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The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Review: Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Star Wars: Aftermath
Series:  Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Author:  Chuck Wendig
Publisher:  LucasBooks, September 4, 2015
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 400 pages
List Price:  $28.00 (print); $13.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780345511621 (print); 9780804177665 (eBook)
Review Copy: Reviewer's Own

Review: Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig
The second Death Star has been destroyed, the Emperor killed, and Darth Vader struck down. Devastating blows against the Empire, and major victories for the Rebel Alliance. But the battle for freedom is far from over.

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.

Trinitytwo's Point of View

Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig blasts into a galaxy near you by reintroducing an old friend from the original trilogy, Captain Wedge Antilles. Members of the Galactic Empire are scrambling after the destruction of the Death Star and the deaths of the Emperor and Darth Vader. As the New Republic works to eradicate the Empire's iron grip planet by planet, Wedge feels compelled to scout the Outer Rim for Imperial strongholds. Above the planet Akiva, he stumbles upon a covert meeting of high level Imperial personnel and is able to send a local distress call before being taken prisoner. The call is received by returning war hero, native Norra Wexley, who has just reunited with her teenage son Temmin after spending three years off-planet, fighting for the rebel alliance. The fortunes of Norra and Temmin become intertwined with those of bounty hunter Jas Emari and ex-Imperial officer Sinjir Rath Velus. They form an unlikely team as they try to avoid capture, free Wedge, and thwart the Imperial's plans.

I've loved all things Star Wars since I saw the first movie back in the summer of '77. I think it's pertinent to note that I've read many of the books that comprise the Star Wars Expanded Universe and became invested in many of those characters. That being said, the fact that Disney has opted to go in a different direction made no difference to my enjoyment of this book. I was completely caught up as each event unfolded and was rooting for the story's unconventional set of heroes from the get-go. I usually despise Imperials, but I surprised myself by choosing the ex-Imperial as my favorite character. Sinjir plans on drinking himself into oblivion, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time changes everything. His quick wit and snide mannerisms completely won me over. I felt less empathy for Norra and her son, Temmin. I suppose I am worn out by angsty teens with chips on their shoulders and their guilt-ridden parents, but luckily Temmin and his mom turned out to be much more than that. Temmin's a survivor and a brilliant tech wizard. His reworked battle droid, Mister Bones, instantly earned a spot on my "favorite droid ever" list. Norra is brave and courageous in the face of everything that is thrown at her and if she sometimes seems just a bit too brave and too courageous, well, I can overlook that. Rounding out the roster is Jas Emari, the Zabrak bounty hunter whose unique code of ethics makes her strangely appealing. It's a nice change of pace to have such a well-rounded cast of characters.

I also enjoyed the glimpses into the crumbling world of the loyal Imperials. Their squabbling, power plays, and self-serving attitudes seemed on point. Wendig does a great job of fleshing out their motivations which allows the reader insight into perspectives rarely revealed.

My only peeve; Wendig's writing style of repeating short sentence sequences would from time to time distract me from the story.

Aftermath is everything the Star Wars universe deserves: an exhilarating, epic adventure that introduces new characters and reintroduces some old friends. It sets the stage for the highly anticipated movie, The Force Awakens, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to lovers of the Star Wars saga of any age.

Feature: Star Wars: Imperial Handbook by Daniel Wallace

Star Wars: Imperial Handbook
becker&meyer!, October 14, 2014
Hardcover, Deluxe Edition, 160 pages

Feature: Star Wars: Imperial Handbook by Daniel Wallace
The Empire has taken hold of the galaxy. Soon, with the completion of the Death Star, its control will be absolute. To prepare for the influx of military personnel required to complete this phase of the Emperor’s plan, elite Imperial officers have outlined the processes, protocols, and hierarchy each newly-promoted Imperial Commander must carry out to fulfill the Emperor’s vision.

Star Wars®: Imperial Handbook: A Commander’s Guide is written by top Imperial officers from the Imperial Army, Navy, and Stormtrooper Corps. It provides a comprehensive overview of the Imperial war machine—from coordination between the various military branches to Imperial battle tactics, mission reports, and equipment supply chains—and its role within the Emperor’s long-term plan for galactic domination.

Following the Battle of Endor, this copy of Imperial Handbook fell into the hands of the Rebel Alliance. Through handwritten notes left in margins, leaders for the Rebel Alliance, such as Princess Leia, General Madine, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker provide a running counter-commentary to the official Imperial propaganda.

Housed in a protective case that opens with lights and sounds, this never-before-seen Imperial Handbook is perfect for Star Wars® fans—no matter which side of the rebellion they’re on.

Feature: Star Wars: Imperial Handbook by Daniel WallaceFeature: Star Wars: Imperial Handbook by Daniel Wallace

Feature: Star Wars: Imperial Handbook by Daniel WallaceFeature: Star Wars: Imperial Handbook by Daniel Wallace

Feature: Star Wars: Imperial Handbook by Daniel Wallace

Click on the images to enlarge

From the Press Release:

This fall, just in time for the holiday season, Lucasfilm™ announces the release of STAR WARS: IMPERIAL HANDBOOK, the latest artifact to come from INSIDE the STAR WARS™ universe. From the book producers who unearthed THE JEDI PATH and BOOK OF SITH comes the newest book from a galaxy, far, far away . . . . a guide for Commanders of the Imperial Military.

The Empire has taken hold of the galaxy. Soon, with the completion of the Death Star, its control will be absolute. In preparation for this Imperial expansion, high-ranking officials from each branch of the Imperial military have set down tactical guidelines and procedures as well as collected mission reports and classified documents for all newly ascending commanders.

In the wake of the Battle of Endor, members of the Rebel Alliance intercepted this top-secret instructional manual and have circulated it among their own commanders, who have added notes and commentary in the margins.

Housed in a protective case, this rare glimpse into the military governance and philosophy of the Empire offers a unique perspective for those on both sides of the rebellion.

The STAR WARS: IMPERIAL HANDBOOK Deluxe Edition produced by becker&mayer! Books in collaboration with Lucasfilm Ltd., New York Times bestselling author Daniel Wallace, and celebrated STAR WARS illustrators, takes fans inside the world of the Imperial military.

"Imperial Handbook continues the legacy of STAR WARS books originating within the universe. This closely guarded handbook bears witness to the core philosophies and flawed practices for the Imperial military. With handwritten annotations from Rebel Alliance leaders, such as Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Wedge Antilles, and a one-of-a-kind Imperial Order of Glory medal, Imperial Handbook delivers a galaxy far, far away straight into your hands," says J.W. Rinzler, executive editor at Lucasfilm.

To heighten the drama of the text’s backstory, STAR WARS: IMPERIAL HANDBOOK Deluxe Edition is housed within a sleek mechanical case. With the touch of a button, the top of the case slides open accompanied by lights and authentic STAR WARS sounds, revealing the book within.

The 160-page collection has a cover featuring a spot UV design, embossing and foil stamping, as well as a Rebel Alliance artifact registration card. Housed beneath the book is an Imperial Order of Glory medal. The book’s elegant design showcases more than 85 original illustrations by acclaimed STAR WARS artists including Chris Trevas, Chris Reiff, Joe Corroney, John Van Fleet, Maciej Rebisz, Russell Walks, and Velvet Engine Studio.

“In-world” authors:
Imperial writers: Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, High General Cassio Tagge, Admiral Wullf Yularen, Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, and TX-5532

Rebel Alliance annotators: Jan Dodonna, General Madine, General Rieekan, Wedge Antilles, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Mon Mothma.

“Our-world” author:
Daniel Wallace is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Characters, as well as a dozen more books that explore the underpinnings of the STAR WARS universe, including Star Wars: The Essential Atlas and The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia. He is a regular contributor to Star Wars Insider magazine and assembled the questions used in the STAR WARS themed Trivial Pursuit game. In addition to making many contributions to the galaxy far, far away, he has written for universes including Indiana Jones, Smallville, Supernatural, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics.

Cookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012

The holidays are nearly upon us. Run and hide. Not really. Here is a short guide (Part 1) to cookbooks for the genre lover in your life (including you).  All of these cookbooks are currently available from a variety of sources. I may blog about genre cookbooks that you will have to find used at some point. Please note that I did not include self-published cookbooks because there are just so many of them!

A Feast of Ice and Fire
The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook
Bantam, May 29, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 240 pages

Cookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012
Ever wonder what it’s like to attend a feast at Winterfell? Wish you could split a lemon cake with Sansa Stark, scarf down a pork pie with the Night’s Watch, or indulge in honeyfingers with Daenerys Targaryen? George R. R. Martin’s bestselling saga A Song of Ice and Fire and the runaway hit HBO series Game of Thrones are renowned for bringing Westeros’s sights and sounds to vivid life. But one important ingredient has always been missing: the mouthwatering dishes that form the backdrop of this extraordinary world. Now, fresh out of the series that redefined fantasy, comes the cookbook that may just redefine dinner . . . and lunch, and breakfast.

A passion project from superfans and amateur chefs Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer—and endorsed by George R. R. Martin himself—A Feast of Ice and Fire lovingly replicates a stunning range of cuisines from across the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. From the sumptuous delicacies enjoyed in the halls of power at King’s Landing, to the warm and smoky comfort foods of the frozen North, to the rich, exotic fare of the mysterious lands east of Westeros, there’s a flavor for every palate, and a treat for every chef.

These easy-to-follow recipes have been refined for modern cooking techniques, but adventurous eaters can also attempt the authentic medieval meals that inspired them. The authors have also suggested substitutions for some of the more fantastical ingredients, so you won’t have to stock your kitchen with camel, live doves, or dragon eggs to create meals fit for a king (or a khaleesi). In all, A Feast of Ice and Fire contains more than 100 recipes, divided by region:
  • The Wall: Rack of Lamb and Herbs; Pork Pie; Mutton in Onion-Ale Broth; Mulled Wine; Pease Porridge
  • The North: Beef and Bacon Pie; Honeyed Chicken; Aurochs with Roasted Leeks; Baked Apples
  • The South: Cream Swans; Trout Wrapped in Bacon; Stewed Rabbit; Sister’s Stew; Blueberry Tarts
  • King’s Landing: Lemon Cakes; Quails Drowned in Butter; Almond Crusted Trout; Bowls of Brown; Iced Milk with Honey
  • Dorne: Stuffed Grape Leaves; Duck with Lemons; Chickpea Paste
  • Across the Narrow Sea: Biscuits and Bacon; Tyroshi Honeyfingers; Wintercakes; Honey-Spiced Locusts
There’s even a guide to dining and entertaining in the style of the Seven Kingdoms. Exhaustively researched and reverently detailed, accompanied by passages from all five books in the series and full-color photographs guaranteed to whet your appetite, this is the companion to the blockbuster phenomenon that millions of stomachs have been growling for. And remember, winter is coming—so don’t be afraid to put on a few pounds.

Includes a Foreword by George R. R. Martin

Apocalypse Cakes
Recipes for the Ends
Running Press, June 7, 2011
Hardcover and eBook, 128 pages

Cookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012
We are besieged with talk of crisis, meltdown, earthquakes, sink holes, global warming, bailouts, and more. Once you realize there's not a whole lot of time left, grab a Bundt pan and whip up your own scrumptious Fallen Angel Food Cake--or one of the other 29 apocalyptic cakes in this irreverent cookbook--and indulge in your final days. Each full-color dessert photograph is accompanied by a short hilarious description.

Beyond Delicious
The Ghost Whisperer's Cookbook
Clerisy Press,  September 13, 2011
Paperback and eBook, 300 pages

Cookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012
Beyond Delicious: The Ghost Whisperer's Cookbook includes more than 100 recipes given to her through communication with spirits of great cooks who have passed on. Arranged as 2-page spreads, each entry includes a recipe as well as the story of how the author came to learn it. Beyond Delicious, then, is part cookbook and part ghost story anthology. Together these elements create the most entertaining cookbook of the season.

Nanny Ogg's Cookbook
A Useful and Improving Almanack of Information Including 
Astonishing Recipes from Terry Pratchett's Discworld
Transworld Publishers, February 26, 2002
Paperback and eBook, 176 pages

Cookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012
'They say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach which just goes to show they're as confused about anatomy as they gen'rally are about everything else, unless they're talking about instructions on how to stab him, in which case a better way is up and under the ribcage. Anyway, we do not live in a perfect world and it is foresighted and useful for a young woman to become proficient in those arts which will keep a weak-willed man from straying. Learning to cook is also useful.'

Nanny Ogg, one of Discworld's most famous witches, is passing on some of her huge collection of tasty and above all interesting recipes, since everyone else is doing it. But in addition to the delights of the Strawberry Wobbler and Nobby's Mum's Distressed Pudding, Mrs Ogg imparts her thoughts on life, death, etiquette ('If you go to other people's funerals they'll be sure to come to yours'), courtship, children and weddings, all in a refined style that should not offend the most delicate of sensibilities. Well, not much.

Most of the recipes have been tried out on people who are still alive.

Nanny Ogg Gratefully Ackowledges the Assistance in this Literary Argosy of: Mr Terry Pratchett, Mr Stephen Briggs, Mlle Tina Hannan and Master Paul Kidby.

The Redwall Cookbook
Philomel, September 25, 2005
Paperback, 104 pages

Cookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012
Ever read a Redwall novel and wonder exactly what Abbot’s Special Abbey Trifle is? Or how to make Shrimp ’N Hotroot Soup, that delicacy of otters everywhere? Or Mole’s Favourite Turnip and Tater Deeper ’N Ever Pie? From the simple refreshment of Summer Strawberry Fizz to Great Hall Gooseberry Fool, they’re all here, along with dozens of other favorites sure to turn young hands into seasoned chefs, illustrated in full color with all the charm and magic that is Redwall. A gift like no other for fans of the series, old or new.

Star Trek Cookbook
Pocketbook/Star Trek, January 1999
Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Cookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012
Is there one food that humans, Klingons, Bajorans, and Vulcans would like? If so, what would it taste like? How would you prepare it? Could you find all the ingredients locally?

This is the task that faces Neelix, chef for the U.S.S. Voyager

Ethan Phillips, in the persona of Neelix, and William J. Birnes, the New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Day After Roswell, throw wide the vaults of interstellar haute cuisine, revealing for the first time the secret preparation techniques behind all those exotic dishes and drinks. The favorite foods of characters from every Star Trek series and movie are here, all adapted for easy use in twentieth-century kitchens. The Star Trek Cookbook also features a complete guide for whipping up the all the drinks served at Quark's.

Fun, and easy to use, the Star Trek Cookbook is your indispensable guide to the food of the stars!

Wookiee Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes
The Star Wars Cookies
Chronicle Books, September 1988
Spiralbound, 132 pages

Cookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012
Boba Fett-Uccine and Princess Leia Danish Dos are just the beginning when the Force is with you in the kitchen. Wookiee Cookies is your invitation to fine culinary experiences in the Star Wars frame of mind. From C-3PO Pancakes to Jedi Juice Bars, this intergalactic Star Wars cookbook features healthy snacks, delicious dishes, sweet treats, and easy main courses no Rebel can resist. With hilarious photos and safety tips for cooking on Earth as well as in most space stations, Wookiee Cookies even includes a sheet of shiny Star Wars stickers. Age is no issue when it comes to Star Wars cuisine-kids as well as adults will have a great time with this book. Whether you drove to your first Star Wars flick or just had your fifth birthday, there's no reason you can't whip up some Crazy Cantina Chili at near light speed.

And a kit with cookie cutters:

Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones, and Other Galactic Goodies 
The Star Wars Cookbook
Chronicle Books, May 23, 2012
64 pages with 3 metal cookie cutters

Cookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012
May the Force be with all aspiring Jedi cooks as they use Yoda, Darth Vader, and R2-D2–shaped cookie cutters to create 30 sweet and savory treats! From Chocolate Chewies to Obi-Wan Tons, this galactic cookbook features easy-to-make recipes for Star Wars–themed treats that will delight any Jedi appetite.

The Star Wars Cookbook II
Darth Malt and More Galactic Recipes
Chronicle Books, July 2000
Spiralbound, 60 pages

Cookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012
Even the pickiest of Gungans will eat their fruits and veggies when Bubble City Salad and Boss Nass Broccoli are on the menu. With this exciting new sequel to the best-selling The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes, Star Wars fans of all ages can cook up more out-of-this-world fun. From razor-toothed Opee's Sea Crunch (for fish fillets with a real bite) to Darth Double Dogs (doubling as a light saber you can eat!), this intergalactic Star Wars cookbook features healthy snacks, delicious dishes, sweet treats, and easy main courses no Rebel can resist. Featuring hilarious photographs and recipes and wipe-clean pages, The Star Wars Cookbook II even includes a shiny plastic stencil of Darth Maul to help decorate culinary creations. And age is no issue when the Force is with you-adults as well as kids will have a great time with this book.

True Blood
Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps
Chronicles Books, August 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 224 pages

Cookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012
True Blood, HBO’s blockbuster paranormal drama, enthralls a diverse audience of 13 million viewers (and counting). Menus at the now-famous Fangtasia and Merlotte’s Bar and Grill play a key role in the series, providing sustenance for its human characters, evoking memories of a bygone life for its vampires, and serving as a powerful symbol for the desires and carnal needs the characters harbor. It’s no wonder so many fans revel in at-home parties inspired by the food on the series! With recipes from unforgettable scenes, each entertainingly introduced by True Blood’s most compelling characters, these 85 authentic bayou country recipes and 150-plus photos from the series give fans a big taste of Bon Temps.

© 2012 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. True Blood and related trademarks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.

In Part 2 - Unofficial cookbooks, Zombie Cupcakes, Ghoulish Goodies...
Review: Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck WendigFeature: Star Wars: Imperial Handbook by Daniel WallaceCookbooks for Genre Lovers, Part 1 - December 7, 2012

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