December 22, 2015 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

AftermathAftermath by Chuck Wendig


I’m sure there were other people out there who, like me, left The Force Awakens and wanted to know more about what happened between the end of Return of the Jedi and the new movie. I’m also certain that some folks knew about this book, which supposedly went into detail in that respect. I’m hoping that others weren’t tempted to buy this book, like I did, because this is the biggest waste of time, fiction, and money I’ve seen in a long time.

I’d like to think that the first requirement of a Star Wars book be that it make you feel like you’re in that universe. Aftermath does not accomplish this. Much of the story centers around a fractured mother-son relationship and dodging crime bosses, enough so that in parts it could have been set on present-day Earth without much change to the narrative. The author brought in Wedge Antilles as a secondary character, and even threw in one (one) scene with Han Solo, but the only time I could visualize Star Wars was when Wendig went back and talked about events from Return of the Jedi. Apparently one of the main characters of this story was in the attack on the shield generator on the moon of Endor, and she reminds us of that in several different places in the story. I thought that the scenes set on a Star Destroyer might make me think of that universe, but no, those just felt like standard military stories. The only things here that made me think of Star Wars were the names; nothing about the story, characters, or settings took me there.

The writing itself wasn’t good, either. Wendig’s style is chock-full of sentence fragments, run-on sentences, non-existent characterization, and dull plotting, and to top it off, he writes the entire story in the present tense. There’s nothing in this story that stuck with me, and very little about the story was exciting. I simply couldn’t care about what happened to any of the characters; in fact, for much of the book, I was struggling to remember which character was which, since between the main players of the central story and the new characters brought in for the interlude scenes, there were a heaping helping of them.

I had real issues with the language, too. Wendig feels compelled to use modern language in the world of Star Wars, including the uses of the words “bummer” and “frag”. This isn’t the kind of language used in this universe. Also, in one place, Wendig uses the word “shoot” instead of “chute”, and later he uses the word “hale” instead of “hail”. This is ridiculous. I can accept a typo here and there, but homophones? How do those make it into a book? And how does an editor not find and correct those kinds of errors? This is the first book I’ve read by Chuck Wendig, but I can assure you it will be the last. I’m a little shocked that this isn’t his first book, as poorly written as it is.

This was the first Star Wars book I ever read. I understand there are some excellent Star Wars books out there, and I even have Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire series in my to-read stash. I also know there are some good writers out there who have at least a passing interest in the world of Star Wars, so I’m puzzled as to why Disney went with this author above any of them. This book is terrible.

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