Isard's Revenge - Michael A. Stackpole “The way we rebuild the galaxy is by making lives better one at a time”
The New Republic is hot off the battle with Thrawn. Admiral Ackbar forces Wedge Antilles to accept a promotion to General so they can deal with the remnants of the Empire and the Prince-Admiral, Krennel, and rescue the remaining Lusankya prisoners. Little do they know that Isard is back and wants revenge.
NOTE: Listened to audiobook.

I Liked:
I don’t know if this audiobook was better edited, or I was paying attention better or the book was just better, but I definitely have been better involved with this book than my other forays into the X-Wing series.
I love how Stackpole seamlessly wove his narrative into so many sources. Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy; Allston’s Wraith Squadron books, and, of course, his own novels. I think it was cool to have Stackpole write the ending of the Thrawn trilogy from a new point of view. I like the consistency of Luke encouraging Corran to train as a Jedi. And I enjoy seeing how our characters end (Gavin and Asyr, the budding relationship between Wedge and Iella, Mirax and Corran).
The characters are good. Wedge, Mirax, Booster, Corran, Wes Janson, Iella, and many more return in their brilliance. Stackpole also deftly uses Talon Karrde, something that many other authors have been unable to do. I love this little conversation Gavin and Asyr have...where I got my quote, in fact. How change is made on an individual, personal level. It was very insightful, almost a key to what the Star Wars galaxy needed (and only a few authors, unfortunately, tried to show).
The story is good. While I typically don’t like the clone scenario (see below), I do like having Isard return to give Rogue Squadron one final run for their money. I felt her “death” in Bacta War was just not quite right. I also liked how Iella and Mirax went investigating with each other. Corran’s partner in CorSec and his wife. It just seemed cool, and I liked how they didn’t have to dress up sexy or act like courtesans or some other stereotypical “sexy woman” thing in order to investigate Commenor.

I Didn’t Like:
I do not like the convention of bringing back a character using the “clone” excuse. “Oh, so-and-so had a clone and that clone died.” Overused. Silly. And almost like a person has run out of ideas (“Dang, can’t think of a new enemy…wait! I’ll have a clone made of my best enemy and he/she can come back!”).
Coupled with this is the other cliché Stackpole is fond of: “returning from the dead” sequences. Stackpole did this with Corran, but somehow, I didn’t mind it. Here, there are two people who return from the dead…stretching credibility (I was actually looking forward to one of the deaths, it was a real heart-tugger).
And then the other stereotypical Star Wars cliché…yes, you know it’s coming! Superweapons! Dum dum dummmmmmmmmmm! Fortunately, this proto-Death Star is much smaller scale, and Ackbar mentions scoping out the rest of the superweapons quickly. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that this is the last of these stupid superweapons.
Also, more than a little tired of New Republic = Good, Empire = Bad. The villains are competent, don’t get me wrong, but could we please have a wee bit more balance?

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
“Sithspawn” is about as harsh as it gets.
Gavin mentions to Asyr that Bothans and humans aren’t compatible.
Isard has scars from when she was blown up. Dogfights, Wedge stuns people while under cover, Corran gets to use his lightsaber…you know the drill.

I was scared listening to this audiobook. The previous X-Wing novels just seemed lacking. So I was afraid I wouldn’t like this book as well. Fortunately, I was proven wrong.
However, I was a little disappointed with Stackpole. Superweapons, near-death experiences, and clones? Were they really necessary?
Ah, well, I had a good time, and that’s more than I can ask for. Four stars.