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Review - Aftermath: Empire's End (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy 3) by Chuck Wendig


Aftermath: Empire's End
Author:  Chuck Wendig
Series:  Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy 3
Publisher:  Del Rey, February 21, 2017
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
List Price: US$28.99 (print); US$14.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781101966969 (print); 9781101966976 (eBook)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

Review - Aftermath: Empire's End (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy 3) by Chuck Wendig
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Following Star Wars: Aftermath and Star Wars: Life Debt, Chuck Wendig delivers the exhilarating conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy set in the years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

EVERY END IS A NEW BEGINNING.

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.



Trinitytwo's / Tracey's Review

Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire's End, the stunning conclusion to Chuck Wendig's Star Wars: Aftermath series, tidily wraps up the adventures of an unlikely group of New Republic heroes. In the wake of the devastation caused by the bloodbath on Chandrila, Norra Wexley, leader of a team of "Imperial Hunters", uncovers information that Grand Admiral Rae Sloane has fled to the desert planet of Jakku. For Norra, bringing Sloane to justice, is personal. Her husband was one of the released Imperial captives that was programmed, via implant, to assassinate high ranking New Republic personnel during the Liberation Day celebrations. Norra is determined to make Sloane pay for the pain and anguish that was inflicted on the innocent.

But Norra and the New Republic are wrong: Sloane was not responsible for the terrorist attack. She's tracked the organizer of the slaughter, Gallius Rax, to Jakku. Sloane's agenda is simple: for his perversion of her beloved Empire, she will find him and kill him. Norra and her squad are hot on Sloane's trail, but as they drop out of hyperspace they are alarmed to discover that what's left of the Imperial fleet is orbiting this remote planet. But to what purpose? Will this discovery set off a chain of events that will lead to the Empire's ultimate end?

Empire's End is a beautifully written finale to the Aftermath series. Wendig meticulously ties up the multitude of story arcs into a neat package. Fans of the film will definitely appreciate how the final battle sets the stage for Episode VII. But by laying the necessary groundwork for the film, I felt the main characters' stories suffered slightly. I got the feeling that Empire's End was much more of a staging area for the film than Aftermath or Aftermath: Life Debt. This doesn't necessarily make the story bad, in fact, it's pretty darn good. I really enjoy Wendig's characters and feel that they were a bit short-changed.

For instance, I simply did not get enough of ex-Imperial loyalty officer Sinjir Rath Velus. I always enjoy Sinjir's exploits; whether he is extracting information from an unwilling bounty hunter, or on a covert mission to expose corrupt senators. I especially like his interactions with bounty hunter Jas Emari, Chancellor Mon Mothma, and his relationship with tech slicer Conder Kyl.

The modified B1 battle droid, Mister Bones, is always a favorite. Although Bones is a supporting character, he is totally unforgettable. I am seriously excited because Wendig tantalizes readers with a few of the maniacal droid's memories; proving that there is much more to Mister Bones that meets the eye.

Who doesn't love reuniting with old friends? Wendig's story is peppered with interludes, some of which feature the suave scoundrel Lando Calrissian retaking Bespin, a certain infamous Gungan on Naboo, and the ongoing struggles on Kashyyyk featuring Chewbacca.

Aftermath: Empire's End is an exciting and entertaining book. It seems to have been given the momentous task of taking a galaxy of loose threads and tying them together. Wendig does this brilliantly. Lovers of the Star Wars Universe shouldn't pass up the book, or the series; it provides tons of insight into future events and succeeds by being both appealing and exhilarating.




Previously

Aftermath
Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy 1
Del Rey, March 29, 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Hardcover and eBook, September 4, 2015

Review - Aftermath: Empire's End (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy 3) by Chuck Wendig
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: Aftermath [reveals] what happened after the events of 1983’s Return of the Jedi. It turns out, there’s more than just the Empire for the good guys to worry about.”—The Hollywood Reporter

As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance—now a fledgling New Republic—presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but he’s taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.

Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, former rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world—war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’s urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn’t know is just how close the enemy is—or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.

Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit—to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on Norra and her newfound allies—her technical-genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector—who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire’s oppressive reign once and for all.


Read Tracey's Review here.




Aftermath: Life Debt
Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy 2
Del Rey, March 28, 2017
Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Hardcover and eBook, July 19, 2016

Review - Aftermath: Empire's End (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy 3) by Chuck Wendig
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Set between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, the never-before-told story that began with Star Wars: Aftermath continues in this thrilling novel, the second book of Chuck Wendig’s bestselling trilogy.

It is a dark time for the Empire. . . .

The Emperor is dead, and the remnants of his former Empire are in retreat. As the New Republic fights to restore a lasting peace to the galaxy, some dare to imagine new beginnings and new destinies. For Han Solo, that means settling his last outstanding debt, by helping Chewbacca liberate the Wookiee’s homeworld of Kashyyyk.

Meanwhile, Norra Wexley and her band of Imperial hunters pursue Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and the Empire’s remaining leadership across the galaxy. Even as more and more officers are brought to justice, Sloane continues to elude the New Republic, and Norra fears Sloane may be searching for a means to save the crumbling Empire from oblivion. But the hunt for Sloane is cut short when Norra receives an urgent request from Princess Leia Organa. The attempt to liberate Kashyyyk has carried Han Solo, Chewbacca, and a band of smugglers into an ambush—resulting in Chewie’s capture and Han’s disappearance.

Breaking away from their official mission and racing toward the Millennium Falcon’s last known location, Norra and her crew prepare for any challenge that stands between them and their missing comrades. But they can’t anticipate the true depth of the danger that awaits them—or the ruthlessness of the enemy drawing them into his crosshairs.


Read Tracey's Review here.

Review: Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig


Aftermath: Life Debt
Author:  Chuck Wendig
Series:  The Aftermath Trilogy 2
Publisher:  Del Rey, July 12, 2016
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 448 pages
List Price:  US$28.99 (print); US$14.99 (eBook)
ISBN9781101966938 (print); 9781101966945 (eBook)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

Review: Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Set between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, the never-before-told story that began with Star Wars: Aftermath continues in this thrilling novel, the second book of Chuck Wendig’s bestselling trilogy.

It is a dark time for the Empire. . . . 

The Emperor is dead, and the remnants of his former Empire are in retreat. As the New Republic fights to restore a lasting peace to the galaxy, some dare to imagine new beginnings and new destinies. For Han Solo, that means settling his last outstanding debt, by helping Chewbacca liberate the Wookiee’s homeworld of Kashyyyk.

Meanwhile, Norra Wexley and her band of Imperial hunters pursue Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and the Empire’s remaining leadership across the galaxy. Even as more and more officers are brought to justice, Sloane continues to elude the New Republic, and Norra fears Sloane may be searching for a means to save the crumbling Empire from oblivion. But the hunt for Sloane is cut short when Norra receives an urgent request from Princess Leia Organa. The attempt to liberate Kashyyyk has carried Han Solo, Chewbacca, and a band of smugglers into an ambush—resulting in Chewie’s capture and Han’s disappearance.

Breaking away from their official mission and racing toward the Millennium Falcon’s last known location, Norra and her crew prepare for any challenge that stands between them and their missing comrades. But they can’t anticipate the true depth of the danger that awaits them—or the ruthlessness of the enemy drawing them into his crosshairs.



Tracey/Trinitytwo's Point of View

Aftermath: Life Debt picks up shortly after the events of Aftermath. Norra Wexley's eclectic team has made a name for itself and works steadily for the New Republic. Their mission: capture and deliver important Imperials to Chandrila, where they will stand trial for their crimes against the galaxy. After returning from a particularly harrowing mission, Norra is approached by Princess Leia Organa who announces that her husband, Han Solo, is missing after a failed attempt to free Chewbacca from incarceration by the Empire. Although her request is not sanctioned by the leaders of the New Republic, Leia asks Norra and her team to find Han.

Life Debt screams into action almost immediately and its pace never lessens. Wendig hits his stride in this second installment and the choppiness I noted in book one of the trilogy has transitioned into a smooth ride through hyperspace. Although its storyline is complex, it's particularly well orchestrated. Each component fits together like an intricate puzzle that is extremely satisfying when completed.

I have grown quite fond of Norra Wexley and her diverse team of risk takers. Of note, Norra's son Temmin, whose chip on his shoulder was so large that he was often unlikeable in book one, has shown clear growth. His mixture of confusion, anger, and budding maturity are appropriate for a teenager. Norra has also grown more realistic. I empathize with her struggle to balance both her responsibilities as a single mom and her position in the New Republic. Jas Emari, the bounty hunter, Sinjir Rath Velus, the ex-Imperial, Jom Barell, formerly New Republic Spec-Forces and Mister Bones, Temmin's maniacal B1 Battle Droid, round out the team. Wendig allows each member to seamlessly get his, her, or its moment in the sun. In fact, Wendig does a fantastic job of keeping this large ensemble cast of characters three dimensional and hits every note with bittersweet accuracy.

Wendig provides insight into Grand Admiral Rae Sloane's motivation. Sloane's determination to champion the Empire's way of life and her desire to preserve its "order and stability" is key to the plot. Wendig humanizes her while also providing purpose and a plausibility that is often missing in antagonists that are simply greedy or hungry for power.

Aftermath tantalizes readers with glimpses of many favorites from the original Star Wars film trilogy: notably Han Solo and Chewbacca. Life Debt will assuredly thrill readers by continuing Han and Chewie's adventures after Return of the Jedi. As a diehard fan of the franchise, I enjoyed learning more about the complicated relationships between the princess, the scoundrel and the Wookie. Without any spoilerish details, there is one passage between Han and Chewie that brought tears to my eyes. Well done, Wendig!

Life Debt speaks of the injustices of inequality, slavery, prejudice and poverty in a galaxy far, far away, and yet it also served to remind me of the suffering in our world today. This is brilliant writing! I am truly impressed with the overall message Wendig sends out while at the same time entertaining readers with a rich, complex and riveting story set in the Star Wars universe. I thoroughly enjoyed book one, but book two is even better. Aftermath: Life Debt leaves me excited to get my hands on Book 3, Aftermath: Empire's End. I recommend if you haven't started this series, start reading now. This is definitely the Star Wars series you've been looking for!


Note: Aftermath: Life Debt is the second book in the Aftermath Trilogy following Aftermath (See Trinitytwo's Review here..  I recommend reading them in order, although the author does a great job of reintroducing characters and conflicts in book two.





Previously

Aftermath
The Aftermath Trilogy 1
Del Rey, March 29, 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Hardcover and eBook, September 4, 2015

Review: Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: Aftermath [reveals] what happened after the events of 1983’s Return of the Jedi. It turns out, there’s more than just the Empire for the good guys to worry about.”—The Hollywood Reporter

As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance—now a fledgling New Republic—presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but he’s taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.

Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, former rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world—war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’s urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn’t know is just how close the enemy is—or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.

Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit—to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on Norra and her newfound allies—her technical-genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector—who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire’s oppressive reign once and for all.


See Trinitytwo's Review here.





Upcoming

Aftermath: Empire's End
The Aftermath Trilogy 3
Del Rey, February 21, 2017
Hardcover and ebook, 320 pages

Review: Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig
Following Star Wars: Aftermath and Star Wars: Life Debt, Chuck Wendig delivers the exhilarating conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy set in the years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

Review - Aftermath: Empire's End (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy 3) by Chuck WendigReview: Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig

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