I have been trying to get back into Star Wars books for a while now; I just kept finding other great books to read (*cough* Kubrick’s Game *cough*). Star Wars Aftermath is the first post-Return of the Jedi book that takes place within the new canon, therefore it’s pretty high on my list. I know some Star Wars fans are probably surprised that I would prioritize this book so high. Disney stepped on quite a few toes when they declared all other canon defunct (post-ROTJ). This is something I discuss in a separate post. Be that as it may, I’m one of those open-minded fans and I was willing to give this book a chance.
I try to avoid mentioning any spoilers; I prefer that people use my book reviews as an aid on deciding if it’s a book they would like to read. The point I am about to make isn’t really a spoiler but it is noteworthy. If you are expecting a book about where the Jedi go after the Emperor is destroyed, that isn’t what this book is about. In fact the Force has very little to do with any of the characters. The author takes us on a journey through the eyes of several different characters during the aftermath of the Battle of Endor.
Star Wars Aftermath Is Not About The Jedi
If you are hoping to read about Luke, Han and Leia then you will be disappointed. They have no involvement in the story, however there are some familiar names (ex: Wedge Antilles, Admiral Ackbar). You will follow an ex-Imperial Loyalty Officer, a warrior of the rebellion and her son, a bounty hunter and an Admiral of the Imperial Fleet. It takes place just a few months after the second Death Star’s destruction.
I’ll be honest I mostly enjoy reading Star Wars books where the main protagonist are Jedi. It will be a surprise if there will ever be a trilogy as great as Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. I do think Chuck Wendig is off to a decent start. The real trick, for anyone that has read any of the other post-ROTJ books, is letting go of the old canon. I think the author does a great job incorporating canon from Episodes 1-6 and canon from other media. If you are a gamer and you happen to play Star Wars: The Old Republic, then you will recognize the names of a few criminal organizations. In fact that is one of the things I enjoyed the most about this book.
As long as you are willing to embrace new canon, then I think you will enjoy this book. The book feels a lot like how Rogue One will feel. The telling of a story from a much different perspective.
Recreating new canon isn’t the only nest this book is stirring up. It is true that this book contains the first gay characters. It’s really not a big deal although I would argue that a character’s sexual orientation has never been pertinent to the story. No other Star Wars book that I have read has ever mentioned a character’s sexual orientation. The book introduces us to the first lesbian couple, the first homosexual protagonist and alludes to other same-sex relationships.
Again, I don’t really care what a character’s sexual preference is. The fact that there are gay characters doesn’t take anything away from the story, however it doesn’t really add any value either. The way the author mentions each character’s sexual orientation was very nonchalant or subtle. He is not ostentatious about it. It isn’t flaunted in the readers face, thus leading me to believe the intention was to be more contemporary and less about making a political statement.
Let’s face it, the trials and tribulations our society faces today does not need to be integrated into Star Wars lore.