Star Wars: Aftermath is the third consecutive SW novel I’ve read this year. Previously, I had read A New Dawn and Ahsoka, both of which I greatly enjoyed. Aftermath, however, blows them both out of the water in terms of clench-worthy plot points and beautiful character arcs.
Don’t worry. This review is spoiler-free!
I actually read about ten full pages before even realizing it was all present tense writing. Now, normally present tense novels drive me up the wall, but this was different. I didn’t mind it at all, and I think that says something about Wendig’s skills.
Which brings me to my next first-impression point: the writing style. Simply put, Wendig isn’t a fan of complete sentences. His style is clipped and concise, as if he were crafting each individual sentence to deliver an appropriate amount of punch. Trust me, it works brilliantly.
Several of the reviews I read prior to getting the book complained that the plot moved too slow. I honestly don’t see how people reach that conclusion. Not once did I get bored or put the book down because of pacing problems.
I think my favorite aspect of the plot is that we get to see multiple immediate subplots (Norra’s return home, Wedge’s capture, Rae’s plans, etc.) converge into one grand boom of events. You don’t see how they all fit together at first, but by the time things start falling into place, you’re definitely invested.
Plus, you get everything you’d want out of a Star Wars story: space battles, flying stunts, stormtrooper chases…no lightsabers, though. Which I’m okay with. This isn’t a Jedi story.
Man oh man, I love this cast of characters. Each character has such a tangible development arc as their own individual stories gradually merge into one common lane. I mean, when a Rebel pilot, her black-market-selling-droid-building son, a bounty hunter, an ex-Imperial loyalty officer, and a reprogrammed Separatist battle droid join forces, you know you’re going to have a good time with them.
Favorite character? Norra Wexley by a mile and a half. Her arc is so complete, so perfect. She’s not a Jedi. She’s not a force wielder at all. Sometimes she even doubts if she should be a pilot. But her loyalty to her son and her cause, her perseverance, and her willingness to sacrifice for the people she loves makes her an absolute legend in my Star Wars book.
Least favorite character? I’m gonna cheat here: I don’t have one. Honestly, though. Not even the bad guys. Rae Sloane is fantastic and relatable, even as the main antagonist. I appreciate the fact that there’s no great-evil-Sith-villain type character. I will say, however, that Temmin makes some pretty stupid decisions, and he sometimes gets aggravating, but he’s a rebellious teenager so at least it fits his character. I can’t dislike him too much, all things considered.
I ordered the next book in the trilogy, Aftermath: Life Debt the same day I finished Aftermath. I can’t wait for it to get here.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. If you’re a Star Wars fan, this seems like a no-brainer to me. I’ve said before that I usually prefer prequel-era story arcs, but Aftermath may be one of my favorite Star Wars ‘chapters’ ever. You should get this book.
In the meantime, have a great day!