Setting the tone for life after The Battle of Endor, ‘Star Wars: Aftermath’ is the first official novel in the new canon.
Note: I’ll try to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible.
A month ago, I read ‘Star Wars: Aftermath’ written by Chuck Wendig. It was an interesting read and has already had many reviews about it. Since I largely agree with most of them, I felt I have little to add.
However, I have yet to see anyone else address my one particular criticism of the book and I feel others have been overly harsh on ‘Aftermath.’ So, here are my $0.02 on the subject.
I’d like to start off with what I liked about ‘Aftermath.’
As the first official book post-’Return of the Jedi,’ ‘Aftermath’ has the tall task of showing fans what state the galaxy is in now that the Empire no longer has its leader or head goon.
This is something I feel ‘Aftermath’ does well. Throughout the book there are 15 Interludes, each showing a scene on a different planet and involving different characters, which illustrate the current political and social climate.
As some have already said, these are the most interesting aspects of the book. I’m a ‘big picture’ guy and this is what I most wanted to learn from reading this book. After reading ‘Aftermath,’ I now know what to expect going into ‘The Force Awakens.’
For this alone, I am not disappointed I read ‘Aftermath.’ Those saying it was too much of a tease or that it didn’t offer enough need to remember this is just one of many stories on the ‘Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ This book is about the people living in the wider galaxy and how they are dealing with recent events, not what the beloved main characters are up to.
Now for what I consider to be the biggest letdown in ‘Aftermath.’
I share the same opinion as some others that the main characters are simply…meh. I wouldn’t have shed a tear had any of them died. However, I will defend Wendig and say I would also not be upset if they were built upon further in future works.
No, for me the main issue with the main characters surrounds a very sensitive issue. So much so, that I’m still hesitant to make this comment for fear that someone will misinterpret my criticism.
Wendig includes several homosexual characters throughout his story. In fact, one of the central characters is gay. I applaud this, and enjoy the fact that nobody in the Star Wars universe has any issue with anyone else’s sexual orientation.
Rather, my complaint lies with how this information was revealed in most cases. The first time a character’s sexual preference came up, it was done tastefully and it fit seamlessly into the storyline. However, after that offering this knowledge felt less tactful, abrupt and ultimately, unnecessary.
For example, during one of the interludes, it was revealed one of the tertiary characters had two fathers. But, this added little to the current scene and was unrequested information.
The same was true when the main character revealed he was gay. Two thirds of the way through the book, during a high adrenaline scene, this discovery was made in a very jarring fashion. In my opinion, this moment diminished the pace of action that was occurring. This fact about this character should have been revealed at a different time. Also, since the only aspect of love in ‘Aftermath’ was between a mother and son, it did not need to be known at this time and could have been given in subsequent books.
At the end of the day, I think having homosexual characters in a Star Wars novel is a good thing, but I would have like to see more care and consideration taken with revealing this information to the reader.
This criticism aside, ‘Star Wars: Aftermath’ told me everything I wanted to know and offers depth to the rebuilding Star Wars lore. If you are looking for a story about your favourite lightsaber-wielding hero and his twin sister, then you will have to look elsewhere. But, if you are like me and are willing to wait for the movie to tell me what they have been up to, and want to feel the pulse of the average Joe living in the galaxy, ‘Star Wars: Aftermath’ is a good, albeit unexciting, read.
Tell us in the comments what you thought about ‘Star Wars: Aftermath.” Did it increase your excitement for the next movie coming out?