Book Review – Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Aftermath

The second Death Star has been destroyed, the Emperor killed, and Darth Vader struck down. All major victories for the Rebel Alliance. But the battle for freedom is far from over.

Determined to preserve the Empire’s power after its defeat in the Battle of Endor, the surviving Imperial elite are converging for a secret summit to consolidate their forces and prepare for a counterstrike. Above the remote planet Akiva, as Star Destroyers gather like deadly birds of prey, rebel pilot Wedge Antilles finds himself the sole witness to the looming threat—only to be capture before he can alert the Alliance. Meanwhile, former rebel fighting Norra Wexley has returned to her home on Akiva, ready to leave the ravages of war behind. But when she intercepts Wedge’s urgent distress call, she knows she must help, no matter the cost. What she doesn’t know is how close the enemy is—or how dangerous her mission will be. Together with her technical-genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and an Imperial defector, Norra prepares to take the fight to the resurgent Empire—and do whatever it takes to end its oppressive reign once and for all.

Aftermath by Chuck Wendig is unique among the Disney Canon of Star Wars novels, being the first among them to deal specifically with the fallout of the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. While I had personally chosen before now to linger in fiction that takes place amidst the first six films, it was this largely uncharted territory that had me especially looking forward to starting this novel and the subsequent sequels that make up the Aftermath trilogy. Despite the Emperor’s fall and Darth Vader’s redemption the war is not over, as the tagline says, and I was eager to see the more in-depth details of the true end to the Galactic Civil War.Read More »

Book Review – A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller

Summary

Ever since the Jedi were marked for death and forced to flee Coruscant, Kanan Jarrus has devoted himself to staying alive rather than serving the Force. Wandering the galaxy alone, from one anonymous job to another, he avoids trouble—especially with the Empire—at all costs. So when he discovers a deadly conflict brewing between ruthless Imperial forces and desperate revolutionaries, he’s not about to get caught in the crossfire. Then the brutal death of a friend at the Empire’s hands forces the ex-Jedi to make a choice: bow down to fear, or stand up and fight.

But Jarrus won’t be fighting alone. Unlikely allies, including a bomb-throwing radical, a former Imperial surveillance agent, a vengeful security officer, and the mysterious Hera Syndulla—an agent provocateur with motives of her own—team up with Jarrus to challenge the Empire. As a crisis of apocalyptic proportions unfolds on the planet Gorse, they must stand together against one of the Empire’s most fearsome enforcers—for the sake of a world and its people.

StarWarsANewDawn

A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, released September 2, 2014, was the first Star Wars novel published as a part of Disney’s new canon for the franchise. It is also said to be the first narrative product of Lucasfilm Story Group, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd. founded in 2013 with the responsibility of determining all Star Wars Canon. The novel serves as a prequel for the television series Star Wars Rebels, featuring two of the lead characters Kanan and Hera, telling the story of how they first met six years prior to the series.

To be honest, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to reading this book. On my laundry list of new Star Wars novels to read it ranked pretty low in terms of my enthusiasm. There was nothing inherently wrong with it, only I had no meaningful investment in the Rebels series. So, I was not particularly attracted to the idea of diving into its prequel. What I failed to consider, however, was that a novel like this might be precisely what I’ve been looking for.Read More »

Book Review – Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

Summary

In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. And when he orders the massacre of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council can see no alternative but to take drastic action: targeting the Empire’s most cold-blooded disciple for assassination. But Dooku is dangerous pretty, so the Council decides to bring both sides of the Force to bear—teaming brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous ex-Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served Dooku runs deep, Ventress’s hatred for her former master runs deeper. Determined to have vengeances and let go of her Sith past, Ventress must balance her growing feelings for Vos with the fury of her warrior’s spirit—and resolves to claim victory on all fronts. It is a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy … and her own doubt.

DarkDisciple

Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden is one of the new Disney Canon Star Wars novels, published in 2015. The novel is based on a storyline originally written by Katie Lucas as an eight-episode arc for the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. These episodes were not completed due to the show’s cancellation. Initially this novel felt more like an obligatory read for me. I hadn’t seen through the show yet, but wanted to read the new canon novels, so I picked it up alongside Tarkin by James Luceno almost a year ago.  Having recently finished watching the series finally, I became excited to start it. Not without its faults, I’m grateful that it exists, having given some closure on Asajj Ventress, a major recurring character throughout the series.Read More »

Book Review – Tarkin by James Luceno

Summary

Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the imperial ranks, enforcing his authority mercilessly while pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. But insurgency remains a genuine threat. Guerrilla attacks by an elusive band of freedom fighters must be countered with swift and brutal action — a mission the Emperor entrust to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome Sith enforcer, and Tarkin, whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy…and its enemies’ extinction.

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Tarkin by James Luceno is part of the new Disney canon of Star Wars, after all of the previous extended universe (EU) stories were reduced to “Legends.” I bring this up because Wilhuff Tarkin, the book’s titular character and villain from the original Star Wars film, had an extensive history established in the EU. Some of it has apparently been adapted here, but if you’re invested in those old stories I’m afraid they no longer apply. I’m coming at this book with virtually no knowledge of Tarkin’s history outside of what was established in the films, but I wanted to acknowledge that this isn’t the first time Tarkin has been given more backstory. For better or worse, however, this is now the backstory.Read More »

Book Review – Lords of the Sith

Summary from Goodreads

When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.

LordsoftheSithCover

Published in 2015, Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp is one of the new canon Star Wars novels, taking place between the films Revenge of the Sith and the novel Tarkin. Set on and around the planet Ryloth, the story focuses on the relationship between Darth Vader and the Emperor, as well as the Free Ryloth Movement led by Cham Syndulla — a recurring character from the Clone Wars series — who plot to overthrow the Empire by assassinating Darth Vader and the Emperor in one fell swoop.Read More »