Lit Aftermath: Empire's End (book 3) by Chuck Wendig

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Jedi Ben, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    My review of the book:

    http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/2017/03/star-wars-aftermath-empires-end-by.html

    Chuck Wendig had a pretty hard road ahead of him when he took upon the Aftermath trilogy as he, essentially, had to replace the entire Star Wars Legends Expanded Universe by creating a history that replaced the 100+ books which chronicled the period from the Battle of Endor to when the Empire finally surrendered in Timothy Zahn's Visions of the Future.

    Wendig's task was somewhat mitigated by the fact that instead of a twenty-year guerilla war by the Empire's remnants, it's a much more sedate six months between the death of the Emperor to the Battle of Jaaku where the Imperials are defeated. Still, his three books received a good deal of criticism for their focus on new characters rather than Han, Luke, and Leia as well as minor interludes. Still, I was looking forward to how the book wrapped up the plots and what hints they'd give toward the rise of the First Order.

    The premise of the book is Gallius Rax, agent of the deceased Emperor, has successfully scuttled attempts by the New Republic and Empire to make a peace treaty. He has also withdrawn all of the Imperial fleet to the planet Jakku in hopes of setting up a massive conflict between the two sides. Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, stripped of her position, now hunts him with ex-Rebel Brentin Wexley. Huntin them both is Norra Wexley and her crew who believe Sloane masterminded Rax's terrorist attack on the New Republic Senate. Meanwhile, Mon Mothma fights an attempt by a rival Senator to seize her position after the attack makes her look weak. Eventually, they will all meet up at Jakku to decide the final fate of the galaxy.

    Ultimately, I think the book did a decent enough job of fulfilling its primary purpose in explaining how the Empire was brought to its knees. Gallius Rax has been suspected of running a con against his own troops for some time and the realization he's been working for Emperor Palpatine the entire time in order to initiate a "scorched Earth" policy similar to Hitler's is a neat bit of storytelling. It also fits that Palpatine would set things up that no one could inherit his throne save, perhaps, a Sith Lord like Darth Vader who would suspect such a thing. This truth is revealed early in the story and a pleasant surprise as I was of the mind Rax would turn out to be an agent of the still-mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke.

    I also like the examination of the trouble the New Republic is having in defining itself beyond being against the Galactic Empire. Mon Mothma is determined to make the Empire's existence almost incidental to them while her opponents believe destroying it is their primary concern. Honestly, I think Wendig is a bit harsh on the side which believes you can't build a new government until the old one is completely dismantled. Indeed, the ending to that plotline with Mothma's rival leaves a lot to be desired. I think the heroes' position also changes several times in order to accommodate whatever is convenient for the story and keep our sympathy. Ditto, the "villains" operating on Chandrilla.

    Of all the story arcs in the book, I have to say I liked Rae Sloane's the best. Mostly because it doesn't go in directions I expected. Continually, she's confronted with the Dark Side (*rimshot*) of the Empire only to try to make excuses like it was Gallius Rax's doing or that Palpatine was the real problem. It's interesting, also, to see how Imperial ideology has twisted her even when she's one of the more "sane" Imperials. Indeed, that sanity blinds her to the faults of other members of the organization. How it ultimately resolves leaves me thinking about her character in ways I don't normally with Imperials.

    I have to say I actually liked the character of Norra Wexley as a protagonist far more than I expected to since I considered her story somewhat boring in previous books. As the unwilling single mother with a teenage son turned guerilla fighter, she's a character who has had her own emotional journey throughout the story. Norra isn't a Jedi, determined to do the right thing, nor is she a bad person. It makes her story all the more personable. I even started liking her romance with Wedge Antilles, even noting that she's probably about fifteen years older than him. Which, hey, isn't a big deal. Love where you will.

    There's a couple of areas I didn't much care for: the aforementioned handling of Mon Mothma's rival (you, sir, are no Borsk Fey'lya) as well as the fact Wedge Antilles seems to be written as a midle-aged man versus a man barely older than Luke Skywalker. I also think Sinjir, a former Imperial interrogator, getting a position as high as he does at one point is straining credulity. Still, I overall liked everything in the book and enjoyed quite a few moments I wouldn't have expected to. For example, Jar-Jar Binks makes his first cameo in years and it actually fits as a final fate to the character. That, alone, was worth the price of purchase.

    In conclusion, I have to say this was a very entertaining book. It's not really a great substitute for the Legends Expanded Universe but it fulfills its purpose in saying, "So, what happened to the Empire after Endor." Gallius Rax was an excellent villain, Grand Admiral Sloane was well-written, and we got to see all of the arcs of the series' characters wrapped up. Could it have been better? Maybe. Maybe a series centered around Han, Luke, and Leia would have been better but I enjoyed this for what it was.

    8.5/10
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Mar 25, 2017
  2. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    More like a year - but still short.
  3. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    I'm generally okay with this as I think it tends to promote a galaxy which is not in constant need of putting out fires like the DC or Marvel universe.

    Still, I hope we get Han, Luke, and Leia against some non-Imperial/FO threats sometime.
  4. vncredleader Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2016
    star 4
    I can see that but I would almost like the DC Marvel approach. like things are ok for a stretch of time and then you get an event comic sort of thing like Isard. Of course it would have to be good unlike event comics. And not murder your wallet also like event comics............why do we have event comics? Oh yeah $$$$$$
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  5. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    One area I'd like to see with Disney is to do what Warner Brother does with DC comics.

    Lots and lots of animated movies set in the Star Wars universe as Direct to DVD.

    Adaptations of things like Aftermath and so on.

    With luck, they could get Lena Headey to do Norra.

    :)
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Mar 25, 2017
  6. vncredleader Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2016
    star 4
    I keep saying the same thing. Animated direct to dvd SW films would be great. I kinda like the idea of even adapting old eu things from time to time out of continuity.
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  7. Jid123Sheeve Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 2016
    star 4
    Hey i've advocated that for years. Though you'll probably lose something in adaption....That gives me my idea for forum BRB.

    Edit @vncredleader @Charlemagne19 If you guys wanna continue the adaption discussion further I made this http://boards.theforce.net/threads/adapting-eu-books-into-animation.50044739/
    Last edited by Jid123Sheeve, Mar 25, 2017
  8. DarthIshyZ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2005
    star 6
    All parents here, show of hands. Page 410. "My son. How the hell did that happen?" Yep. That's how it felt to me, too! *raises his hand*
  9. Dawud786 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2006
    star 5
    What is the Aftermath timeline? I thought Ben Solo was born around 1 year after Endor... but EE certainly makes it sound like Mon Mothma and Wedge have been enduring years of transition from Rebels to government since Endor.


    I kind of feel like Aftermath is a blunder. Maybe it's just that I find Nora and crew pretty "meh." I'm not at all interested in them as characters. Wedge has been entirely mishandled. I also feel like having Luke walk away from the galaxy this early is kind of a misstep. Seems he would be fairly closely involved in whatever continued clean up and liberation or Imperial-occupied worlds there would be before deciding to spend who knows how many years trying to dig up Jedi artifacts and gathering information before he even starts training people.

    I'm sure there's an argument to be made for the near total collapse of the Empire after Endor, but it's not ringing true for me right now. Perhaps the EU is still too weighty in my mind, it just feels rushed to me.
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  10. BeesInABar Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2015
    star 1
    TBH, Luke wandering off after Endor seems more in character the more I think about it. What does he do after Hoth? Borrows an X-Wing and does his own thing for who knows how long without telling anyone. After Han's rescue? Borrows an X-wing and takes off for what was clearly intended to be a longer trip than it was. What's Luke doing in the comics right now, shortly after Yavin? Running off to do Jedi stuff without telling anyone. It seems clear that the new canon is playing up Luke's determination that success for the Rebellion/Republic lies in ... wait for it ... the return of the Jedi. (Which makes his lack of progress over three decades feel a bit worse, admittedly.)
    I mean, there has to be a reason Luke's still a Commander as of Endor, while Lando and Han - some guy who just walked in and the one who's been literally asleep for the past year - have made General. Wouldn't surprise me if Luke was basically checked out of the war after Hoth.


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  11. Chris0013 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2014
    star 4
    Rax was trained by Sheev from a young age to be the Contingency. Tarkin was a true believer but also a pragmatist. If Tarkin was around he would have stopped Rax and put himself in charge of the Empire. I think in his own mind Tarking considered himself 3rd in line and he would have had the ruthlessness and power to make it happen.
  12. Pfluegermeister Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2003
    star 4
    I would have to imagine that the Contingency - like the Sith Grand Plan itself, and like ANY plan hatched in the mind of Darth Sidious - is something that changed as conditions on the ground changed. Maybe, at one time, the Contingency may have found a place for Tarkin, but the moment Tarkin died, Sidious would have done as he had always done: adjust the plan to make sure he compensates for the change but can expect to achieve the same essential results.

    But WAS Tarkin ever supposed to have a role in the Contingency? Doubtful to me. Rax had one apparent goal: to fudge everything up. That's not Tarkin’s character at all; he's an order freak, not an agent of chaos. But if, as I still suspect, the Contingency included the mandate to take the most fanatically loyal, battle-hardened remnant to the Unknown Regions to start over, then I could see Tarkin being considered for the Sloane part before his death wrote him out of the equation.
    Last edited by Pfluegermeister, Mar 30, 2017
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  13. jamminjedi23 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 19, 2015
    star 4
    All three books take place between 4ABY and 5ABY.
  14. Pfluegermeister Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2003
    star 4
    I'll elaborate: according to close notes I took while reading the trilogy and to Wendig's own statements, the first novel is set three months after Endor; the second novel is set five to seven months after Endor; the third novel is set eleven-and-a-half to twelve months after Endor.
    Last edited by Pfluegermeister, Mar 30, 2017
  15. Force Smuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 7
    Don't forget the prologue and epilogues taking place between TPM and AOTC.
  16. Pfluegermeister Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2003
    star 4
    Certainly not forgotten, but as I've previously mentioned, the timeline of the flashbacks is a little confusing and contradictory to me, and that hasn't been satisfactorily straightened out yet.
  17. Darkslayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2013
    star 6
    Well George did recently tell SLJ that Mace is alive...
  18. Dawud786 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2006
    star 5
    That just makes it all feel more rushed than I thought. I know Wedge has been at it almost a decade with the Rebellion, but his hangar scene in EE reads (well, sounds because audiobook) like Endor was YEARS ago and they've been building the Republic for a while now and all the veteran Rebels are chaffing under the beuracracy that's effectively shut them out. Mon Mothma comes off like that as well.

    I'm not sure I buy it. I definitely don't like Wedge being sidelined like this.
  19. GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin + Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    I don't think starting over in the UR has anything to do with the Contingency. That's pure Rax. The flashback with the chess thing suggested the Emperor wanted to burn it all down, end of.

    But one theory that I heard on twitter that I quite like is that the Contingency and Rax may have been a test for Vader. This is intriguing because 1.) ROTS established that unlike in the EU, Palpatine really did want Vader to succeed him 2.) both the EU and canon is replete to the Emperor throwing things in Vader's path to keep him on his toes and to develop his Sith nature.


    Missa ab iPhona mea est.
  20. Darkslayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2013
    star 6
    I just finished the book yesterday. Easily my favorite of the trilogy. Rax, Sloane, Mon Mothma, and Jas were all great.

    Getting back to a topic that was discussed several pages ago: I feel like the Contingency was not supposed to make the Empire not outlive Palpatine - I think Palpatine just didn't want the control of the Empire to fall to anyone except a Sith.

    Heck in ROTS he straight-up tells Yoda that he's OK with Vader someday replacing him.

    I liked @GrandAdmiralJello 's idea of Rax not being right in the head and so being an unreliable narrator. To me that makes a lot more sense than straight-up contradicting what the first six films showed us.
  21. Taalcon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 1998
    star 4
    I bet there's a holo, or one of those PalpatineFaceDrones hiding somewhere with a message for him. "Greetings, Apprentice. I'm dead. Whether you killed me yourself or someone pathetically passed you by and stole your right is of no matter. Your training is still incomplete. I still have secrets you have not learned. You're still nothing more than my apprentice. At this moment, My Empire, and the rest of my secret knowledge, is going down with me. It's all over, Lord Vader. Everything you've done, every decision you have made, every action has been for... nothing. Unless... unless... you can ... regain control. I have crafted an impossible scenario for you to overcome. Accomplishing the impossible is the only way you have to claim your mastership and prove you have any degree of worth. I believe you to be pathetic and weak. Now is your chance to finally prove me wrong. I would rather the Legacy of the Sith die than perpetuate with someone as weak and pathetic as I believe you to be. Farewell, Lord Vader."

    ... and then Ben finds it, and wants to reclaim the Empire so he can finally be the Reigning Dark Lord of the Sith that Grandfather never fully and completely accomplished. "I will finish what you started." IE, solve Palpatine's Dilemma, his path to the Dark Lordship.
    Last edited by Taalcon, Mar 31, 2017
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  22. Todd the Jedi Mod and Soliloquist of SWTV - ON VACATION

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    Oct 16, 2008
    star 6
    So reading Aftermath I can't remember if I thought of anyone in particular for Sinjir, but now reading Life Debt and based on his recent successes, I totally see Dan Stevens (with his natural accent obvs) in the role.
  23. Vorax Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 10, 2014
    star 5
    Palpatine was actively seeking to replace Vader since his fall on Mustafar, whether or not he wanted another Sith Apprentice after him, is more obscure until he sets his sights on Luke. He obviously never cared about any of apprentices, he just wanted a young enforcer and servant. Sidious had no plans to let his Empire be taken over by anyone else, it was to turn on itself and self destruct essentially taking out everyone in the process and create a dark age-like scenario sending the galaxy into a deluge of barbarism and ruin.
    Last edited by Vorax, Apr 7, 2017
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  24. ForcePushUp Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2016
    star 1
    OK I finished reading the 1st Aftermath book this week....yeeeeeeeeah....I didn't much care for it.

    From the sound of it though, the next two in the trilogy get better.
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  25. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Eh, if Vader couldn't put out a little fire like Rax then he wasn't worthy of it. It was just little a final housewarming gift to his ascendancy to master of the galaxy.