(edit: I added some pictures. - Brent)
Review of Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire's End
I've been waiting on this book for a while, ever since Aftermath: Life Debt came out back in July. Just like that novel took the premise from 2015's Aftermath and built on it, Empire's End continues that upward trajectory, building toward a climax that wraps up the trilogy nicely, sets the stage for Episode VII, and provides tantalizing hints about what might be revealed in Episode VIII.
Here's what I really liked:
- Characters die in this book. That was, in my opinion, a weakness of the old Star Wars canon; you pretty much knew that the Heroes of Yavin would not die. Here, with the new characters, that's not the case, and that increases the dramatic tension.
- While I was put off a bit by the focus on new characters in the first book of this trilogy, and gratified by the shift toward beloved heroes in the second, this book does a good job of tying together those different emphases in a meaningful way.
- For me, the use of present tense in the first book of this trilogy wasn't too distracting; in this novel, I hardly noticed it at all.
- This book does an even better job of setting up the state of the galaxy following the Battle of Jakku. I feel the urge to run an RPG campaign set in this time period.
- Empire's End does a good job of incorporating elements from various new and old canon sources, including the Lando comics, the Outbound Flight novel and the old Dark Empire comics.
- Rae Sloane is, I think, my favorite character from the new canon. From a being who seemed to be a relatively minor villain in A New Dawn, she has developed into a really interesting persona.
Here's what irked me:
- At times this novel seems grittier than what I expect from Star Wars. That doesn't happen a lot, and I know that it's useful for increasing the dramatic tension, but sometimes it seems like too much.
- While I know that this novel can't reveal much about the details that will emerge from Episode VIII, I guess I'd hoped for more. Some of the big questions left unanswered by The Force Awakens remain unanswered.
All in all, I recommend this novel to anyone who's interested in the sequel era; it brings the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion and sets the stage for the new trilogy.