Wedge’s Gamble, by Michael Stackpole

July 31, 2010 at 17:03 (Book Reviews, Fiction, Highly Rated Books, Star Wars Saturday!) (, , , , )

8/10

Michael Stackpole is one of the more able writers in the Star Wars universe, and this is one of the better books he wrote before he began to run out of ideas. It is the success of this book that allowed Stackpole (and Aaron Allston, which might have been a mistake) to build the juggernaut series that eventually succumbed to the terminal illness of Star Wars authors; falling in love with their own characters, and assuming that everyone else has, too.

Nevertheless, when reading a book based on a book based on a video game based on a movie, expectations are low – and Wedge’s Gamble manages to acquit itself brilliantly. The characters are nicely developed, but already there are impressive views to building a franchise, with villains and heroes alike created with a long-term view rather than rather disappointing flashes in the metaphorical pan. In short, Stackpole is in no hurry, and is content to allow his corner of the universe to develop organically and with feeling.

The plot is interesting, and a refreshing departure from the repeated (and for a while successful) gambit of throwing a superweapon and a dark jedi into the mix and letting things sort themselves out. Isard is an unappealing but interesting foil for the hearty Rogues, and many peripheral characters actually have a surprising amount of depth. Stackpole’s only failure (and it is a dismal failure) is his attempt to write romance. Inevitably it leads to characters musing and monologuing, and turns several chapters into a horrific blend of sticky fanfiction and the worst psychiatric book ever written. A good space adventure, and one of the high water marks of the Star Wars expanded universe.

Related reviews:
The Krytos Trap
Solo Command
Starfighters of Adumar
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