This is a great book. After the deeply human and flawed characters of Casual Vacancy, it's nice to see Rowling once again writing such great character...moreThis is a great book. After the deeply human and flawed characters of Casual Vacancy, it's nice to see Rowling once again writing such great characters. Strike and Robin are the kind of characters you don't want to stop reading about, and I'm extremely glad this is the start of a new series. The mystery is fun and complex, with plenty of great clues and red herrings, and despite having all of the clues laid out for me I still couldn't guess the killer's identity. Similar to Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone in hindsight: the "obvious" suspect just serves to distract from the true villain. And while the story doesn't really bring anything new to the detective genre, it does classic Private Eye fiction so well you can't help but love it.
Overall, this is a book that definitely deserves the praise it got when it first came out, and is even worthy of the hour is received since Rowling was outed as the author. Once again, she proves her position as one of the 21st Century's greatest authors. It's great to see Potter wasn't just a lucky one hit wonder, and I look forward to whatever she releases next!(less)
Brief but powerful. Tries to present a fair and unbiased portrait of the situation surrounding the tragic death of Dawn. If you enjoy this and you're...moreBrief but powerful. Tries to present a fair and unbiased portrait of the situation surrounding the tragic death of Dawn. If you enjoy this and you're interested to learn more, check out Death at SeaWorld by David Kirby, or watch the new documentary Blackfish coming out this summer.(less)
When I think back about the first time I read this book, I'm overwhelmed with nostalgia. I read this book way back in the late ninties, when I was no...moreWhen I think back about the first time I read this book, I'm overwhelmed with nostalgia. I read this book way back in the late ninties, when I was no more than 11 or 12. As soon as my Dad got the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition VHS set in 96 or 97, I was hooked, and immediately started spending saving up my allowance and spending it on the variety of Star Wars novels which, while clearly written for readers somewhat above the third grade level, captured my imagination. And few of those novels captured my imagination the way Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston's X-Wing series. Always somewhat of a nerd, I devoured these books every chance I could find. In school I frequently had a book propped open in my desk so I could snatch a sentence or two in between paying close attention to every word that came out of the teacher's mouth. During recess, I would lean against the school building and read until the bell summoned us back inside. When I wasn't busy reading, I would spend recess racing around the school yard, dogfighting imaginary TIE Fighters and Star Destroyers and various other spacecraft gleaned from the pages of the novels or my well read copy of Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels. I was fascinated by the characters and the world of the stories. In the days before wikipedia, I poured over the pages of the novels, taking detailed notes in order to determine the call sign of each Rogue Squadron pilot and their wingman, and to decipher the pilots slang terms: "eyeball," "bright," "squint," etc. All of this may seem unnecessarily obsessive to a rational adult mind, but as an eager pre-adolescent caught up in the wonder of the "galaxy far far away" for the first time, it was a testament to the power of the story Stackpole (and ultimately George Lucas) created. It's books like this one that make me wish I hadn't gotten rid of all of my old Star Wars books. Yeah, they took up a lot of space on my already overcrowded shelves, and it's true I had never gone back to re-read most of them in years, but all these years later it feels like a crime to have sold all those childhood memories for a mere $20 at a garage sale. Of course I have all of the published novels on my Kobo e-reader, but sometimes I wish I could run my fingers through those pages again, smell the paper, and feel the texture of the memories captured between the covers... All of these fond memories have me very excited for the August release of Mercy Kill, the first new X-Wing novel in 13 years. Here's hoping that for some young, impressionable reader out there, this book will continue the tradition started by Rogue Squadron, opening his or her imagination to a galaxy where daring aces do battle with menacing villains, brave heroes make selfless sacrifices, and good always triumps over evil.
UPDATE: Since writing this review, I've started going back and tracking down used copies of as many Star Wars novels as I can, rebuilding my collection so I can go back and revist those memories. I haven't finished catching up in the timeline so I can read Mercy Kill, but I'm looking forward to it more than ever.
AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: I recently had the chance to listen to the abridged audio book of Rogue Squadron, and while I really enjoyed listening to the story with all the sound effects and music that make the Star Wars audio books such a great experience, I really missed a lot of the material that was cut out during the abridging process. Also, the sound effects are clearly more than ten years older than the effects you can hear in more recent audio books, and it was a little distracting when the pilots voices were distorted to make it sound like a radio message. Overall I still really enjoyed it, but I would NOT recommend it as an alternative to reading the full books. Maybe when I get to Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill I'll check out the unabridged audio version of that one.(less)
Really loved the twists and turns in this one. Definitely going to have big impact in future books! Looking forward to reading the conclusion of this...moreReally loved the twists and turns in this one. Definitely going to have big impact in future books! Looking forward to reading the conclusion of this saga!(less)
Boba Fett is clearly a bad ass, and years of being the best has put him in charge of the Mandalorian mercenaries, and with the Vong invasion beginning...moreBoba Fett is clearly a bad ass, and years of being the best has put him in charge of the Mandalorian mercenaries, and with the Vong invasion beginning he has to do something he hasn't had to do before: think about what is best for other people. Great chance to get inside his head and understand what makes the best bounty hunter the best.(less)
I'm a big fan of Stover's other Star Wars books, but this one seemed a little over-the-top. Intentionally so, I realize. As the debriefing at the end...moreI'm a big fan of Stover's other Star Wars books, but this one seemed a little over-the-top. Intentionally so, I realize. As the debriefing at the end makes clear, it's intended to be a dramatized, exaggerated "holothriller" based on Luke and his friends, and as such it pokes fun at and also seriously questions some of the Star Wars fiction of the past, as well as our general fascination with and appetite for over-the-top heroes and adventures. In this, the book succeeds. I just found it a little difficult to accept some of the plot points of this book.
Overall, an enjoyable read. This was one I've been curious to read for a while now. I just wish it had been as good as Shatterpoint or Traitor...(less)
Not really sure what to say about this. Quite depressing. The final two or three parts are interesting, but most of the book is very slow going. The c...moreNot really sure what to say about this. Quite depressing. The final two or three parts are interesting, but most of the book is very slow going. The characters are hard to like. I wanted to know how it ended, but I didn't really care what was going to happen next. As an employee at a bookstore, I felt like I needed to read this book, and I'm glad I did. But it certainly wasn't the book of the year or anything, and if I could go back and relive the last month of my life, reading this book would not be a priority.(less)