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First of all, I’m going to say I’m disappointed in this book.

I’m disappointed on several levels. Let me go through all of them. First of all, the book is called X-Wing: Mercy Kill. Don’t believe it. Yes, the main characters are members of Wraith Squadron, but when I see a book with X-Wing in the title, I expect a story about Rogue Squadron. Or at the very least, I expect to get some X-Wings.

Instead, Aaron Allston delivers a sup-par attempt at spy thriller using the Wraiths as a kind of secret G.I. Joe type of group. This is not what I was expecting when I opened the book.

Nor was I expecting to read a story about a bunch of people I don’t know. Now, there’s a huge possibility that these are mostly people who have populated the Yuuzhan Vong stories, of which I didn’t read too many because I thought they weren’t Star Wars enough for me and frankly I found a lot of them boring. It’s hard to get into a story when you can’t buy into the villain.

So, having said that, it was nice to see Piggy and Face again.

OK, so what exactly is this story about?

Face recruits Piggy — who’s now using his given name, Voort — from his job teaching math, and gets the Gamorrean to come back to the Wraiths with a story of a General Thaal who’s apparently part of the Lecersen Conspiracy to take over the Alliance and the Imperial Remnant and put them back together into a new Empire. (That story actually sounds a little more interesting.)

The rest of the story is a mish-mash of sneaking around various planets trying to find out if General Thaal is indeed guilty of said conspiracy membership, combined with flashbacks into Piggy’s history, wherein he had to kill a fellow Wraith during the last days of the Yuuzhon Vong war — a death he considered pointless, after which he resigned and left the Wraiths.

Really, I wasn’t that invested in the story. I didn’t care about General Thaal. He wasn’t in the book enough to be a credible villain/threat/whatever, and Wraith Squadron hasn’t been a squadron in years. They’re a commando team at this point, and the ending smacks of the old movies from the 1940s when the detective gathers everyone in the room and spells out the plot points we don’t see anywhere else — mainly, how Face Loran figured out all the bits and pieces to tie everything up in a neat little package with a bow on it.

And it doesn’t work for me if you call a book X-Wing and it’s not Rogue Squadron. Just sayin’…

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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