I just finished reading the latest book in the Star Wars Aftermath series Empire’s End. This is the third and final installment in the series, and as such, I wanted to share my thoughts on the finale. There will be spoilers in this post. So if you haven’t read the Empire’s End, or if you still haven’t finished either of the first two books, you may want to stop now.
The Aftermath Series
The Star Wars Aftermath Trilogy, written by Chuck Wendig, bridges the gaps between the battles of Endor and Jakku. Like many Star Wars novels, the Aftermath series is an ensemble piece that follows the exploits of Rebels, Imperials, soldiers, spies, bounty hunters, droids, and diplomats. It introduces readers to new characters like Sinjir Rath Velus, Jas Emari, Jom Barell, and the Wexley family, as well as Gallius Rax and Grand Admiral Rae Sloane of the Imperial Navy. The story also follows the exploits of more familiar characters like Leia, Han, Chewy, Lando, and Mon Mothma.
As the title Aftermath suggests, the books explore what happens to the galaxy after the death of the Empire and the destruction of the second Death Star. We see the formation of the New Republic as well as the internal strife of the surviving Imperial leadership. What may be most interesting is that we get to see the last orders from Emperor Palpatine carried out after his death.
The first novel in the series, Aftermath, was released in September of 2015, just months before Episode 7. Life Debt, the second in the series, came out in July of 2016, and the conclusion to the series, Empire’s End, came out in February of this year.
Empire’s End Review
The book wastes little time picking up where the last one left off. Wexley’s crew is hunting down Sloan, while Gallius Rax makes final preparations for the upcoming war against the New Republic. We get quite a bit of Rax’s backstory and learn more about his interactions with Palpatine. We also see a number of political machinations amongst the New Republic positions.
One of the things I enjoy about this book is how the various stories weave together. Wendig did a marvelous job in the first two books creating characters that are worth caring about. Seeing those
Now, some of the things that bothered me about the first book in the Aftermath trilogy don’t seem to be as big of a problem. I think one of the major differences between the first book and this one is the reader, more specifically Audible. I read the first book while I listened to the second, and did a combination of the two for the third.
There are a few things I like about listening to a Star Wars book over reading it. As much as I love reading, listening to the book brings the universe to life with additional sounds and ambient noises. Also, the present tense of the story doesn’t feel so jarring while listening as it does when you first start out reading it.
Another thing I enjoy about Empire’s End is that it raises more questions than it answers. At the end of the first book, we are introduced to Gallius Rax, although not by name. He is a surviving member of Emperor Palpatine’s inner council and one who’s intent on carrying out the Sith’s final order.
It is heavily speculated that Rax is, or eventually becomes, Grand Master Snoke. But in the waning moments of this final installment, Rax dies at the hands of Sloane. This makes his becoming Snoke quite impossible. I was disappointed in Rax’s death, hoping that he would make his way into the hierarchy of the First Order. Now, as nothing is guaranteed, we could still see him show up. Who knows?
As this is the final installment in the series, there were some events that were more heart-wrenching than others. Deaths and character end that didn’t come to the conclusion I would have liked. But, that is what makes for a more compelling story, when what you want to happen doesn’t happen and you as a reader are left with the results.
I won’t go into exactly what I mean because I don’t want to spoil too much.
Overall, I would say Empire’s End is worth the purchase. It’s a fun read that connects the original series with the newest. Star Wars Aftermath Empire’s End is available on Audible and on Amazon in both digital and physical forms. Did you read Empire’s End? What did you think about the book? Leave a comment in the section below and let’s talk about it.