SW7N Review: Star Wars: Aftermath

aftermath

As I read Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath, it occurred to me that one direct connection that it may very well end up sharing with Star Wars: The Force Awakens  is the vital importance of not just suspending disbelief, but also suspending expectations as we move forward into this, the new generation of Star Wars stories. Read on for my impressions of this latest Star Wars adventure…

 

 

I’ll break the suspense for you all right now: I liked Aftermath. I actually liked it quite a lot. It was perhaps the one Star Wars novel set for release this year that I was looking forward to more than any other, from the moment it was announced. It also was, I can safely say, not at all what I expected it to be. In fact, as I read through the first 50 to 100 pages I am quite sure that the expression on my face conveyed  something far more akin to a “Hmmm…” than a “YEAH!!!” That had certainly changed by the end of the book, but I will admit to having been a bit tentative at first, not entirely sure whether or not I actually liked what I was reading.

 

It wasn’t the first time I’d gone through this, of course. My first viewing of The Phantom Menace back on Opening Day in 1999 produced a similar reaction: “Do I like this? I’m not really sure…” Not to labor the point, but in that case my outlook never really did improve all that much. So as I read through Wendig’s brand new take on the post-Endor state of the galaxy far, far away, the fact that it didn’t immediately captivate me right out of the gate put me on my guard just a wee bit. After all, this was really our first taste of things to come, especially now that the old Expanded Universe had been boxed up and trundled upstairs to the attic as the newly christened (and marginalized) “Star Wars Legends”. True, this was a story that was set mere months following the events of Return of the Jedi, and 30 years would still pass in the GFFA before whatever it is that J.J. Abrams and company have in store for us in The Force Awakens, but still… it was the first step forward into that new world.

 

wending

Well, the first thing I noticed was Wendig’s choice of writing the entire story in present tense rather than the past tense that has, with a few notable exceptions, been the standard for Star Wars novels since Alan Dean Foster’s ghost-written Star Wars movie novelization was first published back in 1976. Actually, I noticed the first-person writing when Del Rey first teased us with the opening pages of Aftermath a month or two ago. I wasn’t sure I liked it then, and I was still unsure of that as I picked up the book and dove on in. As it turns out, while it’s still not my ideal choice, I was able to gently nudge aside the professional editor in me and enjoy the writing style for what it was.  It does tend to cast the tale in a rather more cinematic light, and who’s going to argue with that? It’s Star Wars, after all. Still, I felt overall that Wendig’s writing style, both the present tense and a lot of his descriptor and idiom choices, tended to fall rather shy of the mark.

 

While the writing style wasn’t a complete surprise, the story itself was a bit moreso. I’d read the dust jacket synopsis that had circulated online, and wasn’t expecting this to be the further adventures of Luke, Han and Leia. However, I guess in retrospect I wasn’t expecting them to be almost entirely absent from Aftermath the way they were either. I had assumed, I gradually began to realize, that Aftermath would deal a bit more with the broad strokes of how things shook out after the destruction of the Death Star and the deaths of Darth Vader and the Emperor. And this wasn’t really what Aftermath was about.

 

In fact, Aftermath struck me as being a much smaller, more intimate story than I’d assumed that it would be. It is much more along the lines of what we’d heard about Star Wars: Underworld, the planned live-action Star Wars television series that never ended up happening. Aftermath focuses primarily on brand-new characters whose story takes place on the remote Outer Rim world of Akiva, which is seemingly as far removed from the center of galactic political events as you can get. We are initially led to Akiva by an old fan favorite, Captain Wedge Antilles. Wedge, whose covert mission is to uncover evidence of attempts by Imperial military forces to surreptitiously regroup, stumbles across a pair of Star Destroyers in orbit over the little backwater planet. Before he can report his discovery, however, he is captured by the Imperials. Though Wedge does not manage to get word back to base, he does manage to send a local transmission in hopes that some Rebel sympathizer on Akiva picks it up and passes it along.

 

Wedge11

The story that begins to unfold, therefore, isn’t Wedge’s, although he plays a minor role in it. Instead, we are introduced to an unlikely band of… well, not heroes really. Not at first, anyway.

 

Norra Wexley certainly qualifies as a hero, having flown a Y-wing for the Rebellion at the Battle of Endor. Like Tycho Celchu in Michael Stackpole’s X-Wing series, Norra was among the small group of Rebel fighter pilots who split off from Lando and Wedge to draw off some of the TIE fighters during the attack run into the second Death Star.  In Aftermath, she has returned to her homeworld of Akiva to find her son and bring him off-world. Temmin, her son, is a 15 year-old tech prodigy who was left on his own several years before when Norra went off to find Temmin’s father, whom the Empire had arrested for colluding with the Rebellion.

 

Temmin, rather predictably, hasn’t taken his abandonment well, and plays the role of the “angry young man with a heart of gold”. He has parlayed his tech talents into a profitable little junk shop, which he uses as a front for shadier dealings—and he doesn’t want to leave it all behind just because Mommy finally decided to come home. The conflict between Nora and Temmin runs throughout most of the story, and I have to admit that it got rather tiresome and cliché-ridden after awhile. While I didn’t actively dislike either character, I didn’t find them as interesting as I did some of the others.

 

If there was one character who I was genuinely interested in seeing portrayed onscreen, it was former Imperial loyalty officer, Sinjir Rath Velus. Previously an “internal affairs” type whose job it was to ferret out Imperials who lacked sufficient ideological zeal, or who just happened to bungle the wrong thing at the wrong time, Sinjir was now a jaded, sarcastic drunk trying to escape his past and disappear into a bottle somewhere deep in the Outer Rim before getting mixed up with Norra and Temmin. It was tough to get a read on his priorities and motivations, though he was clearly meant to be the “Han Solo” of the piece. I immediately envisioned him as played by John Barrowman—Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and Torchwood. I’m interested to see how his character develops in future books in this series.

 

StarWarsGalaxy

Jas Emari, a Zabrak bounty hunter, also shows some definite promise. Now chasing down bounties that the Rebellion has placed on the heads of a number of Imperial officials, Jas ends up throwing her lot in with Norra, Temmin and Sinjir as they attempt to rescue Wedge. In Jas’ case, her motivation is as much about the money as anything, but she does end up as part of the team along with the others.

 

The main Imperial antagonist is Rae Sloane, first introduced last year in John Jackson Miller’s A New Dawn as the captain of the Imperial Star Destroyer Ultimatum. Now an Imperial Admiral, she is instrumental in bringing together a group of high-level Imperials for a secret meeting on Akiva to decide how best to go about rebuilding the Empire and restoring it to its former glory. Aware that the seeds of the Empire’s fall were sown by the blind ambition of Palpatine and his inner circle, Admiral Sloane is a more thoughtful sort of villain, driven more by pragmatism than by a violent addiction to power.

 

Also of note are a series of short “Interlude” chapters interspersed throughout the book. Each takes place on a different planet, and is designed to show how the fall of the Empire has affected the average citizen of each of these planets. It’s difficult to tell how many of these are just for added story color, and how many of them are teasers for future Star Wars novels, but since they show us (among other things) Han and Chewie at the beginning of an adventure, I think it’s safe to say that at least some of these Interludes are setting up stories yet to be told.

 

As I mentioned before, I enjoyed Star Wars: Aftermath. To me, it felt like an attempt to illustrate the fact that the war between the Rebellion and the Empire was a civil war in the classic sense. Families were divided and estranged because of it. Day-to-day life on planets across the galaxy were negatively affected by it. And like any war, despite all of the high-level power struggles, the battles were fought by average people who were just trying to get by and do what they thought was right. Once the war moved on, these people were often left trying to reassemble the fragments of their old lives, or casting about for new lives to replace what they had irrevocably lost.

 

JTTFA

Though Aftermath’s overall story and characters worked for me, I was less impressed by the writing as a whole, as I mentioned before. Now, I’m not familiar with Chuck Wendig’s other books, so I don’t know if this was necessarily all on him. Chuck was reportedly given 45 days to complete the novel, and god love him for cranking it out as quickly as he did and not completely falling on his ass. And yet, despite the fact that it contained plenty of enjoyable elements, Aftermath felt rushed to me.

 

There seemed to be too many contemporary Earth-bound references, for one thing. I’ve always called this “the hot chocolate factor”. In Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire, reference is made to this delicious beverage that Lando had discovered during his travels across the galaxy—hot chocolate. When things like this that are so thoroughly a product of our own culture are injected into Star Wars novels, I always find it jarring enough to yank me out of the story, however briefly. And I noticed quite a number of them in Aftermath. Phrases like “Buy the ticket, take the ride” and “Awk-warrrrd…” sound far more like something out of a bad reality TV show or a Facebook post than something you’d expect to hear in the Star Wars universe.

 

The other thing that I felt detracted from the story and characters is the fact that the majority of the new characters, Norra, Sinjir and Jas, all just happened to be at Endor during the Death Star battle. Now, perhaps this was something that LFL/Disney instructed Chuck to do, or maybe it was something that he came up with on his own, but to me it just felt contrived. In my opinion, this has been a problem with Star Wars stories for quite awhile now. Characters are linked together in the most eye-rollingly unbelievable ways, to the point where the galaxy far, far away often ends up feeling more like a small town. Placing most of Aftermath’s protagonists at the Battle of Endor, and then having them just happen to be drawn together by completely unrelated events on Akiva later on may not be “Darth Vader built See Threepio” bad, but I still found it to be unnecessarily cheesy. I REALLY wish that Star Wars writers would cut this “it’s a small world after all” thing out. Unfortunately, I expect it’s something we’ll just have to try our best to ignore.

 

That said, I did enjoy Aftermath. It featured good characters with a decent amount of development, some great action sequences and cliffhangers, and plenty of shady crime bosses and weasely Imperials for the heroes to go up against. And again, I think the key to enjoying Aftermath is to suspend your expectations, both good and bad, and take the story for what it is. It is neither as amazing as a lot of us had hoped that it would be, nor as bad as the slagging it’s gotten from some online reviewers would indicate that it is. I suspect that we’re going to be faced with a similar situation in December when The Force Awakens is released. Aftermath may be, among other things, a good dry run for our first viewings of TFA—which I also expect to fall somewhere between our impossibly lofty, overly idealized expectations and the “Comic Book Guy” savaging that it will inevitably take from certain sectors of the Star Wars fan base.

 

Stay in the moment and let go of all of that, though, and you’re probably going to enjoy yourself quite a bit.

 

+ posts

77 thoughts on “SW7N Review: Star Wars: Aftermath

  • September 19, 2015 at 2:59 am
    Permalink

    This one was a real quick read (one weekend)…I like that it sets up the tone of the galaxy but other than that, it’s up there with the weaker novels from the old EU. Main difference between this and the old EU is that it is a more realistic approach to what would happen after a war…

  • September 19, 2015 at 4:52 am
    Permalink

    Like Marvel Studio’s Antman, I was more excited by the cameos and implications of certain plot points, like a certain something being found in Tatooine or a character that reminds me of a certain EU character showing up at the end. Makes me eager to see what they do with that, but not much else.

  • September 19, 2015 at 4:54 am
    Permalink

    Thanks Dekka, I’m 135 pages in, and feel like it “drags”, but I’m going the length on principle alone!

    • September 19, 2015 at 7:24 pm
      Permalink

      Exactly what I feel. Pushing through just because I paid for it!

  • September 19, 2015 at 4:56 am
    Permalink

    Thanks for the nicely written review. It was written better than the book.
    I agree with every point. Aftermath is ok, not great. I find the references to dogs and flies and busses and parachutes and many other things just too earth like for SW. Also there is way too much “Protagonist is dead…Ta Da!.. Miraculous event saves protagonist!”
    That said, I would encourage anyone interested to give it a go.

    • September 19, 2015 at 6:11 am
      Permalink

      I haven’t read this book yet but I have noticed in the new canon all the earthly references. In the old there was duracrete for concrete and durasteel for anything steel, etc. I didn’t see anything wrong with those “substitute” words knowing it was coming from a different galaxy. They should have just kept it the same when it comes to this.

      • September 19, 2015 at 11:47 pm
        Permalink

        Earth references aren’t just in this cannon. Heir to the Empire has a mention of hot chocolate, and the original ANH novel refers to dogs at one point and ducks at another. (Obi-Wan says something to Luke about “even ducks must learn to swim” or something like that.) Hell, even in TPM, Ric Olie says they’ll be sitting ducks if they don’t get the shield fixed.

        • September 22, 2015 at 12:22 am
          Permalink

          Not to mention Millennium “Falcon”s, “vulture” droids, womp “rats”…

    • September 19, 2015 at 9:28 am
      Permalink

      That’s one of the other little things that has bugged me in recent years, too. For example in the video games and other media, you can hear and read characters calling the AT-ST a ‘chicken walker’. Chickens are definitely earth bound and probably not found elsewhere. If they were, they probably wouldn’t be called chickens.

      Sure, the SW crew jokingly referred them as ‘chicken walkers’, because they’re behind the scenes of a fictional world.

      • September 20, 2015 at 1:06 am
        Permalink

        Yup. Stuff like that would make more sense if the humans in TGFFA actually came from Earth. There was an aborted novel, once, that was supposed to explain SW humans like that (Alien Exodus – http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Alien_Exodus ), and I wouldn’t mind if they rehashed that plot eventually.

        But until they do something like that, they need to stay away from Earth-related topics like the plague.

        While it’s true that the original SW novelization referenced dogs and ducks, those old books were done without any concern for continuity or sense (Yoda is blue in the ESB book, as in original designs, Obi-Wan and Owen Lars are brothers in RotJ, etc), so they’re really best forgotten, IMHO.

        • September 22, 2015 at 12:22 am
          Permalink

          As I said above, the most well-known ship in the entire SW galaxy is named after an Earth bird. I’m not sure what the big deal is.

          • September 22, 2015 at 12:44 am
            Permalink

            An excellent point, man.

  • September 19, 2015 at 6:24 am
    Permalink

    I rarely mind if a Rebel from the Battle of Endor shows up since, well, virtually the entire Rebel fleet was there. If you were a Rebel at the time, you are incredibly likely to be at the battle.

    • September 19, 2015 at 5:46 pm
      Permalink

      I agree with you, except that only one of the three characters had fought with the Rebels. Sinjir was an Imperial who just happened to be there at the shield bunker, and Jas was there (also at the shield bunker) to assassinate somebody. And Sinjir and Jas briefly bumped into one another there.

      That upped the “impossibly coincidental” cheese factor for me by a whopping good bit.

  • September 19, 2015 at 6:57 am
    Permalink

    I don’t want to come off as harsh, but the more I reflect on the book the less I liked it:( I’m not going to say it was terrible, definitely worth reading if your a big fan, but in my opinion it seemed more like a kids novel or like watching a few episodes of Rebels than an adult novel. The characters felt very one dimensional and the only two I was interested in were the ISB agent and the Imperial Admiral, neither of which are really used enough to really allow me to know how I feel about them. To that point, having just read your review, I already can’t remember their names…

    Like you mentioned, this seems like the story is way too small and bordering on rediculous. I hadn’t even really cared that all the main characters were at endor , I was too busy being irritated that a 15 year old orphan(kinda) decided he would take on a crime lord, but it’s ok because he just happens to be such a good mechanic and programmer that he could assemble a battle droid from spare parts that works many times better than the original droid ever had(not to mention the rediculous droids name and super soldier saving the day abilities), and at the end decided to join his mother in a new special force military team…. And every one is just cool with that! By the end of the book we end up with a very Rebels like crew(mom-Hera, kid-Ezra, ISB-Zeb, zebrak-Sabine, spec forces guy-assuming will be like Kanan, and bones-chopper) on a ship going to wage their small part of the war on their own.

    Also, it was like an Avengers movie in its lack of danger, after the second “just kidding the main character isn’t dead”(which is not far in) I really didn’t care any more, cause there were just no stakes.

    Ok, that being said, I’m not trying to trash it. I didn’t mind his writing style and there were some redeeming parts to the book. I just feel this is the novel that should have been labeled as YA, and Lost Stars the adult novel. After reading your review of it, I read it right away, and it was in my opinion much better than aftermath(which I read first). The thoughts and emotions of the characters are much better developed and the story actually has consequences.

    • September 19, 2015 at 5:53 pm
      Permalink

      Yeah, you raise some really good points.

      And I think that’s been a problem with Star Wars novels for awhile now. Darth Plagueis was the first new one I’d read for awhile, and though I wasn’t completely sold on all of the plot elements, it was a good novel that was written… well, like a novel. What I’ve read since then is all at a much lower reading level, and I’m having a hard time believing that this isn’t a deliberate decision on the part of Disney/LFL.

      And you’re right… I hadn’t even caught the fact that at the end the characters become a Firefly/Guardians/Rebels type ship’s crew. Oy… there’s a rehashed rehash I coulda done without. ;^)

    • September 21, 2015 at 4:07 pm
      Permalink

      Yeah, it felt like an episode of Rebels – which really didn’t bother me, but it did lack a level of maturity.

  • September 19, 2015 at 7:14 am
    Permalink

    “it’s a small world after all” Has ALWAYS been par for the course with the novels and alternative media for Star Wars, even through Clone Wars and to some extent in Rebels.

  • September 19, 2015 at 7:17 am
    Permalink

    lost me at ‘i liked it’

    • September 19, 2015 at 2:46 pm
      Permalink

      Same here. I’m sorry, but with all due respect to the original poster, how do you say “I liked it a lot” and then type “I was less impressed with the writing as a whole”. If the writing is bad, and you look at the other two major issues that DEKKA129 listed, how do you get to “liked it a lot”?

      • September 19, 2015 at 5:56 pm
        Permalink

        Because, it is possible to like a story a lot without the novel being absolutely perfect. The writing wasn’t as strong as I wish it had been, but I still liked the story that was being told.

        If you need it to be all or nothing (and I can certainly understand an relate to that) then I can’t see Aftermath doing much for you.

        • September 19, 2015 at 7:14 pm
          Permalink

          If the medium is, by definition, a written one…I can’t imagine enjoying a good story if the written expression is poor. Between his odd “herkily jerkily” descriptions and poor articulation of ideas, Wendig’s writing repeatedly took me out of the story to a point of saying: “What did I just read?…Realy?”

          • September 20, 2015 at 7:48 pm
            Permalink

            Again, if you can’t separate the writing style from the story being told (which, by the way, it is certainly possible to do) then you’re not going to like Aftermath.

            Personally, I think that a lot of the problems may very well stem from the fact that Wendig had to churn this thing out in a month and a half, apparently from a cold start. No story percolating in the back of his head for months until it was time to write it, just “Do the funny! Now!” That’s far from an ideal scenario for any novelist.

  • September 19, 2015 at 7:37 am
    Permalink

    I don’t have lofty expectation, in fact, if the story for Force Awakens is good at all, I’ll be amazed. So far it’s starting to look silly as duck soup.

    • September 20, 2015 at 11:17 pm
      Permalink

      Based on the abundance of information we have about it, clearly.

  • September 19, 2015 at 8:21 am
    Permalink

    Surprisingly, I enjoyed Lost Stars much more. MUCH more.

  • September 19, 2015 at 9:06 am
    Permalink

    Lost Stars is 10 times better than this one,I couldn’t finish Aftermath,I stopped reading it

  • September 19, 2015 at 9:56 am
    Permalink

    Nice write up… to me you’ve told me enough to avoid this book. Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea. Interestingly the other one you guys wrote up about the two pilots sounded good. May give that a go.

    • September 19, 2015 at 1:36 pm
      Permalink

      I’m listening to the audio now, and am about 1/3 through – I’m not offended, and am actually enjoying it. I do see the validity of the gripe over the ‘where’s Han, Leia, Luke & Chewie?’ bit for sure, though…

    • September 20, 2015 at 1:03 am
      Permalink

      Lost Stars.
      I’m halfway through it and it’s really good. I cannot put it down.
      While with Aftermath I couldn’t even finish the first 3 chapters.

  • September 19, 2015 at 10:58 am
    Permalink

    This novel is supposed to be a bridge story between ROTJ and TFA. More importantly, this story would replace the legend story which many fan has come to love. In that sense, a bit discouraged to read through.
    Disney didn’t select acerbic story teller or wouldn’t come up with canon story arc between Luke, Han, Leia.

    • September 19, 2015 at 6:03 pm
      Permalink

      See, I had a problem with the whole “Journey to The Force Awakens” thing too, as I read this. Because Aftermath doesn’t feel like that to me. Now, I realize it’s the first of a series of stories that bridge the OT and the ST, but a journey? Or even PART of a journey? At most, it gets us out the front door and maybe as far as the mailbox.

      Not that there’s not some cool stuff to check out in the front yard there, but still.

      • September 20, 2015 at 11:58 am
        Permalink

        Very much agree that part of the problem was with the marketing scheme of labeling all these books, with this one at the forefront, as the “Journey to The Force Awakens” when it is FAR from that, as are all of the Force Friday releases. That label, along with all the hype they gave this novel, made everyone expect a story on par with The Thrawn Trilogy, at least in scope, if not quality, and especially with this book essentially taking the place of Zahn’s masterpiece in the new canon as our introduction to a post-RotJ universe. But my gripes with the writing aside, this book was clearly never meant to be that at all. If they never planned on releasing ANY stories between now and Dec 18 that actually revolve around a post-RotJ Big 3, then they never should have invoked that idea in everyone’s head by calling any of this a “Journey to The Force Awakens”. I can only hope that after TFA comes out, we can get our grand, epic story following Luke, Han, and Leia in a time between Episodes 6 & 7, maybe even something akin to The Thrawn Trilogy… though I won’t hold my breath for that last point.

  • September 19, 2015 at 12:31 pm
    Permalink

    I guess it speaks to my age, being 45, but I really just wanted to know what happened after that ROTJ ending/happy/smiley dance and up to Ep VII, as it pertained to our “heroes” Is that too much to ask?

  • September 19, 2015 at 1:16 pm
    Permalink

    The problem with the “Journey to TFA” in general is simple: none of these authors are allowed to tell us exactly what happened to Luke, Leia, Han, etc post-Endor because it would massively spoil the plot of the new film. Where is Luke? Did he train anymore? Did Han and Leia marry and have kids? Lucasfilm doesn’t want us to know these answers… until Dec 18, after which there will likely be plenty of stories to fill the gap.

    (I’m not suggesting that novels have to focus on the Big Three in order to be good, I just think that having tied hands – with so many important details currently off-limits – is creatively restricting for any writer).

    • September 19, 2015 at 4:13 pm
      Permalink

      Well, let’s just be honest and say what these “Journey To” offerings are…namely a marketing exercise to drum up interest and shamelessly rake in some extra cash while doing it. It’s the whole idea that you’re buying something that may give you a hint of the new movie that makes them attractive to the fan at this moment in time. So really they can get away with shoveling any old s**t as long as it has draws like, for instance, “find out why 3PO has a red arm in TFA!” and so on.

      • September 19, 2015 at 6:08 pm
        Permalink

        Prince, this is exactly what I’m concerned about.

        Now, I will say this – we got so little in Aftermath that I’d consider to be even vaguely TFA-related, that if it was supposed to be a marketing exercise it was two deep knee bends and out.

        But I think you’re exactly right overall. Now that Star Wars has become product for a corporation like Disney, I think we’re going to see a lot more cheesy-ass “market-ey” elements to a lot of the books than what we saw prior to LFL was sold. Because now, there will always be a new Star Wars movie 6 months or a year away that Disney needs to market.

        I hope it doesn’t get too bad, but I’m concerned that it will.

        • September 19, 2015 at 7:17 pm
          Permalink

          Totally with you.

          • September 19, 2015 at 10:00 pm
            Permalink

            Amen.

  • September 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm
    Permalink

    Sorry…this book had no redeeming qualities. The story was yawn-inducing and I could not get past the horrendous writing. In the “aftermath” of the horrible amazon.com reviews that the books is receiving the author(Wendig) has gone on Twitter to name call any critic of his book(including Star Wars fans) and has even sent people there to try to give it faux 5 star reviews(even with the fake reviews, its at 2.6/5) right now. This was a book that I didn’t even care to finish and I regretted my purchase…by far the worst Star Wars novel ever made.

  • September 19, 2015 at 4:08 pm
    Permalink

    The problem is that they see familiar things with The Force Awakens, such as X-Wings, Tie Fighters, Han & Chewie and decided in advance that it’s going to be just as good as the first movies. I think that’s very naive. When I see the trailers and marketing I generally like the look of it, but a lot of it strikes me as very derivative of the unused work of McQuarrie and others from the past movies, EU and so on. I have a feeling that TFA will be SW that generally plays it safe to cater to the expectations of fans as to what SW should be. But that ignores precedent when you think of how different ESB was to ANH. I also think that Abrams isn’t nearly as good as people make out.

    So, personally, I am going in with a great deal more caution than I did for Phantom Menace and I’m hoping that I will be pleasantly surprised rather than let down because of that caution.

  • September 19, 2015 at 4:34 pm
    Permalink

    This book was terrible every way with the minor exception of the cover art. The only redeeming quality of this book is that it sufficiently prepared me for full blown disappointment in the future. That’s at least better than the “WTF?!?!?” shock I felt 30 minutes into that first showing of TPM. Chuck Wendig has all the talent of a 3rd grader (maybe less than some).

  • September 19, 2015 at 7:18 pm
    Permalink

    I haven’t read a Star Wars novel that was this disappointing since the Fate Of The Jedi series. The writing was terrible and instantly forgettable.

    • September 20, 2015 at 6:14 am
      Permalink

      Actually I think we will remember this one infamously for a long time

  • September 19, 2015 at 7:46 pm
    Permalink

    I have to whole heartily agree with you on this review. While the writing style for me was really hard to get through, I thoroughly enjoyed the new characters thst we got introduced to and from a storytelling point of view I thought it held up well for the main storyline. If there was anything I wasn’t crazy about, it was a few of the interludes we got, felt a little all over the place and took away from the main story for me (with the exception of the Sith lightsaber interlude). The next would be ALL the prequel references which were a TON. It felt it was either Disney or the Writers attempt to try and push the prequels and their importance on me. A sort of “hey, I know most didn’t like the prequels, but they still play a big role after Return of the Jedi”. I feel for the FIRST main story after ROTJ, it was a bad move. But besides that I liked the novel as well.

  • September 19, 2015 at 8:04 pm
    Permalink

    “Characters are linked together in the most eye-rollingly
    unbelievable ways, to the point where the galaxy far, far away often
    ends up feeling more like a small town. Placing most of Aftermath’s
    protagonists at the Battle of Endor, and then having them just happen to
    be drawn together by completely unrelated events on Akiva later on may
    not be “Darth Vader built See Threepio” bad”

    Although I see your
    point and I empathize with you, however there was always a larger
    picture involved,even in A New Hope, The Force. They are all connected
    through the force, through The Force they feel compelled to be in a
    certain place in a certain time because something is telling them to
    spiritually.

  • September 19, 2015 at 9:39 pm
    Permalink

    ” As it turns out, while it’s still not my idea choice, I was able to gently nudge aside the professional editor in me and enjoy the writing style for what it was.”

    I got a kick out of how you have a typo in the same sentence you talk about being a professional editor. 😀

    • September 20, 2015 at 7:45 am
      Permalink

      That made me laugh too.

    • September 20, 2015 at 7:36 pm
      Permalink

      I live to entertain. ;^)

      And of course, this comes back to editorial rule number one… an author should never edit/proofread his or her own work. Because… well, exhibit A right here.

      • September 22, 2015 at 1:46 am
        Permalink

        As both a writer and a copyeditor I heartily endrse ths.

  • September 19, 2015 at 10:59 pm
    Permalink

    When I first fished the book i was extremely disappointed. Even though I liked the characters it was just a big let down bc I thought this book was going to be epic. I was hoping the Luke Skywalker Han Solo and Princess Leia would have some scenes in the book. But after rethinking about the book a week after i read it I actually like mozt of it. I really like Mr. Bones, and the hos he kicked some ass. I am reading Lost Stars right now about 300 pgs in and for me it’s 10000 tomes better then Aftermath. I jave mever read a YA book but to me I dont care that it’s a YA book the only complaint I have of the book is I wish they wen into more detail about events and did not jump years in the time frame.

    • September 20, 2015 at 4:58 am
      Permalink

      The YA books are some of the best in the EU, I loved the Jedi Apprentice/Quest/Last Of The Jedi/Young Jedi/Junior Jedi Knight series.

      • September 20, 2015 at 7:30 pm
        Permalink

        Yea that cool i never read books as a kid. I only started to really like reading books when I was 17. And went straight to the Heir to the Empire and then to epic fantasy The Wheel of Time but Lost Star is good that i may look into more YA books

  • September 20, 2015 at 1:51 am
    Permalink

    The old saying don’t judge a book by its cover doesn’t apply here. The cover is crap and so is the story

  • September 20, 2015 at 6:03 am
    Permalink

    When do hardbacks become paperbacks?

  • September 20, 2015 at 7:17 am
    Permalink

    Testing 123

  • September 20, 2015 at 8:00 am
    Permalink

    I thought the book was terrible. My best description would be “decent story, badly written.” The story was okay, and most of the characters were tolerable, with 3 exceptions: Nora’s son (who’s name I forget and don’t care enough to look up) was an annoying brat. I couldn’t stand him. Mr. Bones didn’t come off as cool to me as he did to some others, and in fact was just as annoying as his maker. The 3rd exception is quite the opposite, however, as I really enjoyed Sanjir, who was the “breakout star” of the novel, IMO. He was an extremely interesting, complex, and entertaining character, who I look forward to reading more of. The actual story was okay too, but besides the actual Imperial summit itself, the rest was pretty forgettable. As I said before, it was a decent story, which would have been better and more enjoyable if written by another author. That brings me to the biggest problem with the novel: It is horribly written. Chuck Wendig is one of the worst authors to ever write for Star Wars (in my experience). His style is not only bad, but does not fit with the galaxy far, far away at all. I don’t mean the fact that it is present tense. That didn’t bother me. It’s his style of prose, his sentence structure, and his use of metaphor after metaphor. He also writes dialogue and makes references that do not sound like Star Wars, and took me completely out of the story. Considering the way they’ve hyped up this novel, I cannot ignore the disappointment factor either. They were straightforward about the fact it follows mostly new characters, but played the story up to be an epic introduction to the post-RotJ universe, which is most assuredly isn’t. Had they sold it as a small, isolated story, it wouldn’t have been so misleading and completely disappointing. I’ve enjoyed all the new canon novels so far, but the enormous failure of this one in my eyes is a giant red flag considering how important it is to the new canon as a whole. I’ve had faith in the Story Group until now, but that is starting to waiver slightly knowing they approved and celebrated this piece of crap novel.

    Well, that’s my own review of Aftermath. I didn’t intend to write something so long, but when I got going, I couldn’t stop. lol

    • September 20, 2015 at 8:10 am
      Permalink

      I agree with almost everything you say. Not the worst idea, but for the first big book they should have went with something less confined to random characters that weren’t very compelling. Sanjir was interesting. But I have to say, as much as I love Star Wars, and am willing to put up with a lower quality at times for the sake of the galaxy far far away…. I barely got through this book.

      • September 21, 2015 at 12:22 am
        Permalink

        That’s the thing…I have picked up the occasional Star Wars book over the past 25 years or so that was bad, but never a novel that was so heralded as such an importance piece of fiction for the SW universe. I am SHOCKED that Del Rey put this author(Wendig) in charge of such a marquee project, which got a lot of press rolling into its release. I didn’t expect their “big” pre-movie book to be so poorly written and imagined. It actually did the opposite of getting me excited for Episode 7…it lowered my enthusiasm. If this drivel is some sign of where the suits at Disney want to take us next in a “galaxy far, far away”, its going to be a “herkily jerkily”(Wendig decription) ride.

  • September 20, 2015 at 8:08 am
    Permalink

    this book is awful. the entire plot was contrived, i dont care about any of the characters, nothing has any consequence, it dosnt fell anything like starwars and worst of all it is the first book of what will be a terrible trilogy.

    the author pretends to kill the same character in the same way three times… and no chaper that ends in the phrase “he fell to his death” or ” she crashed her ship into the landing pad killing herself” actually means that becuase no characters die or even get scratched. chapters describe character death and tell you characters die and they pop up uninjured in the next chapter and the worst part is that the miraculous survival of the characters means nothing to either the plot the development of relationships or the enjoyment of the reader.

    the bounty hunter is lame (really she dosnt seem capable of anything a bounty hunter should find laughably easy), the mother is dull unkillable, unreasonable and uninteresting, the ex impirial is cool but he is stuck with the rest and the kid is annoying and ridiculous (how many 12 year old boys are expert pilots, who have been running a successful mob affiliated repair shops and somehow can program Ai to fight like a jedi) how does that make any sense at all, he has barely had time to learn math… wait…. he never went to school so he is a 12 year old who dosnt know math…. how can he program droids if he dosnt know math??? WORST STORY TELLING EVER! lets give him laser vision and a cape too while we are at it.

    the whole plot centers around imperial officers meeting in secret on a planet they sorta control but not really….. if the officers decided to actually meet in secret literally anywhere in the endless black emptiness of space instead of on a planet there would be literally no plot. hell there is no story anyway. a twerp, a terrible bounty hunter an ex impirial and an unkillable women dick around and argue, then they descend into the mines of moria to fight goblins (this actually happens dammit) then they are caught then the boy is thrown to his death from the top of a building and… is caught by people on the ground? THAT ISNT HOW PHYSICS AND DEATH WORK what is this boy gandalf now?. then the boy climbs back up the wall (the whole plot centers around the main characters getting into the impirial palace… guess they could have just climbed the wall the whole time i guesss…) then the boy climbs onto the hull of a ship headed into space… and the people in the ship open the doors to find out whats happening instead of i donno flying into space and letting the kid suffocate or burn up… then there is an absurd space fight and the goodguys win…. nothing happens, nothing is explained, the characters are insufferable and the only good parts of the book have nothing to do with the plot or the lame story the author tells. what is there to like?? GO READ LOST STARS BECUASE THAT IS A TRUE STAR WARS BOOK!

  • September 20, 2015 at 3:03 pm
    Permalink

    It’s not that bad, but far from great. The story was fine, I liked seeing how the empire has fragmented, and the new republic stumble into power. I suspect their reign will be tenuous, at best, and it appears that crime lords and pirates will be the new rulers of the galaxy. This could pave the way for the stability that a new, re-engineered Empire could bring. Along with the Acolytes of the Beyond (Knights of Ren?), they will give birth to the First Order. Those who will bring peace and order back to this unruly scourge that the Republic will fail to contain.
    But the writing, it was like reading a second draft, and not at all like a finished product. I don’t mind books written in the present tense, but this was clearly rushed. Disney should be careful about rushing deadlines. I would much rather wait a little longer to get something that is quality, then get something that wasn’t ready with the quality that the fans deserve. (After all, we are your source of revenue.) I think that Chuck could do better without the cracking of a whip, so. Luke didn’t listen to Yoda, and went to Bespin and lost his hand.

  • September 20, 2015 at 5:36 pm
    Permalink

    With the theory of Kylo Ren collecting Sith Artifacts, does it not bare some similarities with Temmin and his hidden room full of stuff. And being abandoned by his mother would create animosity towards the rebellion and the light. Or am I just looking on the Dark side of things?

    • September 20, 2015 at 6:24 pm
      Permalink

      if temmin is kylo Ren then the force awakens will have the most pathetic annoying lazy whiney villain ever. hype has officaly dropped a level.

  • September 20, 2015 at 6:29 pm
    Permalink

    This must be the only positive review I have seen of this book. I am reading it myself and it is absolute crap. It left me even more confused about what was going on after the Battle of Endor. On one hand were being told about all these casualties and battles but on the other we have the New Republic under hippie flower child Mon Mothma deciding to cut 90% of the fleet. Because… democracy I guess.

    • September 21, 2015 at 12:16 am
      Permalink

      It is crap…which is why I was shocked to see a positive review on this site that has otherwise been a great source of SW news since I discovered it. I hope anyone who is considering buying the book reads the plethora of 1 star reviews on Amazon,com(41% 1 star, I kid you not!) to get a more complete view of the book.

  • September 20, 2015 at 9:37 pm
    Permalink

    “There’s kind of this weaponized nostalgia for things,” he says, “where we assume everything was better back then, and nothing can be new, and everything has to be a certain way. And sometimes that purity that you think you want is occasionally related to more toxic ideas.”

    http://www.wired.com/2015/09/geeks-guide-star-wars-canon/

    • September 21, 2015 at 12:12 am
      Permalink

      That quote by Wendig explains why his book fails. He goes on in the article to defend inserting political and social agendas into science fiction. What do we get from this approach? The mess that is Aftermath. It lacks direction, story and a Star Wars atmosphere while choosing to move an agenda to the forefront. Aside from the fact that it is poorly written and boring, these political messages are not smoothly integrated but take you out of the action. I love his “toxic ideas” reference in the quote above….say what you really mean, Chuck, “conservative” or “traditional”. He thinks himself very clever but he comes off as a hack.

      • September 24, 2015 at 5:55 am
        Permalink

        You can hardly claim that aftermath has a political agenda. There are gay characters. Ok fine so what that is t an agenda those are characters. Besides that science fiction is by nature an exploration of political and social controversy.

        Believe it or not the original starwars was envisioned as a Vietnam war in space… And reorganize saw starwars as part or a trilogy of films American graffiti (the America before Vietnam) apocalypse now (Vietnam) and starwars ( a possible future conflict in a ruined Galaxy that mirrors Vietnam) George didn’t end up directing apocolyps now but he was meant to and he did quite a bit of the early script and leg work. Now you suddenly realize that the e-walks are future representations of the technologically reduced Vietcong vs the advanced American military…

        The problem with aftermath is that the story was bad, most characters were dull, the atmosphere was in of a poor b-movie from the 70s the conflicts were contrived, it failed to establish anything new to the universe, the story has a poor structure, there is no tension and in general this is a poor book and a terrible starwars book.

        Gimme social and political commentary but do so in a way that deepens and energizes the story. And when you write a starwars book make it feel like starwars….. That is all

  • September 21, 2015 at 3:58 pm
    Permalink

    I finished this last night. After some initial disdain for the writing style in the beginning, I ended liking this book quite a bit in the end. The lamest part in the book is when a certain character gets an anti-aircraft weapon to work by banging it a few times after failed attempts at fixing it. I don’t like Deus Ex Machina -plot deviced in principle.

    I found the characters likable and would like to see them in more adventures. I want to see Norra’s crew hunt down Admiral Sloane, unless she’s a major antagonist in the Force Awakens. I really don’t know what the actual gripe with the book is. It’s really not as bad as people make it out to be.

  • September 21, 2015 at 4:05 pm
    Permalink

    I liked the book, but I am finding “Lost Stars” to be more enjoyable. Sinjir came acrtoss in a very “Jack Sparrow” manner to me, and I actually quite liked his character. I did like that Luke, Han, Leia, and the rest of the main heroes were only tertiary characters at best in this; I felt that the old EU found them in too many situations that just watered down any of the adventures. Wendig’s style isn’t my cup of tea, but it didn’t kill the book for me. At the end of the day, I still liked “Aftermath” much more than most of the old EU offerings, especially anything written after the NJO mess. Plus, it was far more interesting from a social, political, and adventure standpoint than the lackluster “Truce at Bakura.” Of course, that’s just my two cents…

  • September 21, 2015 at 6:48 pm
    Permalink

    Reviews are either bad or tell us that people are wrong for not lowering their expectations and working hard to get used to how it is written. It’s a big commitment of time and I just want a fun Star Wars book. Glad I skipped this at the library for “Lost Stars” which is a fun read.

  • September 21, 2015 at 8:27 pm
    Permalink

    liked the book, didn’t love it. But I thought it was better than the other new cannon novels. I really hope future novels get better, makes me worry about the future of Star Wars

  • September 22, 2015 at 12:52 am
    Permalink

    I don’t get the love for Mister Bones. He’s just a less-funny version of HK-47.

  • September 22, 2015 at 1:02 am
    Permalink

    I stick to the films only otherwise everything gets watered down and you’re bound for disappointment. A bit of imagination beyond the films is a good thing.

  • September 22, 2015 at 1:44 am
    Permalink

    Putting aside issues of taste and writing style, etc., I have to admit I’m surprised that people are surprised that the “Journey to the Force Awakens” initiative is not revealing everything that happened between Episodes VI and VII all at once. If you are an EU fan (or even just aware of it,) you would understand that it took over 20 years to cover 30+ years in the history of the New Republic, and there were still plenty of gaps left over that could be exploited. It seems odd that anyone would think Disney and the LFL story group would just consent to blow their entire wad within one year. LFL is obviously going to be constrained from telling stories post-Episode VII for several years at least as the trilogy continues being made. Constraining themselves from having room to tell stories in between VI and VII would be insane.

    • September 22, 2015 at 5:24 pm
      Permalink

      I agree that it’s silly to expect that one book would cover the events between ROTJ and TFA in their entirety. I think that what the objection tends to be is that there was so little exposition in Aftermath in terms of the “big picture” events post-ROTJ.

      Personally, I didn’t expect there to be much of that. As you point out, 30 years is a helluva long time, and a whole lot can happen in three decades.

      Which is why I find the whole “Journey to The Force Awakens” marketing gimmick to be rather absurd in the first place. After all, it’s not as though there was ever going to be enough time between Force Friday and December 18th to put out enough books to even begin to cover that interim period between the trilogies. So what we’ll likely end up getting will be a handful of books that don’t really amount to a journey to much of anything other than the resolution of their own plots.

      And that’s just fine. Unless somebody has a compelling story to tell that sets up the events of TFA, then they shouldn’t try to shoehorn TFA-related exposition into the books in the first place. Just write good stories and have done with it, I say.

      But then, they really shouldn’t pretend that there’s some big elaborate set-up for TFA in progress here either. Because there isn’t. Not so far, anyway.

  • September 22, 2015 at 6:59 pm
    Permalink

    I finished the book, so I could finally read this review without spoiling anything or coloring my opinion. I’m so glad this review pointed out the same annoyances I had with the book: its writing style. The writing style in Aftermath is the one thing that makes me generally dislike Star Wars books. Cheesy, unchallenging, and filled with really terrible character moments that amount to nothing. The heros are boring and lucky, and the villains are boring and unlucky.

    One the other hand, I will gladly read ANY Star Wars book written by James Luceno. It is a crime that his Darth Plagueis book is not canon.

Comments are closed.

LATEST POSTS ON MOVIE NEWS NET

Star Wars News Net