I’ve been sitting on writing this review for a while because this book ended up being pretty contradictory for me. In the end, my rating averages out to a low 4 stars.
Mostly objective rating of writing quality: 5 stars! I note that this is mostly objective because I like a fast-paced narrative style that gets the story going and doesn’t waste time on meanderings about atmosphere and theme. If that’s less in your favor as a reader, this book will be harder to get through for you.
Incredibly subjective rating of story content based on decades of love of the Star Wars franchise, including the now defunct extended universe novels: 3 stars. Maybe. It was tough. I really didn’t dislike the story. I was entertained by all of the characters even though I didn’t love any of them. It was a conversation with the friend who runs a Star Wars RPG campaign I’ve been part of that settled it for me: The novel reads like an RPG campaign. It hit all the major character archetypes. Some great cliffhanger moments where the characters made saving throws to avoid total loss of hit points. Lots of non-player characters with their own agendas to move the story along at critical moments.
Interspersed throughout the major storyline were snippets taken from events taking place in the galaxy at large. Unfortunately, most of those were the stories that I wanted to read instead. I know they were supposed to set us up for THE FORCE AWAKENS, but instead I felt like I missed out on a lot more, such as the liberation of Kashyyyk or the political machinations taking place in the new Senate. I can write that here because none of that is a spoiler. The snippets set up great events and never follow through. And if you’ve read this far, you probably already know that we don’t get any of that info in Episode 7, either.
Reasons you should read AFTERMATH: You want to read everything Star Wars-related. You want to read everything written by Chuck Wendig. You want to get great plot and conflict ideas for your own Star Wars RPG campaign. You want to feel morally outraged because Wendig has the audacity to include fantastic representations of diversity without becoming cliché or pandering.
But if you want to read a truly great Star Wars novel that does a bit better job of tying into Episode 7, read LOST STARS by Claudia Gray instead.
Rating: (low) 4 out of 5 stars.