Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig
If you like Star Wars and plan on seeing the movie, and you want a huge epilogue to Return of the Jedi with an origin story of a new character, you will really enjoy this book and it will add to the Episode 7 experience.
Publisher’s Description: 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…
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Disclosure: I’m a Star Wars fan who purchased his movie ticket for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode 7) several months in advance. So when I heard there was a book that was setting up this movie that is supposed to be taking place 30 years after the last movie, Return of the Jedi, I couldn’t wait to read it.
The problem is, the book is more like a 300 page epilogue for Return of the Jedi, not a full story. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun to read or well written, but what it does mean is that this book was written for one purpose: to plant seeds that won’t produce fruit until you watch Episode 7.
Let me give you a fake example. Assume you are on page 150, so well into the book. C3P0 and R2D2 make their first appearance (the reader goes sqeeee, finally!). They open a closet full of Galactic Credits, R2 tweets, C3PO goes “What are we going to do with all this money?” End of chapter, they are never seen again in the book. Was that satisfying? To see the names and hear part of their story, sure, to never see them again, frustrating and unfulfilling. There are a number of short stories like that spaced in the book, and they are names and introductions to people that you won’t hear from again for thirty story years and it won’t be a book but a movie! Sigh.
The rest of the book is basically an origin story for one individual who will be in the new movie. If the other new young actors are there, they are just barely mentioned because…you know, they are kids. If this had been just that story without the side seeding chapters, I think that would have made for a much more entertaining read. The other side stories made getting into this book distracting. I kept waiting for the stories to connect…they never did. And the first 100 pages were tough with the bouncing around of story plots.
So, my conclusion is, if you like Star Wars and plan on seeing the movie, and you want a huge epilogue to Return of the Jedi with an origin story of a new character, you will really enjoy this book and it will add to the Episode 7 experience. There are some well-placed one-liners, a plethora of Star Wars Easter egg moments, places, and people. And the writing flows well. The story isn’t burdened with a ton of descriptions of “things” like Star Destroyers or Imperial probes, so if you haven’t seen Star Wars, you will be lost or need a very vivid imagination.
If I had known what I was getting into, I think I could have even enjoyed this book even more. But I was expecting either a full story or part one of a three part book series, not what I ended up with. Having just finished it and found out “nope, that’s it until the movie”, I’m really ready for the movie, but kind of depressed that I won’t have any story fulfillment until “after” the movie comes out.
3 out of 5 for Star Wars fans (maybe 4 if you are really really into Star Wars and any story is a good story) If you aren’t a Star Wars fan, you should just skip this. No really, you’ll be totally lost and won’t be able to appreciate the hidden gems that make reading it worthwhile.
If you like this book…
…the plethora of Star Wars books in existence.