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X-wing: Wedge's Gamble is the second installment in the X-Wing series of novels , released in Coruscant, the giant city-world from whose massive towers the Imperial High Command directs the war. With only two Star Destroyers sent to defend the planet, it easily falls into Rebel hands. .. X-Wing Book Series.
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So, you get an idea that the Rebels might take Coruscant, but are left by the book's end wondering whether it was worth it or not. I didn't quite understand the title however. The gamble isn't really Wedge's, it's more on people like Admiral Ackbar and the Bothan representative on the Rebel High Council Bothans seem to be slowly establishing themselves as general unlikable people. The plot itself picks up almost immediately where Book One left off and sees the Rogues being tasked with a mission to infiltrate Coruscant and prepare the ground for a Rebel invasion.

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  • Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A Stackpole?

Talking of gambles, this is Michael A. Stackpole's Gamble I'll be here all night , while I appreciate that the series' format will encourage changing things up every now and then, taking these hotshot pilots literally out of the pilot seat so early in the series was a risk, and I'm not sure it is one that quite paid off Before they get to Coruscant, the Rogues first have to carry out a morally questionable mission to free several notorious criminals from the Black Sun criminal organisation, and insert them into Coruscant to try and distract the Empire.

While the wider world-building implications of introducing a new player into the story were encouraging, this plot didn't really go anywhere beyond getting a minor character into a position to join Rogue Squadron at least I assume that's what will happen. I kept waiting for it to pay off in a satisfying and sensible way but it really didn't.

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As a side note another major player - Warlord Zsinj - is also introduced and I have vague memories that he will turn up again in the future - again, good world-building and really helps you to get a sense of the chaos taking hold in the power vacuum left behind after the Emperor's death at Endor. Then when the Rogues are on Coruscant, the plot barrels along as a sort-of espionage thriller and a sort-of quiet time for main character introspection.

This A-plot again made little sense and left me with a very poor impression of Rebel intelligence - the Rogues are ostensibly inserted because they are pilots and have a good sense of how to attack ground targets - but then the missions they are given don't really tally with this at all - finding out non-human feelings towards the empire, assessing how easily the population will rise up - this is the sort of thing you use trained intelligence professionals for - not pilots. It is clear that the Rebels have a large spy network down on Coruscant, which seems incapable of coming up with any useful ideas to sabotage the planet before Rogue Squadron have arrived.

This might seem like niggling, but it really suspended my disbelief when a pilot was suggesting to a supposedly pro-intelligence agent how to hack into a computer mainframe - what were these rebel agents trained to do for God's sakes? The Rogues' mission is aided at almost every turn through convenience and, for me as the reader, confusion - they are all inserted separately and then meet up very quickly, shortly after a series of apparently unconnected organisations join together into a sort of guerrilla movement to help weaken the imperial defences, this felt, to quote Darth Vader "all too easy".

Thus it was a pleasant surprise to still get a sense of suspense when the Rogues left it right until the end to achieve their mission. I was disappointed that the battle for Coruscant was not more costly though it brought some much needed epic space battle action to a novel poorer for its lack of dogfights , and won with a bit of a cheating move.

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Another problem with Wedge's Gamble is that Stackpole is still introducing reams of new characters and not fleshing them out - Fliry Vorru is one of the more interesting figures, along with Corran Horn's old partner, Iella Wessiri, Intelligence agent Winter, a Bothan spy who joins Rogue Squadron almost as a throwaway remark at the end. You will observe that most of these people aren't members of Rogue Squadron. I still don't know anything about Riv Shiel besides his name the wolfman , or Rysati Ynr besides the fact she is in an inter-species relationship with Nawara Ven.

At the very start of the book the Rogues gain two new members - Pash Cracken and Aril Nunb - whose backstory comes in an exposition dump and then who fade into the background for much of the story. On the positive side of the coin Gavin was fleshed out a bit more in this novel and there was a brief, welcome, appearance by Princess Leia - a much more effective way to tie the book into the established story.

In conclusion, I can't deny that I enjoyed Wedge's Gamble.

Stackpole's Star Wars universe is one I loved returning to, but I can't help feeling that while he nails the big picture, the smaller plot is less interesting to me. The Rogues felt shoehorned into it in a way that was not really believable.

Star Wars: The X-Wing Series, Volume 2: Wedge's Gamble

At the same time I enjoy the time spent with these characters. It was good to see the writer gain confidence with his own imagining of the Star Wars universe, but next time I hope there is more character work on people besides Mirax, Wedge, and Corran Horn. The books could always do with a little more pages from the Empire perspective too. Jan 09, Megan rated it really liked it Shelves: star-wars , scifi , fiction. It's rare for the tagline to live up to the item it's tagging, but for once Bantam didn't exaggerate. Perhaps the most concise evidence for its greatness is the fact that I read it first at age 14 and loved it -- and now over 14 years later, reading it again, I love it again.

In other words, it holds up. Stackpole is a great author. In reading this, I've been It's rare for the tagline to live up to the item it's tagging, but for once Bantam didn't exaggerate. In reading this, I've been reminded of all the reasons I used to follow his writing blog and advice columns and all. He breathes real life into his characters, and none more than Corran Horn, the hotshot pilot from Corellia who serves as the main character in this ensemble-based series that first took us away from the "main trio" of Luke, Han, and Leia.

Corran Horn is remarkably mature and introspective, highly analytical, intelligent, and resourceful. His background as an officer of CorSec and skill as a pilot make him a valuable asset to Rogue Squadron, but he has also been tested by grief and trial. Ego, its proper place and its downfalls, is a common theme throughout Corran's books, and I'm half in love with a man who can coolly analyze his thoughts while hotly kissing some chick in order to come to the conclusion that he needs to walk away fast.

In this book, Ysanne Isard -- one of the great underrated villains of the expanded universe -- more aggressively develops her plan to crush the rebel alliance once and for all.

Wedge's Gamble (Star Wars: X-Wing, #2) by Michael A. Stackpole

The empire is still fairly stable, secure on Coruscant under the city-planet's protective shields, and Isard is its tacit leader, empress in all but name, and in name, she is the Director of Imperial Intelligence. Her plan to end the rebellion? Infect Coruscant with a fast-incubating disease and then surrender the planet, leaving the rebels to bankrupt themselves in the efforts to stop the virus. Without realizing that Coruscant is bait, the Alliance has sent Rogue Squadron undercover to infiltrate the Imperial Capital and find out all the information they can about its defenses, especially information on how to bring those planetary shields down.

With a mole hidden somewhere among the Rogues and a parcel of thug convicts from Kessel to help or not help , our band of heroes don't even know the level of danger they're playing with.

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Smartly written, fast-paced, and compelling, Wedge's Gamble lives up to the high standard set in the first book and promises even better to come after a stunning cliffhanger ending. I've laughed out loud, gasped out loud, and even done a little self-evaluating on my own inspired by Corran's internal monologue, which tempts me to say that this series exists somewhere on a plane above the rest of the EU. As much as I love those adventure stories, there's something of philosophy that creeps into Stackpole, and I love him for it.

My only complaint is twin with my highest praise for him, and so it's just something I need to get over: no Star Wars author more aggressively asserts a galaxy-wide, governmentally-supported, anti-nonhuman bigotry more than Michael A. He paints Coruscant with "aliens-only ghettos" and "alien Jim Crow laws" like no other. Obviously this grates on me with my steadfast belief that such prejudice is impossible in an ancient galaxy on this scale ; however, he turns such a sharp story on it that it's hard to complain.

I've always said that nonhuman prejudice easily exists in individuals throughout the Empire, and so perhaps I can explain this by saying that on Ysanne Isard's Coruscant, this kind of bigotry becomes more widespread and enforced. Why did I say twin with my highest praise? My highest praise of Stackpole is that he writes in a kind of casual way that takes for granted all the technology and "weird stuff," stripping off the sense of science fiction and making us think we're just reading daily life.

When Star Wars first hit theaters, it stunned people because Lucas showed them a dusty, well-used universe -- this is the equivalent of what Stackpole's writing does.

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He's casual and offhand; his universe is dusty and lived-in. And I found out why by reading the dedication page of this book "To the memory of Roger Zelazny" -- Roger Zelazny is one of my favorites , and this is his style of writing that I love so much This review via The RebeLibrarian Mar 27, Amelia Nichole Defield rated it liked it Shelves: owned , , starwars. While I wouldn't say this is a bad book, it feels a little bit like a filler book, getting from the first one to the third one. My brother and sister strongly disagree with me, so I know it's just me. Sep 07, Jamie Manley rated it really liked it Shelves: star-wars.

Also, the plight of one of my favorite Legends canon characters makes me immediately want to buy the next book so I can read it ASAP. Mar 02, Jess Neuner rated it really liked it Shelves: star-wars-legends. At the end of the first X-Wing book, we saw Rogue Squadron take Borleias in preparation for an assault on Coruscant, the city-planet that serves as the capital of the Empire.

Taking Coruscant would legitimate the New Republic no longer just the Rebellion in the eyes of the galaxy, hopefully convincing more and more planetary systems to take it seriously and to join up. Taking Coruscant, however, will not be easy. In Wedge's Gamble, they actually come up with and execute the plan to take Corusca At the end of the first X-Wing book, we saw Rogue Squadron take Borleias in preparation for an assault on Coruscant, the city-planet that serves as the capital of the Empire.

In Wedge's Gamble, they actually come up with and execute the plan to take Coruscant. Naturally, the villains already know all about it and are letting them take the planet, which they've infected with a deadly virus that will leave the New Republic wallowing in dead citizens and rage against humans, who are the only ones unaffected. The goal is to allow the New Republic to destroy itself from the inside by giving them problems they're not yet equipped to handle.

While the last book was mostly in space, this one explored Coruscant, from the glitzy upper levels all the way down to the underworld at the bottom where all of the non-humans live, thanks to Imperial discrimination against aliens. The Rogues are split up into smaller groups, each with their own assignments and preparations to make for the taking of Coruscant.

We also get to meet a new set of allies the first-ever good Bothan! I'm not the biggest fan of Ysanne Isard, just because she seems to think that shouting will magicly produce the results she wants whether it's actually possible or not. Kirtan Loor was a bit more relatable, his primary motivations being fear of Isard, a vendetta against Corran Horn, and looking out for himself above all else.

In order for the actual assault on Coruscant to take place, however, they have to take down the planetary shields preferably on their own schedule instead of the one Ysanne Isard has planned for them. The plan the Rogues come up with is exciting, brilliant, and, naturally, cutting things so close that they're down to the last second.

Star Wars: X-wing (book series)

And of course this book ends on a massive cliffhanger. Well, if the plan was to really make me want to read the next book immediately, it was a success! View all 4 comments. Jul 10, Ron rated it liked it Shelves: fantasy , star-wars , science-fiction. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Typical SW fare. Stackpole is a competent, but not inspired--nor inspiring--author.