Goody’s Publication Audit: A Review of Star Wars: Empire’s End! By @ChuckWendig
Del Rey’s favorite and most acclaimed author makes a return to the Star Wars universe to finish the Aftermath’s Trilogy in the highly anticipated book Empire’s End…….. NOT!
Did that come off too sarcastic? Ok, it’s true that Empire’s End is the conclusion to the Aftermath trilogy and that this book was highly anticipated, but as far as Wendig being “most acclaimed” and “favorite author” I’ll admit are major exaggerations on my part. I still, to this day, have no clue as to what Del Rey saw in Chuck Wendig that convinced them to give him the reins to this trilogy. Yes I know, I’ve ranted on before about how I dislike his writing, and to be honest, I’m not done.
From the first day that I started reading Empire’s End, I started sending Simon “The Chief” texts on how disappointed or irritated I was with the quality of the writing. He would laugh occasionally at me until he finally asked one day, “Why did you buy it than?” And my response was simple, and I think every true Star Wars fan or even every book reader can relate to this response. I wanted the details, I wanted to know the plot, I wanted to know how my favorite universe and characters were progressing, and I wanted insight as to what the future might hold for my beloved Galaxy that is so far far away. I had to remind myself and Simon that this author is just the conduit in which all those insights and questions I so richly desire are being put forth from the true story tellers. Wendig was given an outline as to what shall happen to the overall story of this book, granted he probably got some wiggle room here and there, but it is the creative minds of the story management team (if that’s what they could be called) that truly decide what happens in these new canon books. So, I may not like Chuck Wendig’s writing style (ok, I freaking hate it), but I have to force myself to get through it for the sake of Star Wars, and possibly my own sanity. That and the fact that Del Rey doesn’t send me free copies of these books is why I bought it (hint-hint Del Rey).
As the final showdown between the New Republic and the Empire draws near, all eyes turn to a once-isolated planet: Jakku.
The Battle of Endor shattered the Empire, scattering its remaining forces across the galaxy. But the months following the Rebellion’s victory have not been easy. The fledgling New Republic has suffered a devastating attack from the Imperial remnant, forcing the new democracy to escalate their hunt for the hidden enemy.
For her role in the deadly ambush, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane is the most wanted Imperial war criminal—and one-time rebel pilot Norra Wexley, back in service at Leia’s urgent request, is leading the hunt. But more than just loyalty to the New Republic drives Norra forward: Her husband was turned into a murderous pawn in Sloane’s assassination plot, and now she wants vengeance as much as justice.
But Sloane, too, is on a furious quest: pursuing the treacherous Gallius Rax to the barren planet Jakku. As the true mastermind behind the Empire’s devastating attack, Rax has led the Empire to its defining moment. The cunning strategist has gathered the powerful remnants of the Empire’s war machine, preparing to execute the late Emperor Palpatine’s final plan. As the Imperial fleet orbits Jakku, an armada of Republic fighters closes in to finish what began at Endor. Norra and her crew soar into the heart of an apocalyptic clash that will leave land and sky alike scorched. And the future of the galaxy will finally be decided.
What some people may not know is that this series is important in bridging the gap between Return of the Jedi and A Force Awakens. Most fans were extremely excited when we got wind of this series, we thought this trilogy would give us all kinds of juicy details as to how Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca (Can’t forget the family dog) were doing. While we did get some indication as to their well-being and health we were also met with disappointment in how these beloved characters had been written.
I believe I speak for most fans when I say that Han was written more like a mercenary than a smuggler in the second installment titled Life Debt and he came off as a bit of an idiot too. There have a been a ton of things in relation to character development of the original cast that I didn’t much care for, but I think I’ve stated those before in previous reviews. I’m not sure Wendig really knew how to write these characters, maybe he wasn’t a big fan of the series or he was told to take the characters in a slightly different direction. As of now, it’s unclear and I’m really trying to give him the benefit of the doubt (and I’m failing in that, lol).
The flip side of that coin is that we got several new characters that I’ve come to really enjoy. Now get ready folks, a rare praise coming Mr. Wendig’s way. I actually really like how these characters have progressed over these three books, I was skeptical at first on a couple, but they have all grown so much throughout the stories, and I really like how Wendig wrote them in terms of their personalities. Here is where the author did a stellar job. His character development throughout the series got better and better, making this cast of new characters worthy of becoming permanent additions to the Star Wars universe. I especially liked the ex-imperial turned rebel Sinjir Rath Velus. Here’s a character that experienced a massive transformation throughout the series, but especially in this last book. He’s also the most controversial character I believe to ever be written within the Star Wars universe. You’ll need to read the books to see this guys metamorphosis. He’s the first, or one of the first, openly gay characters in the Star Wars universe and Wendig didn’t appear to be worried about showing it or writing about it.
Our other returning new characters included Norra Wexley, Temmin “Snap” Wexley, Temmin’s rebuilt B1 Battle Droid “Mister Bones”, Female Zabrak bounty hunter Jas Emari, and Imperial Grand Admiral Rae Sloane.
We also see several other original characters make their return including Han Solo, Leia Organa, Chewbacca (in just a small interlude unfortunately), Admiral Ackbar, Mon Mothma, and Wedge Antilles just to name a few.
Most of this book is about Norra and Sloane, everyone else is really just filler material. We have some really cool interludes that I wished had been a part of the main story from the beginning, like how Chewbacca found his son and about a law man on Tatooine buying Boba Fett’s old armor and trying to win his city’s freedom from a local crime syndicate. These stories all hold such cool details and were given to us in such small amounts that it raises questions about what the future really holds for some of these characters and story arcs. Even though this last novel answered several questions that I had personally about several plot lines it also opened up several more that were completely unanswered, which leads me to believe that more books are forthcoming with these much-needed details and answers.
Like I stated before, this series is here to help propel us into the story line of The Force Awakens, but the plot holes that it leaves are just nerve-racking since there is just still a long time frame between this last book and Episode 7.
Yes, I know, more praise for the author, I will have a few here, just don’t get use to it.
We do finally get a written account of the battle of Jakku, which wasn’t all that bad. I think the battle could have been gone on much longer with better detailing, but for what we got it was actually good. This was one of the best parts of the book because the author wrote the battle scene from everyone’s point of view.
We finally learn the fate of a Mr. Jar Jar Binks. You remember our stumbling buffoon from the prequel movies right? I have to admit that what happened to Binks was really unfortunate in the prequels, but I believe he’s finally found his niche in life.
The final confrontation between Norra and Sloane is a good one that I didn’t find boring or stupid, it was well deserved.
If you bought the book from Barnes and Noble you got a couple of cool looking propaganda posters with it, they’re pictured below.
Unfortunately, these posters are on the same piece of paper, just on the reverse sides from one another. So if you’re into hanging these type of posters on your wall at home you’re gonna need to buy two books or get another poster from another buyer, good luck.
Ben Solo is born and with his birth we also possibly see the initial workings of Snoke trying to work his way into his life. This was my interpretation and I’m also sad that these “dark episodes” weren’t explored more. It’s almost like it was forgotten about while the rest of the book was being written.
There was a moment within the book where Mister Bones experiences several memories that are but aren’t his and they are of some very famous droids from the past. You’ll have to read to figure out just who is who, it’s kinda cool.
There’s mention of more Force cults in the universe during one of the interludes, which is also mentioned in the Rogue One movie and book.
There’s mention (It’s never seen) of an Eclipse-Class Dreadnought Super Star Destroyer, which was included in the original expanded universe. The Eclipse was over twice as long as the Super Star Destroyer that you saw in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
I didn’t much care for the new version of the Emperor’s overall plan for the galaxy or should I say his “Contingency Plan” in case he should die. It was foolish, ridiculous, and completely the opposite of what had originally transpired in the original canon. I understand its original, but it seemed just too outside of the box for a man of his caliber and insane commitment.
I of course did NOT like Chuck Wendig’s writing style, it’s such a chore to get through when reading. I will say this though, he did get better throughout the series. I also can’t stand the grammar errors, especially the wording that he chose to use to describe action scenes or effects on characters. There’s a ton of good story arcs within the book that can keep you entertained and it’s too much to mention here. Plus, you know how I do things, I don’t like to give too much away. As much as I don’t like the author, I believe he’s worked hard enough for my fellow Star Wars fans to go out and pick up a copy.
This is required reading if you’d like to stay up to date on the new Star Wars lore and story lines. I suggest biting the proverbial bullet and reading it if you’re not a Wendig fan and if you do like his writing style then you’re gonna love it.
As always, let me know what you thought of the book or my review, let’s chat! Until the next time, MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!!