Some people loved Aftermath by Chuck Wendig. Others simply hated it, and another portion felt uninspired by it. I fall into the latter. I should preface this by saying that I haven’t read about 98 percent of Legends books, so I’m entering this new era of canon content with a clean slate and with an open mind. I should also preface this by saying that the Force Friday novel that caught my attention the most was Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, and that book was an absolute surprise and set the bar pretty high in the Journey to The Force Awakens storytelling initiative. So when I picked up Aftermath a few weeks after its release, the only thing I wanted from it was a good story. Nearly two months later, after putting it down over and over because I didn’t feel compelled enough to read through it, I finally just skimmed to get to the end. It’s hard to admit, but that was the reality of the situation.
The novel had so much potential, but personally, what held it back were the interludes and the writing style. For a lot of people, the interludes were the best part. To be honest, I didn’t like the interruptions. Were they interesting? Sure, but they were distracting and would have been better placed as appendices at the end of the book or in a different book altogether. The writing style was also a distraction, and oftentimes, a road block. I’m sure that style fits in Wendig’s original stories, but for a Star Wars book, I found that the two didn’t mix well for me. Also, the excessive use of the colon nearly drove me insane.
What did work for me? Strangely enough, the characters. I know a lot of people didn’t care much for them, but there were a handful of characters that I really liked and would love to see again (preferably under a different writing style or author). I’m probably the only Temmin Wexley fan in the galaxy, but it’s mainly because he reminded me so much of Ezra Bridger from Star Wars Rebels. He was a kid who was left on his own, raised himself, and picked up a few neat tricks along the way. I also really loved his relationship with Mr. Bones and the struggle he had in re-establishing a connection with his mother (who I also loved because since she reminded me of my own mom). He made mistakes–foolish ones–but I definitely want to see more of him in the future. I also want to see more of Sinjir Rath Valus. In my mind, Sinjir was played by Oded Fehr and that really helped in getting through certain parts of the story because I just wanted to keep learning more about him. Jas Emari, the reluctant hero with a code, was also another favorite of mine and I absolutely loved the fact that she was related to Sugi from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Other than those particular characters, I didn’t really connect with anyone else. Rae Sloane is an awesome character in general, and even though I love the diversity in this novel, I never really connected with her. There was also Jom Barell, who arrived too late in the novel for me. In my skimming and desperate act to just finish the book, I, unfortunately, didn’t learn much about him. That’s partly my fault. When I get bored with something, I tend to riffle through it very quickly just to get a gist of what it’s about. As for Wedge Antilles, this was my first time being exposed to that character outside of the movies, so I’m sad he spent most of the time tied up and beaten up for me to get to know him.
With the sequel coming out next May, I really do want to go back and re-read Aftermath because I want to give the story and the characters a fair chance to properly sink in. Overall, the book wasn’t as bad as certain fans made it out to be, but it also wasn’t the best. I am glad, however, that the book debuted at #4 in the Bestsellers list from both the New York Times Bestsellers and USA Today and that it connected with a lot of fans. Personally, I felt that it needed more work, especially since it was the primary book leading the Journey to The Force Awakens program.