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Empire's End: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) Hardcover – February 21, 2017
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Praise for Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath
“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!
Aftermath: Life Debt
“Compulsively readable, the kind of caramel-corn book you just keep stuffing in your face until it’s gone.”—Tordotcom
“Man oh man, this is good stuff. [Life Debt] reveals what Han and Chewie were up to after Return of the Jedi.”—io9
“Gripping reading . . . [This novel] hits the ground running.”—New York Daily News
About the Author
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He’s the author of many novels, including Star Wars: Aftermath, Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt, 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 his wife, son, and red dog.
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- Mechanisms of the Contingency: I thought the backstory regarding the Contingency and Palpatine's "blessing" of Gallius Rax to be interesting, and quite nicely explains why the First Order is seemingly the Empire 2.0.
- Rae Sloane: This character continues to be fascinating, and I am glad that Wendig plucked her from A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller. She provides an intriguing perspective, in that the Empire is not faultless for her but overall did good for the galaxy. Her arc has been a good one, from insider to outsider back to insider.
- Battle of Jakku: We finally got to read about the full battle, and the character Agate got good characterization and had a good moment.
- Unknown Regions: More mystery! We know Thrawn is from the Unknown Regions, so it will be fun to see where that goes.
- Justice vs. Revenge: I really liked that this thread followed Norra throughout the book.
- I would have loved to see some Lost Stars integration. Since we know Cienna and Thane were present at Jakku, and the Star Destroyer Inflictor is seen in The Force Awakens, I wish that would have been referenced to bring those stories together.
- The only romance in the book is between Sinjir and Conder, but it feels forced and overdone. There's very little reason for the relationship beyond that it should exist. The same actions would have occurred had they been comrades or the like, so it was not compelling.
- Overall, the story was predictable: Honestly, I wish the first two books (Aftermath and Life Debt) had been condensed into one, Empire's End would then be book two, and a third book would explore the Aftermath of a galaxy without an Empire and more answers to the First Order's beginnings. Wendig keeps the mystery alive, but provides some lackluster answers to other puzzles.
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.
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.