- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; Original edition (September 4, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780345511621
- ISBN-13: 978-0345511621
- ASIN: 034551162X
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,780 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Aftermath: Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Hardcover – September 4, 2015
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"The Silent Patient" by Alex Michaelides
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“Star Wars: Aftermath [reveals] what happened after the events of 1983’s Return of the Jedi. It turns out, there’s more than just the Empire for the good guys to worry about.”—The Hollywood Reporter
“The Force is strong with Star Wars: Aftermath.”—Alternative Nation
“The Star Wars universe is fresh and new again, and just as rich and mysterious as it always was.”—Den of Geek
“[Chuck] Wendig neatly captures the current states of the Empire and Rebel Alliance and does so through flawed, real, and nuanced characters. His writing gets you up close and personal. . . . Wendig does wonders with dialogue and voice and carving out space for everyone to breathe. Aftermath is a strong foot forward into unexplored territory and puts down just enough foundation that you can start picturing the Resistance and First Order of The Force Awakens taking shape.”—Nerdist
“If the opening chapter of the Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy is any indication, the ‘Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ will be every bit as exciting as the movie.”—New York Daily News
“A wonderful Star Wars adventure by a gifted author.”—SF Book Reviews
About the Author
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He’s the author of many novels, including Blackbirds, Atlanta Burns, Zer0es, and the YA Heartland series. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, son, and red dog.
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Reading the online summaries of the story, I'm not sure how anyone could think that this was a better followup story than Zahn's excellent works. I wouldn't feel right donating it, will probably just recycle. Swing and a miss.
This one, I could not finish. At first I thought I just needed to adjust to the author's style, but after slogging past halfway there was no improvement.
I couldn't find the characters likable or intriguing. They seemed to have simple motivations and would act on them with no subtlety at all. Overhear someone in your rebel-aligned group confess they had been an Imperial officer at Endor? Charge into the room and throttle them! Even non-original characters are affected. Every scene with Admiral Ackbar seems to be there so he can advise caution and worry about things being traps.
Every few pages I would hit something that completely smashed my suspension of disbelief causing me to have to look away from the page and take a break. Things like:
-An asteroid field setting which apparently was once a comet in the Outer Rim of the galaxy. This comet was on course to destroy multiple Core region worlds, until a large number of Jedi gave their lives and/or sanity breaking it apart with the Force to save the day. Does the author know what a comet is?
-Several of the main characters escaping from a mixed mob of stormtroopers and criminal gangsters in a bar alley. One arrives with a getaway hover bike and all but one fit on. The solution for the last character? Grab some chain, tie it to the body of an alien they had just shot, and surf along the street to freedom and safety.
-A main character's inner monologue is wondering why they have to be so involved with the Rebellion, and can't just be peaceful like the Bith couple they are watching on a nearby rooftop. Immediately a TIE flies overhead and the couple angrily wave fists and yell, futilely shooting blaster-fire at the fighter.
These kinds of facepalm-inducing plot points made it impossible to believe or stay immersed in the story. Between that and how simple-minded the characters were, it felt like I was listening to a tabletop roleplay session, where the GM and the players are all black-out drunk and I was stuck as the designated driver. Wookiepedia lists a factoid saying Wendig wrote this book in under 45 days, and it really, really shows.
My recommendation: Don't let this be your first, and maybe therefore last :( , Star Wars book. Don't let the bestseller status mislead you. This was supposed to be the new "What happens after Return of the Jedi?" book. Any book in that position would sell well, even if it were written by a cat with a pen name walking on a keyboard. I checked this book out from the library, and am glad I did not buy it. If you want to enjoy reading a Star Wars book, this is probably not the one. I've put some favorites below, and any of those would serve you well. Lost Stars and Tarkin are in the new canon while the rest are in the old Expanded Universe.
Heir to the Empire
Dark Force Rising
The Last Command
Specter of the Past
Vision of the Future
Path of Destruction
Rule of Two
Dynasty of Evil
Champions of the Force
In addition to the main story there are multiple 2 or 3 page interludes. A bit confusing since the characters mentioned in these are irrelevant to the rest of the story. I find this distracts the reader from the main story. But seeing that there is an aftermath sequel, it seems the interludes will come into play later.
The main problem with this book is the consistent use of real world "Earth" references. The author consistently uses animals such as cats, dogs, moths, monkeys..... It pulls you out of the Star Wars universe. It also leaves the impression that the book was not edited.
Star Wars: Aftermath kind of follows Nora Wexley, Snap Wexley's mom. I say it kind of follows her because even with her being roughly the main character she's only maybe in about 60% of the book. The rest of the book is random one-off chapters following characters we either don't care about or have literally never met before, who pop in for a chapter on some remote planet and then disappear again. However, you can count on them resurfacing randomly later in the book to shut down any momentum that might actually give the book a sense of energy. It's all in this attempt to show how the different edges of the galaxy are handling the fallout of Return of the Jedi and the last remnants of the Galactic Empire trying to keep control over a widely-revolting empire that is crumbling beneath them as the Rebel Alliance builds the beginnings of the New Republic.
All of this SOUNDS interesting, all of this SHOULD be interesting, but it isn't.
First, the book spends three (approximation) chapters following Wedge Antilles being kidnapped, and you think he's going to be the main character of the book but once he gets kidnapped you never hear from him again. By this point we’ve basically burned three chapters of inconsequential action and set up for payoff that won't come until the last couple chapters of the book. I use the word “payoff” loosely since Wedge gets rescued “off-screen.”
However, Chuck Wendig didn’t seem to care too much about the actual plot of the book, so neither will this review. The world building of this book is spotty which isn’t too much of an issue since the good thing about a shared-universe book is that world building isn’t as important. Except, Chuck Wendig butchers the Star Wars universe at every opportunity. He squeezes in one-liners from the movies that felt organic in their time, but don't make sense for another character mentioning them for no reason. Wedge says "Oh no they're on me, I gotta do what my pal Han Solo always says and Fly Casual." Han Solo said that once, and it was never a motto, infact he just pulled it out of his ass. Also, Han Solo never talks to Wedge Antilles in the films so I don't know why we're pretending they are best pals.
Perhaps Chuck Wendig thought that if we’re suspending disbelief that every dramatic problem in the galaxy focuses on one Skywalker family, that we won’t mind characters quoting characters they’ve never met before. Wrong. Don’t even get me started on Chuck Wendig slipping an Admiral Ackbar “It’s a Trap” meme in the middle of his “Please take this seriously” book. To top off all the terrible call-outs, Chuck Wendig then has a fan-favorite ruthless bounty hunter, Dengar, unironically use the term “Space Diapers.” What makes a diaper a “Space Diaper?” Does it defy gravity? Does it hold in excrement even in the vacuum of space? Why did the word “diaper” need to have “space” in front of it other than a cheap attempt to make something mundane sound cool and sci-fi?
Anyway, the story bounces around so much that you end up asking what the hell is going on and why we keep getting parts of the universe told from the viewpoint of random characters. But the thing that really chafes me, that set me off and offended me as a reader and as a writer is that he recycles the same “dramatic” element of the story twice within 100 pages. Nora Wexley on two separate occasions steals a TIE Fighter (With no real explanation of how, she just easily stole one) On both occasions she gets in a dogfight, on both occasions she loses control and decides to Kamikaze her TIE Fighter to save everyone and on both occasions she says "Atleast I saw my son again!" right before the TIE Fighter eats it... and then ON BOTH OCCASIONS SHE JUST MIRACULOUSLY SURVIVES.
TIE Fighters have no shields, are cheaply made by the empire to have mass-produced ships and are known to blow-up at the smallest firepower, but somehow Norra Wexley survived not one, but TWO explosions of her TIE fighter and she has never even flown a TIE Fighter before.
"Space Diapers" was terrible.
Describing TIE Fighters with the same Wasp analogy every time one of them is flying around was terrible.
Constant call-outs to popular fan quotes was terrible.
But literally reusing the same fake-death sequence for the same character, that inexplicably survives within 100ish pages of one another isn't just like not knowing the Star Wars universe, it's terrible writing, terrible plotting and lazy as hell.
HOW IS THIS THE MAIN TRILOGY THAT THE NEW CANON WILL BE BASED AROUND?
WHO THOUGHT THIS PERSON COULD BE TRUSTED WITH THIS?
Meanwhile Claudia Gray is writing the best Star Wars books I've ever read but the majority of the fandom's only interaction with the new canon is Chuck Wendig’s "14 year old writes terrible rambling fan fiction in one draft that no editor ever looks at twice before sending to print."
I give Star Wars: Aftermath 2 Stars. One star for the turncoat imperial officer who helps the main characters and is actually a very interesting character and one star for me finishing this book and knowing I never have to read the probably equally-terrible sequels.