07 August 2016

Books: Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt By Chuck Wendig (2016)

“The Empire is in chaos. As the old order crumbles, the fledging New Republic seeks a swift end to the galactic conflict. Many Imperial leaders have fled from their posts, hoping to escape justice in the farthest corners of known space. Perusing those Imperial deserters are Norra Wexley and her team of unlikely allies. As more and more officers are arrested, planets once crushed beneath the Empire’s heel now have hope for the future. And no hope is greater that of the Wookies of Kashyyyk. Han Solo and Chewbacca have gathered a team of smugglers and scoundrels to free Kashyyyk from Imperial slavers once and for all. Meanwhile, the remnants of the Empire –now under the control of Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and her powerful, secret advisers- prepare to unleash a terrifying counterstrike.”

Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig is rather dull and at often times, pointless. Much like I pointed out in my take on his first book in this new trilogy of Star Wars Expanded Universe 2.0,  Wendig’s novel seems like “a bunch of new ideas that will be filled out in other novels.” Not perhaps his, though, but other books. The biggest issue is the whole story is built on a shaky foundation that was weak to begin with, insomuch as the story is paper thin and most, if not all the stuff that happens here, could be condensed into a handful of chapters spread over twenty or so pages of a short-story. Every event, from the freeing of the Wookies, to entanglements with Imperials all happen swiftly, almost coming off as an afterthought. The good guys win, the bad guys lose. We get boring subplots with Wexley and her now found husband, Brentin (who I never expected to see alive, so I was rather pleased he did pop up, but Wendig does really nothing with him except to use him as one might expect him to be used) and Wedge. This potential three way love seems poorly handled and obvious. And Han Solo does not show up until about page 190 and then he sort of becomes a supporting character through the rest of the book. 

Then there are those random interludes which seem to add nothing to the narrative, and come out at you aimlessly just to flesh out the story, which as noted, was slim to begin with. The book is unfocused and haphazardly put together. It reads more like a modern screenplay than a novel, filled with moments, instead of characterization, or logic, or the writer making any attempt to make the story cohesive. 

This is why the novels related to Star Wars and even Star Trek has lost my interest. Perhaps I’ve grown, moved forward in my reading world and these books are no more or no less than science fiction version of a James Patterson “written” novel. They seem more interested in pandering to fans that moving the saga onward.

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