Set in between Episodes 6 and 7 of the Star Wars saga, Aftermath by Chuck Wendig was one of the first books to give us a glimpse into how the Empire started to shape up after the death of the Emperor.
In an attempt to save Wedge Antilles, known Rebel pilot, from the hand of whats left of the Empire, we meet Norra Wexley, a known pilot from Rebel Alliance. In Norra’s pursuit, her son Temmin gets involved in the mission by accident, as well as bounty hunter Jas Emari and ex Imperial officer Sinjir Rath Velus. Wedge Antilles is in the hands of Rae Sloane, a high rank Imperial officer, while the Empire tries to tie some loose ends from planets that don’t have the news of the Battle of Endor.
The novel revolves around action sequences filled with chases, investigations and space flight. It could be a bit jarring for those looking for a character driven story, but the glimpses that shine on the intentions of each character keeps you involved. This flaw turned into a major criticism during its initial reception, but it misses the fact that this is part of a trilogy. There are many characters involved, as it happens with many Star Wars novels. Chuck Wendig is smart at giving you the details of each characters, making you care about them.
The novel has many chapters in between called Interlude, that act as short stories that describe different situations around the galaxy. The balance between narrowing down with a set of character for the main plot and diversifying in these interludes is welcomed by me. Sometimes there are so many characters in Star Wars that we don’t have the time to care about all of them. These chapter give a broader view, explaining how different planets react to the fall of the Empire and how that affects them as a whole.
Some well-known characters of the galaxy are mentioned in a way that makes sense. Wedge Antilles taken as hostage jumps to mind, making it instantly interesting to any fan. Admiral Ackbar is involved in the story, but it stays as an ancillary character, making the story believable, blending well-known characters and brand new ones.
What this book doesn’t give fans is information about the new characters from the sequel trilogy, something that affected the initial response. It is more about the state of the galaxy after the fall of the Empire seen in Return Of The Jedi. I wanted to learn more about these new characters, especially Jas Emari and Sinjir. I hope these characters are more developed in the next books of the trilogy. (Update: they do!)
If you like an action packed story that gets you hyped enough to have all those vibes for experiencing a dog fight in space, then this book is a great addition. This is the first book in a trilogy, so it won’t give you the whole depth of the characters. If your’e interested about more characters besides Han, Luke and Leia, then this book will give you new, interesting characters that might give you a pause from the main storyline.