Book Review: Star Wars X- Wing Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole

Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole takes the X-wing pilots out of the X-wing and has them go undercover on Coruscant. Wedge’s Gamble is book two in the X-wing Saga series that is a part of the Star Wars Legends series ( Star Wars Legends is a division that was considered cannon, but with The Force Awakens not following the trajectory of The established novels they were called Star Wars Legends). The last X-wing novel Rogue Squadron review, I used a Tom Cruise movie to describe it as Top Gun, this novel I would describe as Mission Impossible. Wedge’s Gamble refers to two things a plan to bring criminal’s from Black Sun to give the Imperials trouble on Coruscant and the undercover operation to take down the twin shields. This novel did bring up the topic of inter-species sex, which they don’t go to far butI thought for a Star Wars novel they went farther than I would have thought. I thought the war games are the standout in this book, does the potential for harm, outweigh the potential for peace. I have read this novel before and the set up for the next one is one of my favorites, because of what the Imperials set up for the Rebels. The Kyrtos virus is explained more in The Kyrtos Trap, which is book three in the series.

The Plot: Corran Horn the stand out pilot of Rogue Squadron, investigates why one of his pilots never returned from his trip, he ends up having a near miss and learning that Jace’s missing could be due to a spy in Rogue Squadron. Wedge the leader of the Rogue Squadron, proposes taking Coruscant, and is backed but they have a different way than he imagined, freeing prisoners from a moon that the prisoners have taken over. All the prisoners are former and current members of Black Sun and deadly gang that has no stake in the war at hand. The Rebels are banking on the fact that Black Sun will cause such a ruckus on the Imperials that they won’t notice the rebels sneaking in to take down the twin shields. In order for the rebels to take the stronghold. The Imperial’s know that they can’t hold on to Coruscant for too much longer, start developing a virus called the Kyrtos virus that can be healed but use a fare amount of Bacta (a healing medicine) to cure it.

What I Liked: The Imperial museum that rewrites history to make the rebels look like the bad guys and the Imperials as good. The end battle was really fun. I loved the Kyrtos Trap that was set up at the end, and will have lasting repercussions in the series. I liked the little bits with C3P0 not translating the Wookie leader properly, and Leia’s commander role works well. Corran Horn and Mirax’s relationship is fu to watch it grow and have Corran get tempted by the Bacta Queen who he’s undercover as a couple.

What I Disliked: The action is sometimes really hard to follow, in terms of where people are in relation to the bad guys and their own team members. I hated that we don’t see another member of Rogue Squadron other then Wedge and Corran until midway through the book. There’s is barely in X-wing scenes.

Recommendation: I enjoyed this novel more then the first one, Rogue Squadron, the stakes are a lot higher, the battles are more fierce. You will like this if you like star wars mixed with undercover work. I rated Wedge’s Game 4 out of 5 stars, it was a high 3 that I rounded up.

Book Review: Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole

Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole is the Top Gun of the Star Wars novels. The novel is about X-Wing missions after the Empire has fallen. The space battles are well crafted and even if this wasn’t Star Wars the war games are strategically sound and well thought out. This is the first of the X-Wing novels that follows Wedge Antilles and the Rogue Squadron who in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi defeated both the Deathstars. This novel is part of the Legends series of Star Wars novel, meaning that it is not in Star Wars Cannon with the time line that Force Awakens has created. In Legend time line this novel takes place 6 years after A New Hope. This novel in its self was a reread for me, it’s rating did improve on this reread, my original rating was two stars, which I raised to 3 stars and it was close to 4. When I did give it the original star rating I was doing it from memory since I did not know about Goodreads and read for fun without giving it a review. I was really in the mod to read a Star Wars story as I have been rewatching the entire series in anticipation for the new movie The Rise of the Skywalkers and new episodes of the Mandalorian on Disney+.

The Plot: Wedge Antilles one of the founding members and final remaining members of Rogue Squadron he is tasked with training a new team of X-Wing pilots to be the new Rogue Squadron. The Emperor and Darth Vader have been defeated but the Empire still exist and it is trying to actively shut down the Rebel Alliance. Corran Horn is one of those new recruits, he was a former member of Corsec a police unit on Corcusant, Corran resisted the Empire as long as he could and fled when they took over taking an X-wing and an R2 droid with him. Defecting was one thing but stealing now empire equipment is a big thing, he is now hunted my his former boss Kirtan Loor was tasked with tracking him and his stolen property down. With Corran joining the Rogue Squadron Loor is promoted and now in charge of destroying Rogue Squadron.

What I Liked: The character’s are great they all have interesting backgrounds that compelled them to rebel. Corran I liked especially at first he’s a hot head pilot that has to learn to work as a unit. Wedge was one of my favorite side characters form the original trilogy, (side note can not wait to see what they do with his character in Rise of the Skywalkers since he is confirmed to be back.) his character does not disappoint he his a calculating and caring team leader, you found out he’s reject promotion after promotion because he just wants to fly. Ooryl is by far my favorite character, he’s the goose to Corran Horn’s Maverick and a great sidekick. What I found fascinating is about the Gand species that is born only being called Gand and you have to earn your first and last name. The X-Wing battles are exciting and really smart military war games, the battle reminded a lot of the Battle School in Enders Game by Orsen Scott Card. The respect it gave to former members of Rogue Squadron, like Dack and Porkins. I really liked the epilogue and what scenario it sets up for the the next book Wedge’s Gamble.

What I Disliked: Te dialogue was sometimes lacking especially the slangs where they tried too hard to make Star Wars references, Son of a Sithspawn was the only good one that I can remember. The finale was really lacking it was one sided battle, I compare it to in Return of the Jedi you have the battle on Endor, The battle in space around the Deathstar, and you have the Luke Darth Vader duel, that all count on each other to succeed. The finally just gives you on scenario not the whole chain of events all you get is a passing acknowledgment that the plan passed or failed.

Recommendations: Iv’e read at least twenty Star Wars books over the years, where this was just good it set’s up leading to one of my favorite Star Wars X-Wing novels the Kyrotos Trap. It has an Empire Strikes back like ending that will really test the Rebellion. This novel if you ever wanted to read a Top Gun like novel full of space battles then this is your book. I rated this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Tv Series Review: The Mandalorian chapter one -Star Wars Disney+

The Mandalorian episode 1 written by Jon Favreau and directed by Dave Filoni is off to a good start in the first live action show in the Star Wars universe it captures the look of Star Wars off the bat. The first episode took a minute to get into, I would have to say mainly to Horatio Sanz acting. I didn’t feel like he was part of the universe and more or less a guy in a costume. I was very satisfied with what happened to his character. The music was kind of odd at times, some times it was nailed, but I swear I heard parts of a Rocky like theme, I honestly don’t think it was implanted in my brain because I saw Carl Weathers, who was good. The cast without Horatio Sanz and other actors in the opening scene are good, really good. You will play where have I heard that voice from with voice talent from Nick Nolte and Taika Waititi. Other actors are Pedro Pascal as the Mandalorian, who does not take his helmet off and sounds more like a young Timothy Olyphant tan Pedro Pascal under the helmet, Werner Hertzog, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi and Brian Posehn. I’m a pretty big Star wars fans I’ve seen every movie watched most of the tv shows I love Rebels, read a decent amount of Star Wars books.

 

The Plot: (loose spoilers – I describe the first five minutes of the show) The world is torn after the defeat of the empire (The Mandalorian takes place after Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens. Bounty Hunting is in business, the mandalorian enters into a bar after a character was getting shaken down. When he walks in he’s immediately accosted he takes down the thugs and in brutal form (the camera cuts away as some one is sliced in half), The guy getting shakendown offers a reward as thanks, but the mandalorian looks him up and he has a bounty and is removed. That sets up the tone of the show. The mandalorian turns in his bounties then learns of a top secret loose on the details mission that he takes on a remote planet.

 

What I Liked: The visuals are stunning there’s a lot of really cool visuals that could be posters the final shot, and the walking out of the bar shot. The transitions in the show are the exact in a Star War . The acting is good except for Horatio Sanz, sorry. The story moves really well, the episode is only 35 minutes, which felt odd and went very fast. I liked that he doesn’t take the helmet off, we get to see his face as a boy through flashbacks. The special effects were really good for a tv show. There’s a creature that was in Jabba’s palace, that is featured here in a really memorable cameo scene, it is not the same creature but a cousin or brother maybe. Excellent action scenes. There’s good bits of humor throughout, Taika Waititi’s character gave me the biggest laughs. I love the characterization of the bounty hunter, very Clint Eastwood the spaghetti westerns. Theirs is a western no man’s land vibe.

 

What I Disliked: The music was at times weird, and did not fit. There’s only one episode up for now but no timeline listed of when new episodes come out, which I find frustrating. I liked Nick Nolte’s character but did not like the scene he was in, it felt like total filler. I reminded me of a bad episode of the Clone Wars. I took a second to get in to the universe.

 

Recommendations: I will recommend the series, it feels more like Rogue One the film than any other star wars film. The action and atmosphere is great. You doesn’t have to know anything about star wars too watch this show. I rated this episode 4 out of 5 stars. Personal note don’t worry my book review friends this is mainly a book review site, I just got Disney+ the three year deal and wanted to give my insight to the new show, for people that are star wars fans that are maybe on the fence.

The latest trailer

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

“You know how they say that religion is the opiate of the masses? Well, I took masses of opiates religiously.”

Wishful Drinking is the memoir of actress and writer Carrie Fisher. This is my Nonfiction of the Month. The novel is a very interesting, no holds barred honesty about addiction and fame. She says her reason for writing this novel was that had electric shock treatment and had to remember parts of her life. She opens up about sex, addiction, family, and death. The novel is filled with vintage pictures of family life and acting life.

Stories you’ll here in this memoir: Her family life growing up with her famous mother Debbie Reynolds, who is most famous for starring in Singing in the Rain, and her father Eddie Fisher who was a famous crooner and her brother. Eddie Fisher was never into life and was father in name only. We get the story of how he cheated and married Elizabeth Taylor. We get the story of her mom smoking pot with her. We get Star Wars stories of the audition process and George Lucas’ directing. There is a funny anecdote about how there’s no underwear in space. We get a lot of stories of addiction, rehab, and mental institutions. stories about how she got with both her husbands and the break ups. The birth of her daughter Billie who is an actress in American Horror Story. One of the most surreal stories is her waking up to the dead body of one of her good friends.

What I liked: The writing is so good and witty, I could have chose plenty quotes to best represent this novel. it is that type of novel to have a highlighter handy. As a fan the of Star Wars the stories are really great. The pictures are amazing and really compliment the novel. The cover is amazing and really captures the novel.

What I Disliked: it was too short! way too short. I would’ve liked to hear more about her other movie experiences like Harry met Sally and the Burbs.

Recommendations: If you’re a fan of Star Wars. If you know someone diagnosed as a manic depressive and who has a bi-polar disorder then this is a great book to get, because it is so honest about the highs and lowest of the lows. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars because it was just too short.