feel that Stackpole creates too many characters and gets bogged down in descriptions of battles whereas what we care about most (the taking of Coruscant by the Rebels) slides largely into the background and becomes secondary in importance to the romantic family drama.
In this way, I feel that what Stackpole does here is similar to what Traviss did with the Republican Commandos. They both have excellent subject matter at their hands but they push it to the side and instead focus heavily on relationships between non-film minor characters.
And don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with action scenes in novels per se--Karen Traviss wrote them excellently in Hard Contact, for example--but you have to do them right. The author of the Corellian trilogy who spent like 40 pages describing a crash is an example of how NOT to do an action scene, and Stackpole is in this territory.
I'm glad people can appreciate these books, but honestly they're not for me.
Stackpole successfully blends a military feel, a stereotypical elite (and unconventional) military unit, and the Star Wars universe to create an interesting and worthy addition to the Star Wars universe. Although occasionally some of the "big names" from Star Wars make an appearance or are mentioned, this series focuses on the pilots in Rogue Squadron.
In "Wedge's Gamble," the Rogue Squadron members go undercover on a mission that doesn't really require their piloting skills. This book is more of a spy thriller with lots of personal action on the ground than the previous book, and unfortunately it suffers because of this.
Stackpole's second book in the X-Wing series is a big drop-off from the first, even though it is true to the original Star Wars movies. However, this book sets the stage for the final two books in the series.