At long last, the trilogy that began with Aftermath, the flagship title in Lucasfilm’s Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens publishing endeavor (man, remember that?) has come to its conclusion. By now, no doubt many of you have already voraciously consumed Chuck Wendig’s novel Empire’s End, but for those of you waiting to hear what the audiobook version narrated by Marc Thompson has on offer, I’ve got you covered.
It’s been one hell of a ride since we first got the first Aftermath book almost a year and a half ago and wow does Chuck Wendig bring us to an explosive yet satisfying finale with Aftermath: Empire’s End.
Warning: This book will almost definitely take you on a face journey so beware reading in public. Learn from my experiences. But on to the book!
The Battle of Jakku. That’s it. That’s the entire book. (Okay not really but mostly.)
Empire’s End emphasizes that it’s not the overarching end result that matters most but rather how the individual characters get there. While readers already know that Jakku is the Empire’s last stand, they only know part of the battle and they certainly don’t know the fates of the characters they’ve grown to know so well over the last year and a half. Good news: it’s one hell of a ride. All of the hallmarks of the trilogy remain present: Mister Bones is hilarious and homicidal, Norra Wexley is one of the most focused and driven individuals in the galaxy, the interludes take us to surprising places, and Gallius Rax and Brendol Hux are the worst while Rae Sloane is the best. (Okay maybe that last one’s just reviewer bias slipping in…) All of that to say: if you’ve enjoyed the roller coaster thus far, you’re going to get a huge kick out this last fast drop and loop-de-loop. Continue reading
Welcome back to Go/No-Go, Tosche Station’s regular feature where we offer our spoiler-free opinion as to whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a book, film, or other entertainment. Today on the launch pad: Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire’s End. The finale in our first post-Return of the Jedi trilogy, it’s a book that will definitely have people talking for a while. We here at Tosche Station kind of lost our minds over Life Debt but are we just as happy with Empire’s End? To mission control for the verdict!
Bria: AHHHHHHHH *takes a deep breath* AHHHHHHHHHH. Okay, now that that’s out of my system, I guess I have to use actual words to discuss Empire’s End. The final book in any sort of series is always tricky because expectations are riding high. Yes an author can tell you a great story but can they wrap it up in a way that won’t leave people going “Wait what?” or “That’s it?” Good news: Chuck Wendig does exactly that with Empire’s End. Unlike Angelica Schuyler, I am completely satisfied with how the stories of Norra Wexley’s team, Rae Sloane, and the Empire come to their end during the Battle of Jakku. Honestly, I don’t know the last time a series left me feeling so satisfied at the end. A great deal of that has to do with how well-handled the story lines for Sinjir and Sloane were. They are what really make the book. It’s also worth noting that Wendig’s prose has become better and better with each book to the point where I almost shed a tear twice. Just go read this book already. Seriously. Mister Bones commands it. Empire’s End gets an emphatic GO from me.
Nanci: I will admit, I felt the first two Parts of Empire’s End were very slow, and I kept drumming my fingers waiting for THE BIG ACTION(TM) to start. However, once the characters and plotlines begin merging together around a third of the way through the book, I found myself just as enthralled with the story as I did with Life Debt. I love the post-Return of the Jedi world that Wendig has created, I love the way he writes character arcs, and I love the way he bucks expectations about the way certain plotlines will play out. I will agree with Bria about Sinjir and Sloane’s character arcs carrying the most weight. Sinjir, for me, has been a standout of this series and I am super satisfied with how his arc as played out. (And I really can’t wait to talk about spoilers!) Even the minor characters, like Mon Mothma and Mas Amedda, receive a lot more depth throughout the series. Empire’s End is, without a doubt, a satisfying end to the Aftermath series. If you’ve been a fan, you will definitely enjoy Wendig’s conclusion. A definite GO from me.
Brian: I finished Empire’s End almost a week ago as I’m writing this and I cannot stop thinking about it. Concluding a trilogy is always a tricky proposition, because there’s so much to touch on and tie up, but you also can’t tie everything up neatly. Answer questions, but leave some room for the reader to wonder. But more than anything else, the final book has to be satisfying. And oh boy, Empire’s End meets that criteria and then some. From the conclusion of the arcs for the characters we’ve grown to love (and despise), to the big set piece action, to the seeds planted in the first book that suddenly make sense and matter so much, Empire’s End ratchets the Satisfying Score(TM) to 11. In particular, Sinjir’s arc in this book and series stood out to me. It’s an important one for so many reasons, both textually and outside of narrative. The care in which it was handled deserves praise. The only other thing I’ll say is there’s a spot near the end where, as I was reading it aloud, I cried. That’s how attached I had become to these characters. And that’s a testament to the quality of this book, and the series as a whole. Empire’s End is Star Wars as it should be. Full of action, full of intrigue, full of drama, full of adventure, full of emotion. Is Empire’s End a Go? Absolutely. It’s a wholehearted GO.
Amanda: I finished this book approximately a hot minute ago. And I’m about to read it again. The book did everything I wanted it to do. I laughed, I got misty-eyed, I laughed some more. The politics of the New Republic come to the forefront for a time in this book, so while others might have spent that period waiting for PEW-PEW, I spent those pages riveted by intrigue and cleverness. The characters we have come to know from the OT and those who have only joined the Star Wars family via the Aftermath trilogy all meet with fitting (although not exclusively happy) ever-afters. The story has been carefully and deliberately crafted over the course of these three books in a way that gives us a payoff that’s well worth the time and energy to read them. It just keeps getting better and better. With excellent cameos from OT familiars and Legendary favorites, as well as moments that made me excited for the future of Star Wars, for me Empire’s End is an unmitigated GO.
Flight Director’s Ruling: Empire’s End is a GO for launch!
Stay tuned for further (spoiler-filled) discussions about Empire’s End here on the blog and the Tosche Station podcast network over the coming weeks!
Note: An early review copy of this novel was provided by Del Rey
This week on Tosche Station Radio, Bria joins us to preview Celebration Europe and review Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig! Spoilers ahead.
Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of Majestic Giraffe Productions. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store and Google Play. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Look. I enjoyed the first Aftermath book well enough and it held up favorably during a second reading but Life Debt blows it out of the water. Maybe it’s the broader scope of the story, maybe it’s the inclusion of more familiar characters, maybe it’s the story itself. I don’t know. Point is: Life Debt is one hell of a fun read. Continue reading
Welcome back to Go/No-Go, Tosche Station’s regular feature where we offer our spoiler-free opinion as to whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a book, film, or other entertainment. Today on the launch pad: Star Wars: Life Debt. The second in our first post-Return of the Jedi trilogy, it’s a book that’s certain to get a lot of chatter over the next few months. We here at Tosche Station all rather enjoyed Chuck Wendig’s first Aftermath book but how do we feel about the second? To mission control for the verdict!
Dunc from Club Jade joins us this week to review Aftermath and where it stacks u to what we had seen in Legends!
Kicking off the show, the hosts highlight What’s New on the Blog. We had our Dragon Con 2015 coverage! There were Aftermath reviews from Bria, Emily, and a Go/No-go. Nanci reviewed Lost Stars and Bria wrote about Nash Windrider and the True Power of the Empire. Nanci reviewed The Weapon of a Jedi and Bria reviewed Moving Target. We have a new staff writer, Matthew Bowers! He reviewed the Rebels Season 1 blu ray set and the Rey’s Speeder LEGO set. Finally, Bria reviewed Darth Vader #9, Star Wars #9, Lando #4.
From there we head to Fixer’s Flash, where the hosts have been busy with Dragon Con and reading. Deak’s Dirt is light this week, but Biggs’ Bull#&$! brings word of Rogue One and Episode VIII filming!
On Camie’s Concerns this week, we take a look at Aftermath. What do we think of it, and where does it stack up to what we saw in Legends? Could it be that our memories of Legends might be a little rose-colored? Tune in and find out.
Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of Majestic Giraffe Productions. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Two weeks ago, I had the honor of moderating the Aftermath panel with author Chuck Wendig. I was super excited for this event because, as I explained at the start of the panel, I love Star Wars, I love the Expanded Universe, and I love Chuck Wendig’s writing.
I was nervous, of course, as I always am before panels. Even though 2015 marked my third year (!!!) doing panels at Dragon Con, and even though I’ve been co-hosting the podcast for over 3.5 years (!!!!!), I still worry about freaking out while talking in front of a crowd. Not only that, but this was my first panel interviewing someone famous and my first panel without Brian on stage as well. I was all on my own. Could I handle the pressure? Would I say something really dumb? Would I have to run off the stage to barf?
Thankfully, none of those things happened. (Of course they didn’t. Anxiety sucks!) And most of that had to do with the fact that Chuck Wendig is a hilarious and awesome human being. I’d had a few Twitter exchanges with him prior to the convention, and met him the night before the panel at his Barnes and Noble signing. It was comforting to know he was just a regular guy, and that he would be just as tired as I was come Friday at 8:30 pm after not going to sleep until some godforsaken hour that morning. (We were up all night to get Star Wars!)
Welcome back to Go/No-Go, Tosche Station’s regular feature where we offer our spoiler-free opinion as to whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a book, film, or other entertainment. Today on the launch pad: Star Wars: Aftermath. It’s our first book set after Episode VI in the new canon and is the tentpole of the Journey to the Force Awakens. No, it’s not Heir to the Empire, but the start of something entirely new. Is it worth your time? Does it live up to the hype? Should we stick to Legends instead? To mission control for the verdict!
I usually hate reading present tense prose, at least in professional fiction. It’s always lent itself to fanfiction in my mind for some reason, so when I read the first excerpts of Aftermath when they were released, I wasn’t impressed.
Boy, was I wrong.
I read Aftermath in between feedings and diaper changes of our new little Jedi-in-training, and every time I set the book down, I looked forward to picking it back up again, and had the book come out before Little Jedi’s arrival, I probably would have read it all in one sitting.
Many of you know that I am, by trade and training, a professor of literature. So while the rest of our staff has reviewed Aftermath based on its content, I want to focus on the style and why it works so well for this novel.