Goody’s Publication Audit: A Review of Star Wars: Aftermath
Strap yourselves in folks! Here we go!
Aftermath has been the highly anticipated Star Wars book of the year. This is the book that’s suppose to start bridging the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
Here’s a brief synopsis…..
The story timeline is a few months after episode 6 (ROTJ). A secret summit of Imperials is taking place on a small planet that we’ve never heard of before until now. The Rebels, sorry the newly formed New Republic stumbles upon it and calamity ensues from then on leading to a small show down in space.
I told you it would be brief. When I first wrote this audit a few days ago I ended up with 12 full pages on a college ruled tablet. It was a bit excessive to say the least and I was giving far too many plot details away. I CAN’T DO THAT!!. So, here’s a condensed version of that, lol.
I have mixed feelings and interpretations with this book. Which in my opinion, isn’t such a great thing and ill explain throughout my audit.
First off, connections, connections, connections!!! The strongest and the weakest parts of this darn book is all the freaking information they throw at us. I’ll use this comparison….. In lieu of using a special forces team to covertly insert themselves into a hostile environment to eliminate a high value target, the author basically chose to sit off shore with an armada of Navy Destroyers and ballistic submarines and proceed to launch anything and everything in the general direction of the intended target, hoping it would do the job.
Now, the intended target here is obviously us, the readers, the fans, you know, the people they’re trying to entertain and impress. The arsenal that we’ve been bombarded with? That’s all the details within the story that we’ve been handed, or more to the point, what we’ve been teased with.
Of course me being a stereotypical male, I love a certain amount of teasing from my gorgeous wife before……. well I’m sure you get the point. BUT, too much teasing and I start behaving and acting like an even more deranged version of Gollum who’s looking for his damn “precious”. You just don’t do it.
So, to begin, I really liked the general plot. One of the main idea’s of the book was to show how complicated life was getting after the destruction of the second Death Star, the death of Emperor Palpatine and the dreaded Darth Vader.
Most of the galaxies complications and potential future story lines were explained in several “interludes” throughout the book. Funny enough, here’s where I had to scale my audit down a bit….. ok, a lot. These “teasers” either brought in some of the classic characters from the original saga that we were of course looking forward to seeing, or we were catapulted through space to another completely different part of the galaxy to witness one of many “subplots”! By the time you really start to get into these new juicy teaser subplots or they really start to go somewhere with it they stop. They’re only a couple of pages long, and when they are done they are done. You never read about them again. This was so irritating, but I found my mind shooting off into this weird fantasy land of possible future story and plot lines of where these tiny details could possible take us. And this my friends is what ultimately kept me reading. These interludes gave us so many avenues of where Disney and Del Rey are going to be taking us along this new grand adventure. But, the flip side to that publishing coin is that there truly was far too much “side action” or “notes” with far too little information. I personally like having teasers or easter eggs when I watch movies or read a good book, but this was too much. New characters were introduced to us and what information we were given was very vague and they had nothing to do with the existing story. These people could have been saved and just placed within the books they were intended to be in. There were only a few good interludes that I thought were really justified. These briefly explored some possible fates of existing characters we all love and what their potential futures just might hold for them. And there were a couple that really captured the turmoil around the galaxy from the core worlds like Coruscant to the outer rim worlds like Jakku which we’ll all see and experience in The Force Awakens.
I’m getting the impression that these new authors who are being brought into the Star Wars book franchise are coming in with their hands tied behind their backs and wearing a blindfold. These books are coming off like they either can’t see the endgame or aren’t being shown the bigger picture. That really suffocates a writer in their ability to give us a great story, and this is how these books are coming across to me. Maybe there’s some grand reasoning for doing so, maybe this is information control, what ever the case, lets hope it pays off in the end for them.
Character development was decent, nothing spectacular. The best new character in the book I think was Imperial Admiral Rae Sloane. She’s one of those stereotypical Imperial officers, but she was well written. It was fun being in her head and reading how she thinks and problem solves. Other characters of note is New Republic Y-Wing pilot Norra Wexley. I loved how we were given a character who was truly battling PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). We as readers don’t see too many Star Wars characters who struggle through this, it was refreshing. The relationship between her and her son was a bit tiresome. His personality ground my nerves a bit, but towards the end he seemed to pull his head out of his rear end. The new female Zabrak bounty hunter Jas Emari wasn’t anything special, she was a good well-rounded person and could have been written far better.
The last character of any real significance is Imperial Loyalty Officer Sinjir Rath Velus. He’s an imperial deserter who has faked his death after the battle of Endor and who basically wants to be left alone, but ends up joining forces with the bounty hunter and the New Republic. The only reason I actually think he’s worth noting is that he’s the second new character within this new canon timeline to be declared as gay.
Now, before anyone gets an attitude or their panties in a twist let me explain. I couldn’t give two poops if Disney continues introducing more homosexual characters. My big issue is in how their doing it. If one small paragraph would have been excluded from the book you NEVER would have questioned or would have known that he doesn’t like female companionship. Who cares?! Is Disney or Del Rey trying way too hard here to be more “mainstream” by appeasing to too many focus groups? Are we dealing with some public relations bonehead who’s trying way too hard to set a new standard? if they’re going to try to include a more diverse cast of characters then do it. But, don’t insult the readers with these weak statements within the stories. When that’s done, you’re essentially placing a label on that character and never fully addressing the issue. We the readers include both genders, all nationalities and races, and I’m very positive also include all types of sexual orientation. So what was the purpose? To say that your book or new canon is more diverse? Cut the crap! Decide what you’re going to do then go all in, don’t give us half-ass content.
MY AUDIT SUMMARY
I actually favored Wendig’s writing style, it was refreshing and different. Unfortunately, it’s a horrible standalone book. It NEEDS the support and follow-up of its future companion books. I feel this book could have been far better and I believe that it should have been. Here’s a thought, bring back some of the old writers who worked on the old canon timeline books, like Karen Traviss, Troy Denning, or Timothy Zahn. They were all impressive, most impressive!
Overall, I liked it, I really did. I suppose it was just a bit of a let down from what I thought it was going to be. Hopefully the next book in this trilogy will make it up to us. As always, I’d love to hear from you all. Leave a comment below, let’s get a discussion going. CHEERS!!
Another great post, Goody! I feel for you and your 12 page draft. =)
I have a big question for you: my friend and I are wanting to start reading Star Wars books. We’ve never read any (lame, I know) and don’t know where to pick up. Where do you suggest we start? Canon only. At least for the time being. ;-)
Hannah! My sweetest and most favorite bookworm!! How are you?! I’ve kept you in my prayers, I hope all is well!
Thanks so much for the positive feedback! That’s means a lot and helps me, especially coming from you. I look forward to reading some of your work sometime in the future. I’m sure I’ll be writing a stellar review for it! 😎👍
So trimming this review from 12 pages down to 5 was a bit rough. I had to much to say and unwanted to address all the issues, but found myself making far too many spoilers!!
If you’re looking to read just the official canon set forth by Disney the. I suggest just starting from THE PHANTOM MENACE then follow it up with ATTACK OF THE CLONES. Once those are read and if you really want to proceed further then you might want to watch the CLONE WARS cartoons. Those are referenced a lot in the following few books. Let me know what you think too. If you’re having issues getting the books I’ll send ya mine. Hopefully I’ll also get back to work on my own book writing soon!
Keep up the great work kiddo! CHEERS!! 😉
Wow. Thanks for the prayer, Goody! I really appreciate it. In the words of Papillon: “I’m still here!” =)
I had no idea you were working on a book. Go you! I’m hoping to indie publish a short story within a few months. Looking forward to hearing what you think of it. =D Thanks for all of the encouragement.
Those book suggestions sound great. I think I’ll stock pile them for Thanksgiving break. Cracked up when you mentioned watching CLONE WARS. I recently started watching the animated Justice League and felt weird watching cartoons…and even weirder for thinking they were awesome. Now I feel validated. =) I’ll be sure to let you know how I like the books and cartoon series. Excited!
WHAT!!!! that is bad, LOL. I would start with the new stuff if you are interested in the new canon. If not then I would read Heir to the Empire, Shadows of the Empire Legacy of the Force, which includes several books written by one of my favorite authors Karen Traviss.
She asked for canon only. I would also include the Han Solo trilogy.
Haha! Don’t rub it in, Simon. I already feel deprived as it is. =) Once I get a hang of the canon stuff, I’ll jump into the others. Karen Traviss is now on the top of my list. =) Thanks!
Karen Traviss is a good author and a very sweet lady. Goody and I met her one year at a Star Wars Celebration. As far as canon I would start with Dark Disciple, but Goody is the expert.
Karen Traviss is such a great writer!! I’ve enjoyed everything that i’ve read of hers. And yes, you’re right Simon, she’s extremely kind! I still have the pic that I took with her.
I think Dark Disciple is a good start, but there is some information within even that book that is referenced from The Clone Wars and Attack of the Clones. Plus, I think the old canon books are better for a new Star Wars reader. They don’t assume the reader knows everything there is to know about the Star Wars universe like these new books do. I think the Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones will help with her introduction.
I’m really hoping that book 2 and 3 of this “Aftermath” series gets better. There’s a ton of information still needed to bridge the gap between Episode 6 & 7.
I’m also working on a lead over at Disney. I might have an insider that can give me some minor details, it’s a long shot, but i’m gonna see if I can make it happen. I lost that old source from Skywalker Ranch, that was a huge bummer. She could have been giving me all kinds of info. Not to mention SWAG!!!! LOL!!