Well, Force Friday hit me pretty hard…
So much so I’ve fallen behind in trying to review the overwhelming amount of new novels, comics, games, and stuff in a timely manner.
So instead of jumping on the Aftermath (…aftermath…) review train this late in the game, I think I’ll just share some thoughts and impressions instead.
And for all those who think my positive reviews are the result of me begging for freebies, I bought this book and my generally positive outlook is more a result of me being an actual Star Wars fan.
1. WENDIG GOTS WRITING STYLES YO.
A major complaint I’ve seen from the fans (some of which I’m not sure deserve that title) is the present tense third-person writing style thingie… People are upset with his sentence structure or incomplete sentences or whatever. In my opinion (or IMO for all you Internet-savvy folk) the style delivers a sense of urgency and tension that I’ve not seen before with Star Wars offerings. While I don’t particularly pick apart grammar or structure (What do I look like, a writer?), I found the style drawing me into the story with a very cinematic feel, as in it feels more like a script than a novel. I loved it. It worked for me. If you read it in voices in your head like I do it makes for an excellent experience!
2. MAIN (INTERLUDE) STORY
The book has a main story that is periodically interrupted throughout with Interludes that give us brief windows into the galaxy’s goings-on at this turbulent time. I also enjoyed this format. I enjoyed the main story on Akiva and I enjoyed seeing what’s going on elsewhere in the galaxy. This to me was an ingenious way to tell both a personal story about the effect of the war on a small group of characters and to show us the various effects upon the entire galaxy the events of Return of the Jedi caused. I don’t know if this was the result of Wendig’s ideas of how to fit in the story or a mandate from the Lucasfilm Story Group, but this format is very smart. This creates a moving narrative telling us so much that otherwise might have been regulated to cursory expository dialogue or some brief news report. The format not only works, but both the main story and the interludes are strong enough that if you wanted to read them individually they would stand solidly on their own. That itself gives this book a unique way to be enjoyed.
3. MAIN CHARACTERS WE JUST MET
So where’s Luke? Leia? Han? Definitely not here… well, Han Solo shows up briefly. Instead, we are introduced to new characters Norra, Temmin, Jas, Sinjir, and everyone’s favorite B1 Mister Bones. Oh, you don’t care about them? Oh yeah. That’s because you probably haven’t read this book yet. If you want more of the Original Trilogy characters story may I suggest reading The Weapon of a Jedi, Moving Target, and Smuggler’s Run (not to mention the deep library of non-Journey to the Force Awakens comic and novels starring these characters). It seems many people open this book looking to see those characters not bothering to read any of the book breakdowns on websites, Amazon, or even the dust jacket of the book in your hands. I for one loved the new cast and am always eager to meet new characters in this galaxy. Norra and Temmin have a dysfunctional relationship that is fascinating to watch as they struggle to relate to each other. Sinjir is one of the funnest and entertaining characters I’ve met in a while. Somewhere between A New Dawn Kanan and Hondo Ohnaka, this ex-Imperial shines here. Mister Bones is another homicidal droid that is hilarious the whole book through. I haven’t even mentioned Admiral Rae Sloane. From her introduction in A New Dawn, she has grown into a wonderful and powerful enemy akin to the Legends of Admiral Pellaeon…
Which brings me to my next point…
4. THIS IS NOT HEIR TO THE EMPIRE
Everyone out there who wants to see the Great Grand Admiral Thrawn and his cloned Jedi Joruus C’Baoth blockade Coruscant or Mara Jade and Talon Karrde hunt for ysalamiri is setting themselves up for disappointment. I followed the Legends novels, comics, and games since its inception. There are stories I love (X-Wing novels and comics, Darth Bane Trilogy, Legacy of the Force series, Legacy comics, and many more) and stories I didn’t really love as much (Golden Age of the Sith, Vader’s Quest, The Crystal Star, Darksaber, and a couple more…) I’m certain as the new canon unfolds there will be much more of the same. Varying stories that strike a chord with me and stories that don’t quite resonate as much. However what the story group has shown me with everything we’ve seen since its inception is unity, a kind of unified vision that we’ve never really had before under the old Legends stories. It’s like the difference between a missile and a shotgun–a guided path that is clearly driven from one point to another versus a million pellets all pointed in a direction but a lot of them miss the mark. A path where I’ll never have to ask why one-minute Coruscant was under the New Republic control only to be a war-torn battlefield one year later and then a center of New Republic functioning government once again one year after that. For that I’m grateful, and as someone who has always looked forward to more Star Wars stories, this is a great time. The best part is, I never have to worry about my stories being contradicted or overwritten as I always did before.
5. INTERLUDES ARE BITE-SIZED BUT POWERFUL
The interludes in this book show everything from Mon Mothma forming a New Republic senate to Acolytes of the Beyond searching for Darth Vader’s lightsaber. For those interested in seeing galaxy-wide ramifications read these. These brief moments are filled with wonderful plot threads, interesting (or in some cases familiar) characters, and important information. From Coruscant to Saleucami. From Chandrilla to Kashyyyk. From Tatooine to Sevarcos. There’s something interesting here for anyone and everyone. Some of my personal favorite moments were:
- Dengar gets punched
- Hyperspace and the plan to liberate Kashyyyk
- Tatooine’s self-appointed new lawman’s armor
- The Anklebiter Brigade
- The reality of war on Naalol
- Underground deals on Taris
- A man has a drink on Jakku
Our rebellion is over. But the war . . . the war is just beginning.
I suggest you go out there and pick this book up before you make any assumptions or judgments. Instead of comparing this book to the one you imagined try enjoying it for what it is. Aftermath gives us a great look into the galaxy and where it’s headed and introduces us to some new characters that I can’t wait to see in the rest of the trilogy.I recommend you read it for yourself.