By Chuck Wendig
Of all of the new canon Star Wars novels, Aftermath has easily been the most anticipated – you can’t even find a copy in stores. People are dying to catch a glimpse of this post-Battle of Endor world that The Force Awakens takes place in. Thankfully, Wendig (mostly) delivers the goods.
Aftermath takes place a few months after the destruction of the second Death Star. With the Rebel victory and Palpatine gone, this leaves the galaxy in an uncomfortable place. Your main bad guy is gone, but there are still remnants of the Empire. There are also plenty of people willing to take up the reigns. Wendig uses familiar characters as a way to ease everyone into the story and introduce some newer ones. That allows us to get more comfortable in our surroundings. It may be a lame writing technique, but it’s still effective.
Wendig has a certain style that not everyone will appreciate. The story is told in a short, punchy third-person point of view that carries a sense of urgency that can make the reader panic. This is actually a good thing because it showcases how much this book will suck you in. However, some may find this style to be more jarring and annoying than energetic and enjoyable.
If the diction doesn’t hold you back, there is a lot to cover and Wendig does it very well. Not only do we see the politics of the gods among men, we also see how the everyday people deal with the events after Endor. The tales of the common folk are quite pleasing and are used to break up the intensity. It also gives readers a look at the bigger picture. This is where Wendig’s abilities shine brightest.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for some juicy Force Awakens bits, you will be sorely disappointed. Wendig did his best, but it has become obvious Disney doesn’t want you to know too much yet. If this book had a later release, perhaps Wendig would have more material to work with. Instead, we receive a well-written book that just kind of dips its toes into the age of Force Awakens.
Honestly, for an author trying to weave a story in one of the biggest franchises with one of his hands tied behind his back, this book is really great. The new canon novels have been very solid, yet Aftermath is the most interesting. If Wendig’s work is anything to go by, The Force Awakens could be full of wonderful characters and stories to tell.