- Series: Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy (Book 3)
- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey (February 21, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1101966963
- ISBN-13: 978-1101966969
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 371 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The second book got much much worse by not only expanding on the least interesting characters(Wexleys), giving the more interesting characters drastic unsubtle character changes(it's not a character arc if it's jagged and comes from nowhere), and above all else failing to capture the voice of the Orige Trige characters that were forced into the story in an attempt to, as the intro said, make our "hearts go a-fluttery".
This third one has all of these problems except that he did focus more an the best character in the story villain, turned disavowed, turned angle of vengeance(like I said drastic character changes) Grand Admiral Sloan. He even did an okay job of rapping up the story lines (no matter how small) across the galaxy, but none of this is forgivable when considering the writing of the this book and the series. It is very obvious that this series was rushed in order to fill the void of the collapse of the Old EU. As the books go on the writing gets worse and often having characters "thinking" description of the situation instead of describing what's happening. Setting a book in the most first-person-point-of-view writer can set a story in(the character's thoughts) is perfectly fine in any story that is of the mind, but this was an action affair concerning a galaxy at war. What's worse is that information in these thoughts often repeated what we already knew about the story and characters, and not in a way that even approached being helpful to understand the scene we were currently in.
So in summation:
Main characters were boring and petty
Interesting characters were malleable and inconsistent
Failed to capture the feelings, actions, and voice of the Original Characters
Writing was repetitive and derivative(because of rushed books)
And the stakes were terribly low because the characters got out of deadly situations on the regular without thought to being consistent with the universe written or the set up.
If you want to read a good Star Wars "War" book, read Alexander Reed's Battle Front Twilight Company.
This book really tells the beginnings of the first order. Told within a contingency plan put in place by Palpatine years ago, involving the planet Jakuu (which of course is where Rey is found in The Force Awakens) to be implemented should the Empire fall. Most of the action, and what in my opinion is the best part of the book is in the last 1/3 or so of it. The main issue I have with the book is the same as I have had with the other two novels, the main characters (especially Luke) are mostly absent in this book. Han and Leia are really the only ones that appear, and while they have a larger role in this book than the others, they are really just mixed in. It just seems at the time when this story was set, all of them would be much more active in trying to defeat what remains of the Empire. The novels that are now relegated to the expanded universe which were set post Return of the Jedi did a much better job with the characters and showed you could bring other characters into the story without giving short shrift to Han, Luke, and Leia.
The book is a fairly easy read, checking in at 430 pages. It certainly does provide clues, and even introduces characters who will be a large focus in the new trilogy, such as a young Hux, (a strongly hinted at appearance by a young Phasma), and hinting at Snoke's presence in the Unknown Region of the galaxy. There are still a lot of stories to be told in the intervening 30 years, specifically how Snoke ultimately comes to power and takes over The First Order. Stories about what exactly Luke ended up doing after the battle of Endor and his attempt to train a new generation of Jedi will also eventually need to be told. This book does wrap up the storylines for Norra, Sinjir, Snap, Sloane, and Jas, but certainly leaves open the possibility of future stories for some of them down the line
Ultimately I think the book, and the Aftermath series overall, is okay, but not great. It is possible that the overall story and what characters could and could not be used may have been dictated to the author. Whoever made the choice not to include more of the main characters in the story made a bad decision. I do like that Lando got a chapter near the end of this book, and very much disliked that we needed an update on Jar Jar Binks early on in the book. Thankfully the latter did not last longer than it did.
For as little as I liked the first book in the trilogy, Wendig's Aftermath story really grew on me, and there are some very tantalizing bits that I'm hoping will be expanded on in the future: Mentions of past events in the Star Wars universe that we haven't heard of before? What exactly was Palpatine looking for out in the area beyond the known galaxy? What did Brendol Hux and the other passengers of the Imperialis discover on their voyage, and how did that lead to the creation of the First Order? I know a lot of people were disappointed in the writing off of the Expanded Universe novels in favor of these in-canon novels, but I'm glad it happened. These novels have expanded on the movies and really add to the tapestry of the overall Star Wars universe in ways that the movies probably wouldn't be able to do, and the fact that they are all aware of each other and stick to the same storylines just adds volumes to the SW experience.
While I still wish that this entire trilogy had been released prior to the release of The Force Awakens as it really fills in some of the gaps leading up to that movie, the finished product stands strong on its own. And as much as reading Chuck Wendig's writing still bugs me (there's something about how he structures his sentences that drives me nuts when reading it, but listening to the audio works just fine for me - weird, I know) I hope that he is given an opportunity to flesh out some of the other plot lines that were left open or maybe give us some of the backstory to the events mentioned throughout the series from SW history.
For fans of SW and especially the new trilogy of films, I think that this would be a necessary reading experience, and something that would still hold up well for the casual SW reader.