I watched “The Last Jedi” a couple of days after its release and was smitten. After the epicness of everything that happened in it, I needed more of that universe. I was not ready to let go.
In my thirst for more of Star Wars, I went online and was randomly browsing Wikipedia, when it occurred to me that I could read more Star Wars books! I did read “Rogue One: Catalyst” (and reviewed it) which I think really enhanced the movie for me, so I began my search for suitable adult novels. I didn’t want to read just about Luke Skywalker’s adventures or anything labels Young Adult. I came across the trilogy “Aftermath” by Chuck Wendig and immediately went to my library overdrive and requested the first book in audio.
And, oh boy. What a treat it was!
I think Star Wars books are perfect in audio. They have all the sound effects of space ships, engines and the infamous swish of laser swords. “Aftermath” trilogy is narrated by Marc Thompson and he does an amazing job with his accents and intonations. Especially, his British drawl of a bored ex-Imperial Officer is the best. And there I was, thinking that Jonathan Davis was the best narrator. But Marc did it for me in this book.
By the way, both Jonathan Davis and Marc Thompson were in audiobook adaptation of “Nimona” by Noelle Stevenson, and believe me, you have to listen to that one!
As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance—now a fledgling New Republic—presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but he’s taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.
Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, former rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world—war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’ urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn’t know is just how close the enemy is—or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.
Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit—to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on Norra and her newfound allies—her technical-genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector—who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire’s oppressive reign once and for all.
All of my fangirling over voice acting aside, “Aftermath” is a solid first book in the trilogy. There is enough recap and flashbacks of previous events to keep you in the loop of what is going on. The action is a bit filmlike - flipping back and forth between the scenes as if we are watching a movie, often leaving us in the middle of an action scene to show something else. Plus, the obvious use of “deus ex machina” device and making sure nobody important died, because of the Hollywood reasons. Some characters could have used a bit more fleshing out and development, but otherwise baddies are bad, and goodies are good with enough grey edges in-between to keep you sufficiently invested in the story.
Aside all little things that work really well on screen, and not so much in a book, I really enjoyed the action and plot. Perhaps, there weren’t that many “oh my god” moments at the beginning of the book but there were enough plot twists that kept me happy in the end.
I am usually rather wary of books based on movie franchise (I still remember The X-Files books which were not very good, to put it mildly), but this was a great choice and I can’t wait to continue with the series.
My favourite characters are Sinjir, Mr. Bones, and Admiral Sloane. Sinjir is an ex-Imperial Loyalty Officer with an interesting backstory, keen perception skills and a dry sense of humour that I absolutely love (especially when he complains about things). He is also the first gay character in Star Wars universe, which is huge (and I pray to all gods that he does not get killed in a stupid way). Admiral Sloane is an Imperial Admiral, who is incredibly smart and ambitious. But she is not blinded by Galactic Empire's slogans and thinks beyond the commands that she is given. I can’t wait to see how her character develops. And, Mr. Bones is just a crazy droid, which is very funny.
My biggest problem with this audiobook lied in the fact that it took me some time to get used to the names of characters, places and planets. I had not trouble following the plot thanks to the masterful narration by Marc, but I sometimes felt a bit lost, trying to recall if I had ever seen that particular planet or race in the movies. Googling helped, although I still worry that I might spoil myself by accident (happened to me before, sadly).
The plot could have benefitted from more depth at times, and I would probably rate it at 3 stars, however, the narration was so perfect and helped to bring the characters to life, that I am adding a star to it.
Rating: 4 stars