Goody’s Publication Audit: A Review of Star Wars: Life Debt!
Del Rey brings us the second volume of the Aftermath Trilogy titled Life Debt by Chuck Wendig. The title being pretty self-explanatory about the major plot within the book.
Here’s a brief synopsis…..
The story focuses most of its energy around book ones main characters of Nora Wexley and her New Republic team of Temmin “Snap” Wexley (Yes, the Snap character and pilot from The Force Awakens), Sinjir Rath Velus, Jas Emari, Jom Barell, and the ever so cool droid Mister Bones! Also, our main antagonist Imperial Admiral Rae Sloane makes a return.
Along these mentioned above we’re also given access to some of the old main characters like Han Solo, Leia Organa, Admiral Ackbar, and Mon Montha just to name a few.
The story picks up not long after the first book and shows us that Nora Wexley’s team has been hunting old Imperial officers and bringing them to justice in the New Republic. Kinda like the Nazi war criminals that were hunted after the war.
Her teams progress is brought to a stand still when Leia asks her and her team to go looking for Han Solo who has gone missing. Han was basically trying to free Chewbacca’s home world of Kashyyyk which is under Imperial rule and has been using the Wookies as slave labor for years. Han tried initially doing this with the help of some smuggler friends but it turns out that it was all one big trap. Han is able to get away but in the process his best bud Chewbacca is captured. During Han’s escape he’s able to send a partial message to Leia before he’s attack and the whereabouts and his condition is unknown, scaring the crap outta Leia.
Wendig actually does a great job developing these new characters, so much so that I would enjoy seeing them included in the future movie franchise. This is also one of the few times you’ll see me giving praise to Wendig and I’ll explain later. We’ve already seen one of these characters mentioned above. It was suggested after the first book was released that Temmin Wexley might indeed be Snap Wexley from The Force Awakens, and as it turns out he is. We find out how he got his new nickname during this book and of course who trains him on how to fly an x-wing. This is one of the coolest parts of the book, Snap is trained by one of the greatest pilots in the rebellion, Wedge Antilles, leader of Rogue Squadron! Imagine the feeling of being trained by a guy who helped destroy two Death Stars.
There is a lot of great relationship development between so many characters in this book that its difficult to name them all. It’s refreshing to see relationships between people written so realistically, and not so over the top.
Ok, here’s where my review takes a darker turn. I can not stand Wendig’s writing style, it bothers me a great deal. He puts way too much in Parentheses and he actually asks the reader questions in the book. WHO DOES THIS?! When you begin to ask readers questions you begin to imply that you’re writing this book as if you were there. Like you’re recounting the story from personal experience. IT’S A LONG TIME AGO, IN A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY! You’re obviously NOT there. That type of writing drives me nuts. If we as Star Wars fans are going to have to rely upon Chuck Wendig as providing us the majority of our beloved universe then we are SCREWED!! I’ve never read any of his other material (and I don’t plan to) so I’m assuming that there must be some greatness to it in some way if Del Rey gave him this three book contract. I know I’m not the only reader that’s not satisfied with his writing.
There are a lot of details throughout the book that bother me. One of which is that it’s very obvious that Wendig has never shot a gun, especially a high power rifle. He has a bounty hunter using a sniper rifle during a few scenes bring their scope tight against their eye. WHAT?! If you brought a scope tight against your eye you’d give yourself a black eye at the least from the recoil, and he can’t claim it was a “laser” or energy weapon since he clearly states that it’s a “Slugthrower” which means it’s shooting a projectile. Which once again means it’s going to have recoil. Sand people use slugthrowers, watch the Phantom Menace during the pod race and you’ll see my proof. It’s this lack of attention to detail that drives me nuts.
Also, if you’re going to present a character to us that you yourself write as being feminine then please don’t use these generic gender pronouns such as Zhe, Zher, or Zhim. If your sole purpose in using these generic pronouns is to win yourself a broader audience then I think you’re insulting the fans and those you’re possibly trying to appeal to. Especially since it’s done on such a small-scale. No one uses these pronouns, you’re trying to be too creative, just stop.
My final irritation I’d love to mention is how he writes Han Solo. He writes Han like he’s a complete moron and very childish. Yes, he’s a bit immature at times, but he’s not a half wit on a continuous basis. The Han Solo that Wendig writes is nothing like that Han Solo we all know and love from the old canon and the movies.
One last bit, it would appear that someone read my last audit from “Bloodlines”. I only say that becuase there is a small mention in this book how Han and Leia really are married, but it was a small ceremony and was kept private. Very odd, why keep it a secret?
My Audit Results…….
Overall, it’s a good book to pick up for details going on throughout the universe. This book provides important story lines that will help you keep up on what’s happening between the movies.
There are also several Interludes like in the first book that provide some really nice teasers on whats to possibly come. I regrettably have to suggest that you all pick this up. If it wasn’t important then I’d say avoid it.
I hope and pray that Del Rey takes a harder look at who they decide to hire for their future Star Wars canon books.
As always, let me know what you think. This is after all, one mans opinion.
Cheers to you all!