Review: Iron Fist

Onto Book 6
Onto Book 6

by Aaron Allston.

In case you were under any apprehension whatsoever that you were reading Michael A. Stackpole’s X-Wing series, Allston is back with a whole new set of very clear assertions that you aren’t.

This time, the woman who has infiltrated the squadron in order to be a turncoat is already known by the reader to be so. So that’s different.

Oh, and this time when Corran that guy who is not Corran crash lands and everybody thinks he’s dead, somebody else has crash landed with him; that’s different, too.

And the Twi’lek is an angsty female, not a lawyer. All very, very different, you see?

I’m afraid to say that once again, my predominant response through most of this book was <sigh>. Aaron Allston never learned about “show, don’t tell,” and quite possibly was getting paid by paragraph break, because there are a dozen per chapter and they make what little action there is impossible to follow.

I mean, there are things I like, or at least wanted to like. The glimpse into the Zsinj-hunting referenced in Courtship of Princess Leia, for example, and the idea of a group of commando pilots used for black ops. The plot generally focuses on this, as the Wraiths try to take on a Star Destroyer called Iron Fist. Also, something to do with a hit on Kuat? I don’t know, the man makes paragraph breaks like they’re going out of fashion. As soon as I got a rhythm going, he’d break it up! Surprisingly high body count, but with little to no character development and brittle action, it’s hard to be interested when another one bites the dust.

As far as the Ewok gag is concerned . . . Fully 23% of this book is, “Hey, remember the time in the last book when Jenson said the next candidate was an Ewok and Wedge flipped out?! Wasn’t that hilarious?? Remember that? It was so funny!” Allow the guys of MST3K to give you a visual example of how this humor affected me:

I was hoping that Wraith Squadron was an anomaly, an uncertain author getting used to his new boots. Unfortunately, this second attempt is as dismal as the first, and I see clearly where the decay of the EU began to take place. I’ve said before that two of the reasons that I never read NJO are that I like things to have endings, and also that I didn’t want a gritty Christopher Nolan’s Star Wars full of sales-boosting pointless deaths. Another reason, and perhaps the very first reason, was that the writing was beginning to get bad. I know Stackpole wrote some, but R. A. Salvatore, Troy Dennings, Matthew Stover, and James Luceno are practical illiterates whose terrible writing gives me almost physical pain. Add Aaron Allston to the list. In all, continuing the X-Wing series has been very disappointing and I hope, hope, hope that Stackpole makes it worth it.

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