Star Wars: Aftermath – Life Debt (2016) – Chuck Wendig

 

Chuck Wendig takes us back to a galaxy far, far away  with his second instalment in his Aftermath series. Covering the event and years after the events of Return of the Jedi, Wendig seems to be much more at home in the universe this time around, and crafts an involving stories as we catch up with the characters he introduced in the previous novel, as well as catching up with the familiar personages of Han Solo, Leia Organa, Wedge Antilles, Mon Mothma and Admiral Ackbar.

Norra Wexley, her son Temmin,bounty hunter Jas, the droid Bones, Jom, ex-imp Sinjr and the crew of the Halo continue their hint for Imperial war criminals, until Leia reaches out to Norra for help…

Han Solo has gone missing.

He and Chewbacca set off in the Millennium Falcon with the bold plan of liberating the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyk. But Chewie is captured and imprisoned, and Solo makes a run for it, and is now trying to find a way to rescue his friend, and free his planet.

Leia, blossoming into pregnancy, is desperate for the return of her husband, but the government of the New Republic doesn’t think the time is right to free Kashyyk, and with Solo now a private citizen, he doesn’t rate highly on their priorities.

Enter Norra and her crew.

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But things aren’t going to be easy, the Empire, though splintered, still poses a serious threat as Grand Admiral Rae Sloane continues her plans to reestablish the Imperial rule, with a puppet master behind her pulling and orchestrating events, people, and a terrible plan moving into action.

Wendig, having established these new characters in the first book, lets them grow in this one, and we learn more about them, understanding their motivations, desires, and commitments.

Which makes a number of the events that occur throughout the course of the book, including the climax, rough to handle emotionally. But that is to be expected, being the second part of the trilogy, a series of dark things have to happen, as well as the final revelation of something bigger going on that we aren’t aware of yet, which will, no doubt lead to an epic battle in the last book, a battle that we’ve already heard of, but haven’t seen happen yet.

Norra and her crew, meld nicely with the established characters, and Wendig has a nice way of capturing the feel of the original series, while leading into the events of The Force Awakens.

The trilogy concludes with Empire’s End which is due out January 2017. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out, knowing what things have to happen, and how things will work out for all involved.

A lot of fun, and a strong step forward from Wendig into a larger world.

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