This week we’re jumping back into everyone’s favorite galaxy far, far away to continue our RandomChatter Star Wars Round Tables. This week Derek, Keri, and Jared are discussing Star Wars Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig. Read on for a discussion of our expectations, impressions and favorite quotes!
- What did you think of the first Aftermath novel? How did the rest of the trilogy compare against it?
JARED: I enjoyed the first Aftermath novel. I think the biggest thing against it was, it just wasn’t what everyone was expecting so it has taken some time to get used to reading novels set in this new universe. Compared to the other two books though it was my least favorite of the series. Life Debt and Empire’s End did much better for me.
KERI: I liked the first Aftermath novel, once I got used to the unusual writing style. The second book, however, is much better. In fact, I would say that Life Debt is my favorite in the trilogy. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t like Empire’s End, but I liked Life Debt best of the three.
DEREK: Aftermath wasn’t a terrible book, but I didn’t enjoy it very much. I didn’t care for the author’s writing style or the large cast of new characters that were difficult to keep track of. But the cardinal sin of the book, and the series at large for me, was that it stars a bunch of new characters and not the movie characters. This was advertised to be the official continuation of Return of the Jedi. To me, that means finding out what Luke, Leia, Han, and all the rest do immediately after ROTJ. And we didn’t get that. I’m sure that wasn’t the author’s decision, but this just wasn’t the story I was looking for. The next two books were MUCH better and became more important. We got Han and Leia in starring roles, though sadly no Luke. Now that all the original characters were in a group together they were much easier to keep track of. And the plot became more relevant to the larger franchise.
- What were your expectations for this novel?
JARED: Seeing the end of the Empire. In all seriousness though, I definitely expected to see quite a bit of the Battle of Jakku and get a better understand of Admiral Rax. While, we did get a bit more of a story on Rax, I still had a hard time getting behind his character. I’m not sure if it’s how he was written or just because it’s the first new “big bad” in the novels. To me he was mostly a forgettable character.
KERI: I’ve been managing to keep low expectations on Star Wars novels so far. I expected that there would be some sort of resolution to the story. I expected to see more of the Battle of Jakku than we saw in Lost Stars. That was pretty much it.
DEREK: Life Debt ended with a great cliffhanger promising the Battle of Jakku and the mystery of Admiral Rax and whatever was buried beneath the planet. I was really excited to see all these things, more than anything to happen in this trilogy. I was expecting something as good as Life Debit but with a big battle at the end.
- Did the book live up to your expectations?
JARED: Overall it did. I quite enjoyed it and it definitely threw a few surprises in about the end of the Empire. The way it ended definitely left it open and I can’t wait to see where more new stories take it.
KERI: Empire’s End wasn’t great, but it was better than I expected. I loved all the references to Knights of the Old Republic. I also liked that we got something of a resolution to the (now defunct) Star Wars Uprising game. What I wasn’t expecting was the Emperor’s final solution. Though having read the Shattered Empire comic, I should have.
DEREK: For the most part, yes. I would say this was the best book of the trilogy. The Battle of Jakku, for the most part, was interesting and well done. The mystery of Rax’s true purpose was a good surprise I didn’t see coming.
- What was your favorite scene from the book?
JARED: It involved Mr. Bones cosplaying as an AT-ST driver. I need an action figure of this!
KERI: Because I seem to love homicidal droids in Star Wars… I loved any scene where Mr. Bones got to do what he did best. I’m sure that says something about my mental state. I also loved it when Mon Mothma got to be a bit ruthless. That was a rare treat. And the interlude on Kashyyyk. That made me tear up a bit.
DEREK: An important flashback scene between Rax and the Emperor. The ending battle was very good (with a few notable exceptions) and the framing and pacing reminded me a lot of the Battle of Scarif in Rogue One.
- Do you think you will ever reread this book? Where would you rank it in terms of the new canon novels we’ve got so far?
JARED: Maybe. I don’t have a lot of free time to re-read books. But I would definitely like to go back and read all three in a row.
KERI: This book ranks somewhere around the middle of the new cannon for me. Possibly higher, if I look at the trilogy as a whole. I will probably reread it after the sequel trilogy is finished and we have more dots to connect.
DEREK: Oh, I eventually re-read ALL Star Wars books! But not anytime soon. I re-read the first two Aftermath books as a refresher for the new book coming out. I would rank this as #5 after Dark Disciple, Bloodline, Lords of the Sith, and Lost Stars. Speaking of Lost Stars, I’m dying to go back and re-read their portrayal of the Battle of Jakku and see how it fits into Empire’s End!
- Do you want to see Chuck Wendig write more Star Wars novels?
JARED: I would be up to reading more of his books set in the Star Wars universe. He definitely brings a different feel to the books which can be refreshing. I’m divided on if I would like to see completely new characters or see him write a stand-alone Sloane book.
KERI: I’m not sure. I have less problems with his writing style than others I’ve heard from. I heard rumor that he would like to do a novel about HK-47, which I would be ALL OVER (speaking of my love of murder droids). Otherwise… I guess it would depend on what period he was writing.
DEREK: I’ve read all of Wendig’s writing books. They’re great. He has a wonderful sense of humor. But this trilogy on the whole didn’t feel very “Star Wars” to me. I’d rather see new authors.
- Do you have a favorite quote?
JARED: Well, I have a tie and I’m not gonna say who says them. But, I’m betting it’s easily figured out. “HELLO. I AM ENJOYING THIS HUG, TOO. HUG HUG HUG. A HUG IS LIKE VIOLENCE MADE OF LOVE.” “I smuggle, not snuggle.”
KERI: “COMMENTARY: I SAY WE BLAST THE MEATBAG AND SAVE YOU THE TROUBLE, MASTER.” “SORRY, MASTER TEMMIN’S MOM. GLITCH.”
DEREK: Sorry, no. I wasn’t as enamored with Bones as the rest of you are. I prefer Roger from Freemaker Chronicles. I just can’t buy the idea of a B-1 battle droid, who we spent three movies and six seasons seeing as the most worthless combatant in the galaxy, being remotely bad-ass.
Thanks for taking the time to read our thoughts and reactions to Star Wars Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig. We all love sitting down and discussing these books with each other and if you have any thoughts of feelings about the book or our review feel free to hit us up on Twitter. Thanks so much to Derek, Keri, and Jared for joining in this discussion. If you enjoyed their insights into the book give them a follow on Twitter by clicking the links in their names.