Star Wars: Aftermath – Empire’s End

February 2017 saw the release of the final novel in the Star Wars Aftermath trilogy; Empire’s End. This is the series that bridges the gap (somewhat) between Episode VI and Episode VII. Over course of the these three books, we’ve been introduced to new characters as well as been able to peek in on a few of our favorite personas from original trilogy.

In retrospect, I was a bit cold on the original Aftermath. I didn’t care much for many of the new characters introduced, and I didn’t like the way the story seemed to jump all over the place. With the release of “Life Debt”, I began to feel a little more at home in Wendig’s post-ROTJ era, but still had my reservations. Now, I’m happy to say that I’ve actually come to enjoy several of the new characters he’s introduced. To me, Empire’s End is easily the best of the three novels in the series.

Those curious about the secret identity of Supreme Leader Snoke in Episode VII, will still be disappointed. Despite what many readers suspected to be a major tease regarding that character’s origins – nothing about the character is actually revealed. What we DO get in this story is a lot of background info on the planet of Jakku, as well as the Emperor’s plans post-mortum. It seems like Lucasfilm will be unlikely to give us any major revelations outside of the actual films,  but we’re certainly getting plenty of hints and breadcrumbs.  But YES – in this novel, you will finally see the fall of the Imperial Remnant and the reigns of power being handed to the New Republic. This alone, makes this novel worthy of your attention.

I’ve been an open critic of Chuck Wendig’s writing style in the past, and I’m happy to say that he seems to have really toned it down in this novel. This books reads much more like a started fantasy novel in terms of verbiage and standardized punctuation. To me, this one actually feels like it was written by a professional author and not some amateur who’s looking to make his name by being different and daring.

If you’re a serious fan of Star Wars and you love to consume every morsel of new information out there. This book is a need-to-have.

Story: The bulk of this book follows the characters that we’ve come to know from the other Aftermath novels, as well as longtime fan favorites. This story, when combined with the other three books, puts a nice end-cap on the events that occurred in Return of the Jedi, and helps set the stage for what we eventually see in The Force Awakens. However, even thoug ha lot of answers can be found here, fans are still left asking plenty of questions.

Recommended:  FOR HARDCORE FANS.

Star Wars: Aftermath – Life Debt

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It’s been quite a wait, but finally the second entry in the Aftermath trilogy is here. Well, technically this book came out a few months ago but I’ve only just now finished it. But, it’s still fairly new and with that in mind, I’m here to share my thoughts.

First, let’s discuss the setting of this book. Life Debt takes place after the events of the first Aftermath novel. Many of characters and situations introduced in the first entry are carried over here. This includes some of the new fan-favorites such as Sinjir and Mister Bones. But perhaps more interesting, is the introduction of a new Imperial character by the name of Gallius Rax. I don’t wish to spoil anything… but there’s a lot of fan speculation regarding the identity of this character.

The main focus of the story revolves around Leia’s growing frustration with the current state of the New Republic. Political gridlock has set in. Readers who also are familiar with the novel “Bloodline”, know exactly where this will end up. In the midst of everything going on in the galaxy, Han Solo is missing. Last seen on a quest to free the Wookiee homeworld from the grips of an Imperial remnant, Leia sends the motley crew from Aftermath in search of him.

If you read my review of the original Aftermath novel, you’ll know that although I found the story to be very good overall, it was not without issues. My biggest problem with “Aftermath” was Chuck Wendig’s writing style. It’s punchy, yes. But it feels a bit abrasive – too casual. For me, it seems out of place in the Star Wars universe. Well, I’m glad to say that here in “Life Debt”, his over-the-top style seems to have been toned down a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still obviously Chuck Wendig, but the story reads just a bit more like a traditional – more in line with what you’d find in another Star Wars novel.

Overall, I enjoyed Life Debt quite a bit more than I enjoyed Aftermath. I’m now eagerly awaiting the final chapter of the Aftermath series, where I expect some major revelations and tie-ins with Episode VII will become very apparent.

Story: Like with Aftermath, the contents of this book jump from the main overall plot, to flashes of goings-on within the galaxy after the fall of the Empire. Life Debt does a good job of filling in more of the gaps fans are looking for, while seemingly laying the groundwork for some really big revelations.

Recommended:  FOR HARDCORE FANS.

Star Wars: Aftermath

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The first post-Return of the Jedi novel in the new Star Wars cannon is here! Star Wars Aftermath. Without spoiling too much the book, I’m going to do my best to share my thoughts on this crucial entry in the Star Wars universe.

First, let’s talk about what this book is and isn’t. While this story does take place shortly after RoTJ, it is not exactly a bridge to the upcoming Episode VII. This book is the first in what will be known as the “Aftermath Trilogy”. Part 2 and 3 will come out after the release of VII. In this entry, we get to see the state of the galaxy immediately after the fall of the Emperor. The uprising that is taking place, the political position of both the New Republic (alliance) and the fractured Imperial remnants.

The book focuses mostly on new characters, but there are some familiar faces. Wedge Antilles plays a large role in the novel, and we also get a few short insights into some other popular characters. What stands out most about this book, and also what happens to be the source of much criticism, is the writing style. I’ve never read any other works by this author, Chuck Wendig. To be honest, unless he writes more Star Wars, I probably won’t again. The pace of the writing is very odd and it reads very strange. It is unnecessarily punchy and at times feels unprofessional. The effect of this does give the book a somewhat cinematic feel, which is interesting, but overall I found it to be very distracting.

I often found myself reading the story and being very into what I was reading, only to encounter a page break followed by a brief description of new un-introduced characters involved in some other  event. Then, as soon as that is over, these characters are never heard from again. I get what the author is trying to do. Yes, there’s the main story of Aftermath, but peppered in are also insights to what is going on in other parts of the galaxy. This is actually a pretty neat idea, but I feel that it should have been structured a bit better. I don’t know. Odd.

In terms of the story itself, I found the plot of Aftermath to be quite interesting. I enjoyed the overall story-arch as well as the characters that were introduced. For the first time ever, I found myself actually liking the prequel-era Battle Droids. (If you read, you’ll see what I mean). I’m very interested to see if any of these characters will make an appearance in Episode VII. (I do have some suspicions about one of them.)

Overall, despite some flaws in the writing, this is pretty much a must read for any hardcore Star Wars fan.

Story: Great plot and lore into the final days of the Empire and the rise of the New Republic. The writing style takes some getting used to.

Recommended:  FOR ALL FANS