Star Wars: Aftermath – Empire’s End (2017) – Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig unleashes the final part in his trilogy chronicling the canon events following The Return of the Jedi and culminating with the Empire’s fall at the Battle of Jakku.

All the characters we have gotten to know over the past two novels are here, Norra Wexley, her son, Temmin ‘Snap’ Wexley, Sinjir, Bones, Gallius, Grand Admiral Sloane, and even the familiar faces of Leia, Han, Mon Mothma and Ackbar.

Tightly paced, it plays out rapidly and the last quarter of the book is the epic battle that sees the Empire’s final collapse. But there are other events and actions that lead us to those moments.

Political games, encounters with devious Hutts, Imperial remnants, and the rising threat of organised crime in the New Republic all play out as the discovery of a last Imperial stronghold on Jakku thrusts our heroes to war once again. Perhaps for the final time.

While I wasn’t the strongest fan of the first book, both follow-up volumes have been wonderfully paced Star Wars tales worthy of the name. Wendig has taken the characters that bridge Jedi with The Force Awakens and made them own, while making them at home in that galaxy far, far away.

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The story moves along like the Falcon in hyperspace, and the story is engaging, and the characters have become friends. I will say this, there is a body count. Not everyone gets out of this one alive, and that grounds the book nicely, because it costs our heroes so very much to claim their final victory.

It only makes sense, storywise that we lose characters by the end of the book. The dramatic tension has to come from somewhere for the final battle, I mean, we already know that the New Republic won. We just had no idea what that effort cost them.

I like how the story plays out, and interspersed through the tale, just as in the previous books, are interludes that allow us to catch up with familiar characters, some recognisable at first glance, some revealed to those who know their lore.

When I first started the trilogy, I was upset that the main characters from the Original Trilogy weren’t front and centre, but I slowly began to realise that they couldn’t be the constant heroes for countless years, soaring in at the last moment to save the day. There are more than one set of heroes in this epic tale of good and evil, and this series introduced a whole new generation of them.

The Wexley name, while not as famed as the Solos, Skywalkers, or even the Antilles, proves itself a very important one in this trilogy of books, and I was glad to be able to travel with them for awhile.

Check out the trilogy now if you haven’t read them yet. And…

May the Force be with you.

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