Starfighters of Adumar, by Aaron Allston

February 5, 2011 at 14:57 (Book Reviews, Fiction, Mediocre Books, Star Wars Saturday!) (, , , , , , )


Since Allston took over the X-Wing series of books, he has only occasionally dared to stray from his comfortable cast of ne’er-do-wells in Wraith Squadron, plodding along with stilted writing and atrocious dialogue, even while spinning out a wildly fantastic, frequently thrilling and sometimes implausible adventure, worthy of at least a small plinth or a decorated wreath in wherever Star Wars writers go when they die. Starfighters of Adumar is a sudden and jarring transition for Allston, and his discomfort is evident throughout the story. Without his groove of wisecracking misfits to fall back on, he reinvents a quartet of existing characters as the four stooges, blundering their way with charm and braggadocio through a world of diplomatic intrigue and espionage.

There are moments when his efforts threaten to turn into a debacle: his devastating attempts to describe in intimate detail the sex appeal of his heroes (one wonders what Denis Lawson thinks of his hair being described as “thick and wavy” and “the sort women love to run their hands through”!); his rather clumsy political message throughout; his incredibly bold but somewhat lopsided endeavours to create for the Adumarans a believable culture and society. The massive problem with Allston’s prose dialogue still remains: it simply does not flow well, although the content itself is good enough. Perhaps he would do better as a co-writer, or authoring screenplays.

Despite these gross failings, Starfighters of Adumar is a fun and sometimes exciting book. Allston’s humour does not fit the characters he pastes it onto, but it is genuinely funny. Reading this book in private would be an enjoyable experience, but reading it aloud might be a horifically embarrassing proposition. It is something of a damp squib to end a successful series with, and it might not have been a wise decision to use this particular author with established characters so far outside of their usual domains, besides the added burden of creating an entire original universe for them to inhabit. There are plenty of other small things to criticise in this book, and it will never shine as the best of Star Wars literature, but it does provide for an enticing guilty pleasure.

Related Reviews:
Wedge’s Gamble
The Krytos Trap
Solo Command

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