Friday, May 6, 2016

James Review -- Star Wars: Aftermath

This week I decided to review Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig. 

After a short prologue showing a riot on Coruscant following the news of Palpatine’s death, the story jumps forward to a few months after the Battle of Endor. Wedge Antilles is scouting a number of systems in the Outer Rim which are considered likely Imperial rallying points, and when visiting the Akiva system, he discovers a gathering of Imperial warships but is captured before he can warn the New Republic. 

The Imperial gathering includes a number of high-ranking officals and officers who are seeking to work out a plan for the continuation of the Empire in the face of the current crisis. Former rebel pilot Norra Wexley returns to her homeworld of Akiva on board a smuggling craft, only to find an Imperial blockade awaiting her. 

After reaching the planet, Norra sets out to find her son Temmin and flee the planet. But Temmin, furious with his mother for leaving him when she left to join the rebellion soon after the Empire arrested his father, refuses to leave despite having salvaged a crate containing something of very high value belong to the local Imperial allied crime lord Surat Nuat. 

Meanwhile, bounty hunter Jas Emari has come to the planet seeking one of the members of the New Republic’s most wanted list, but when she sees several members of the list coming for the summit to determine the Empire’s next move, she is forced to flee only, to be captured by Surat, who has also captured Temmin.

Former Imperial loyalty officer Sinjir Rath Velus, who deserted after Endor, who came to Akiva because while it paid tribute to the Empire and served as a shore leave port, it was never occupied by Imperial forces, finds himself surrounded by those forces he is seeking to avoid and attempts to convince Surat to help him escape, only to find himself imprisoned with Jas. 

The duo escape and move to free Temmin so he can repair Jas’ favored weapon, only to find themselves trapped and rescued by Norra and Mr. Bones, an old Separatist battle droid extensively modified and reprogrammed by Temmin. 

The group flees to Norra’s sister’s home and begins planning to capture the Imperial leaders, free Wedge, and warn the New Republic of what is happening. But their plan runs into a host of enemy forces and obstacles. And Wedge manages to escape long enough to send the Republic a distress call before being recaptured, but the Republic fleet doesn’t know how strong the Imperial force in the system really is… The book also includes a number of interludes showing battles, and the aftermath of the Empire’s fall on many worlds, and one setting up the upcoming second Aftermath novel.

I give the book 7 out of 10. There wasn’t anything particularly horrible about it, but it had a number of flaws. I feel the final battle should have gotten far more detail then it received. Also, I feel that one of the interlude scenes has nothing to do with the war and I seriously doubt that scene will tie into a later plot, though I might be surprised. And there are a few events I consider a little too convenient to be believable.

Finally, in many of the online discussions I have read concerning this book, people were complaining about the number of homosexual characters in it and I think these complaints are utterly blowing things out of proportion. I only found three confirmed homosexuals in the book, two married minor characters, and one major character, plus a couple of possible. And their sexuality is never made a big issue in the story unless you count a homosexual character rejecting the advances of a member of the other gender then explaining why they aren’t interested when asked about it. The Star Wars galaxy has a vastly larger population then Earth and there is no logical reason to believe homosexuality doesn’t exist there, so I find people complaining because a handful of homosexuals appear in a Star War novel to be ludicrous.

[Scott's note: my computer is acting up so I wasn't able to get the cover image]

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