Title // Star Wars: Aftermath
Author // Chuck Wendig
Publication Month // September 2015
Publisher // Del Rey
Genre // Sci-Fi, Film Tie-In
Journey to The Force Awakens.
The second Death Star is destroyed. The Emperor and his powerful enforcer, Darth Vader, are rumored to be dead. The Galactic Empire is in chaos.
Across the galaxy, some systems celebrate, while in others Imperial factions tighten their grip. Optimism and fear reign side by side.
And while the Rebel Alliance engages the fractured forces of the Empire, a lone Rebel scout uncovers a secret Imperial meeting…
I’ll admit to approaching Aftermath with no small amount of trepidation. I’m a huge fan of the previous Star Wars books – and finding out they’d been removed from canon was so disappointing because there is such a vast and wonderful world that has been created over many years and penned by many writers. (And okay, they’re not all great stories, but for the most part I enjoyed everything I read.)
Aftermath was a bit disappointing in that regard. It was a slow-build book, and Chuck Wendig has a very unique writing style that took time to get into as a reader. Aftermath is the first book in a trilogy intent on bridging the time period between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens and unfortunately it felt like the first book in a series.
Yes, it had Wedge Antilles in it (one of my favourite Expanded Universe characters), although I was disappointed he wasn’t in it more. Yes, it introduced new characters that I did really enjoy, particularly Norra and her son, Temmin (and Temmin’s droid, Mister Bones, who I love). Yes, we still have canon characters like Princess Leia to help bridge the stories, but it just felt like it was lacking in momentum.
Which is not to say, the story as a whole, was not an interesting one. It feels like – in the absence of all the previous books – these books are being asked to fill in a lot of political back-story, as opposed to out-and-out action. I do enjoy that aspect of the Star Wars universe. The politics are very intriguing because you’re looking at the third change of a galaxy-wide ruling body in a generation and there’s going to be problems with that. It’s not going to be easy or smooth, and the interludes interspersed throughout the novel definitely reflect that, although in a lot of ways it would have been better for those to have been expanded upon, woven into the series as a whole to see how it impacts the story as a whole.
Overall I gave Aftermath 3.5 out of 5 stars for a relatively smooth (if not exciting) reintroduction into a universe I thought I knew and for a series of new characters that I am eager to see expanded in future books. I’m curious to see where the new book series goes (limited, of course, by the new film trilogy), but for now I don’t think it will have quite the same impact as the old book series. (Although I’m more than happy to be proven wrong!)