- Colleen McMillan
Colleen’s Book Corner: Aftermath
Author: Chuck Wendig
Published September 2015
Set directly after Return of the Jedi 5 ABY
There Was a New Author is Town for SW
This was such a departure from Zahn’s Thrawn series. I enjoyed the heck out of it, but I kept wondering what Thrawn was up to... Anyway, let’s get this review on the road! Aftermath was the flagship title in the “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” publishing initiative, hoping to get fans excited for the sequel film trilogy. It definitely read as more “Star Wars” to me than Zahn’s work (which I found more cerebral and strategic) and it was a zippy read. Since I’m reading the trilogy, I’ll focus this review on the main plot points by covering the dramatis personae, introducing you to all the new characters.
Who’s on That Cast List?
The narrative pulled me in right away with my favorite tertiary character: Wedge fricken Antilles! He’s a side character in this book, but I look forward to spending more time with him. His mission gone awry kicks off the main plot: a secret meeting among the last Imperial power players on a remote Outer Rim planet. Those trying to rescue him are the main cast, and one of them might sound familiar to sequel film fans.
Norra Wexley: She’s a Rebel pilot who flew into the second Death Star to pull TIE fighter attention away from the Millennium Falcon in RotJ. Norra exhibits several PTSD moments in the novel, recalling her experience from the Battle of Endor. Her chief goal in the novel is to find her son, Temmin, on their home planet of Akiva. (Guess where that secret Imperial meeting is…)
Temmin Wexley: A young teen, soon-to-be “Snap” is an ace mechanic and savvy business owner on Akiva who has long given up that his mother would return from the Rebellion or that he will ever see his father again. He’s definitely got sass and a ton of courage, but he’s also a typical moody teen, though he has good reason to be angsty.
Sinjir Rath Velus: FAVORITE CHARACTER ALERT! I love Sinjir so much. He’s a great addition to the SW pantheon of sarcastic jerks with secret hearts of almost gold. An ex-Imperial loyalty officer who fled after the disastrous Battle of Endor, Sinjir found his way to Akiva and disappeared into a bottle of booze. He’s great at reading people and is always ready with an irascible come-back.
Jas Emari: CO-FAVORITE CHARACTER ALERT! I wanted a lot more viewpoint sections from Jas, so I’m crossing my fingers that she’ll be more present in the next two books. Jas is an Iridonian Zabrak bounty hunter (not to be confused with Dathomirian Night Sisters) who’s on Akiva for a job. Relentless, taciturn, not a big talker, Jas delivers some of the funniest moments in the novel. One moment with her and Sinjir had me crying with laughter.
Mr. Bones: Add another great droid to your list of favs! Mr. Bones is Temmin’s prize creation, an unhinged B1 battle droid with a violent streak and penchant for humming. I don’t want to give too much away on this priceless treasure!
Jom Barrell: Rounding out the Antilles rescue squad, Jom enters the novel later as a New Republic Special Forces soldier. We don’t get much on him, but he’s a highly capable soldier who comes across as a terrifying foe. Determined and tough, I know we’ll see more of him in the next novels.
Admiral Rae Sloane: One of my fav SW villains, Rae Sloane is a woman of color in a predominantly male Imperial Navy. She’s smart, resilient, and can throw down with the best. She orchestrates the meeting on Akiva but has many concerns about the Empire’s survival. Readers of the Kanan comics and New Dawn will recognize her!
A Fav Trope Returns
That’s right all, this is a “getting the ragged, wildly dissimilar team together” story! I’m a sucker for this kind of thing (see Rebels obsession). A reluctant family in space? Sign me the hell up. While I favor the Thrawn novels, the Aftermath series is shaping up to be a fun, interesting ride. I can’t wait to dig into the next installment!
One more cool thing: interspersed with the main storyline were interludes focusing on how the rest of the galaxy is handling the Empire’s fall. Newsflash: NOT WELL. I really enjoyed these framing sections, which featured new faces and some familiar ones as well. The Coruscant arc in particular has me intrigued…
Grade: 8/10 Lightsabers