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Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire’s End Book Review

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The “Star Wars: Aftermath” trilogy goes out with a whimper with “Empire’s End.”

In “Empire’s End,” all roads lead to Jakku (more specifically the Battle of Jakku). Gallius Rex is planning something big with “his” Empire at Jakku, Grand Admiral Sloane and Brentin (Norra’s husband/Temmin’s dad) are venturing to Jakku to kill Rex, Norra Wexley, Mister Bones and Jas are trying to track down Sloane on Jakku, the bounty hunter Mercurial Swift is after Jas who has a bounty on her head, and Chancellor Mon Mothma and the New Republic have learned of the Imperial presence on Jakku and are plotting one potential last battle with the Empire. Other key subplots involve crime syndicates, political corruption, Temmin trying to rescue his mom, Niima The Hutt and her minions, and a crucial senate vote.

After a largely underwhelming first book and a mediocre second installment, does author Chuck Wendig redeem himself with the third and final book in the Aftermath trilogy? The answer is no.

After “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” showed the remnants of the Battle of Jakku everyone’s imagination went wild picturing what exactly happened. With “Empire’s End,” the canonical events of this battle have now been told and they couldn’t be more disappointing. Much like the liberation of Kashyyyk, it seems a major waste to have the Battle of Jakku designated to a novel as there is so much cinematic potential (although it could be told from a different POV I suppose). Sure, there are some exciting battle moments and life on Jakku is explored in more depth, but the main story built around this battle is entirely uninvolving due to the bland central characters. After three books, I still do not care about any of the new main characters (Norra, Sinjir, Jas, Temmin, Mister Bones, Mercurial Swift, Jom and Conder). Only the use of established characters like Han, Wedge, Leia (who is pregnant at this point), Mon Mothma, familiar bounty hunters, a young Hux, and Sloane keeps the reader engaged as those are characters people want more of.

Another problematic aspect of “Empire’s End” is the pacing and general storytelling. To say this book drags is an understatement. Wendig spends so much time on tangents, details, fruit based conversations (don’t ask), hyping the Empire’s Jakku plan (which is unsurprisingly anti-climactic), obnoxious character actions (see anything Norra does), and characters constantly talking about what they are going to do that it’s frankly maddening. On top of that, there’s so little humor or emotional impact that it feels like a chore to get through.

As with the first two books, one of the few highlights of “Empire’s End” are the interludes. There’s a lot to chew on here as we learn about Chewbacca’s family, Jar Jar Binks, the Tatooine power struggle, the Church of the Force and kyber crystals, Mas Amedda, Sith Acolytes, Lando and Cloud City and pirates. To me, Wendig would have been much better off doing a series of anthology books comprised of short stories. His writing style is far better suited to this.

Overall Thoughts: I hate to say it, but the Aftermath trilogy is simply not worth reading. If you are looking to dive into some new Star Wars novels, seek out “Catalyst: A Rogue One Story,” “Dark Disciple,” and “Lost Stars” instead.

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March 1, 2017 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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