- Author: Chuck Wendig
- 410 Pages
- Published in 2015
- Placement in Timeline: Within a year after Return of the Jedi
What It’s About
The Rebellion scored a huge victory over the Empire with the destruction of the second Death Star over Endor. It was a decisive battle, but the war isn’t completely over yet. The surviving Imperial elite are scattered and vie for power, but a secret meeting is taking place on the planet Akiva–a meeting coordinated by Admiral Rae Sloane–to bring together the remaining Imperial might and make a plan to remake the Empire.
Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles is doing some reconnaissance, searching for useful intelligence for the New Republic concerning any Imperial activity. He comes across Sloane’s Star Destroyer and is caught.
Nearby, another Rebel pilot, Norra Wexley, is returning home to Akiva after her participation in the Battle of Endor. She’s been gone for three years, and is returning to her teenage son, Temmin, that she left behind. She runs into some trouble with the Imperials herself, but escapes, only to find her son in trouble with the local criminal gangster, Surat Nuat. She senses trouble brewing on Akiva and wants to get her son off the planet, but he has other plans.
Sinjir Rath Velus, former Imperial loyalty officer, is on Akiva getting drunk. Escaping after the Battle of Endor, he’s been keeping a low profile, drowning his regrets in drink. When he realizes there’s an increasing Imperial presence on Akiva, he decides it’s time to leave. He needs a ride off the planet, however; the current Imperial blockade makes that challenging. He’s told he can possibly find a ride–but he’ll need to see the aforementioned criminal Surat Nuat.
Jas Emari is a Dathomirian bounty hunter on Akiva to assassinate someone for the New Republic. Her target is a moneylender named Arsin Crassus, a man who the Empire borrowed heavily from, and she has him in her sights. However, he arrives with several Imperials: Admiral Sloane, Admiral Pandion, General Jylia Shale, and others. She decides to try to bag them all and get a much bigger payday.
All of these characters–Norra, Temmin, Sinjir, and Jas–will come together to try to save Wedge and capture the Imperials for the New Republic, but they’ll have to learn to trust each other on the way.
What I Thought
I’ve been avoiding this trilogy for some reason, choosing to read other canon books when this one seemed like the clear choice to start with. It tells what happened after Endor, after all. So why did I avoid it?
I’m not sure, but I think I read conflicting reviews about it beforehand, with some people disliking it for the writer’s style, too many characters to keep track of, uneven storytelling, etc. I should know better, as I always want to decide for myself whether a book is “good” or not (a very subjective matter in the first place).
But I’ve recently been feeling the need to read this trilogy, as its events form the crux of many other canon references, including: Cobb Vanth, who shows up in the Mandalorian, originated here; the importance of Jakku as told in Lost Stars, as well as the battle debris we saw in the sequel trilogy; and the characters of Norra and Temmin Wexley and their relation to Wedge Antilles, as I read about them in Resistance Reborn and wondered about their past. It’s all connected in the new Canon. So it was past time to read them, and I was genuinely curious now.
I can understand why some readers don’t like Chuck Wendig’s writing style. It’s very different than what we’re used to seeing in Star Wars books, and it’s a little jarring at first. He likes to use incomplete, sometimes choppy sentences, and is quite fond of colons and dashes. It did irritate me at first, but I got used to it. And it actually helps to make it a fairly quick, easy read, considering its length.
As far as the story goes, it’s good. I like the characters, especially Sinjir–he’s got a very droll sense of humor. Despite the fact that he was an Imperial–and a bad man, in his own words–I like him. He’s been drifting, numbing himself with drink, but once he meets these others and gets involved, he realizes he’s been looking for a sense of purpose. He’s not sure if it’s the New Republic or not, but it’s certainly not the Empire anymore.
I didn’t like Norra Wexley that much in Resistance Reborn, but that book wasn’t about her; this one centers more on her damaged relationship with her son, Temmin (who later becomes “Snap” Wexley). She feels guilty about leaving him for so long, but her husband Brentin (and father to Temmin) had been dragged away in the middle of the night by the Imperials for his Rebel activity, and she felt she could somehow find him if she fought in the Rebellion. She never did find him, and now that she’s home, she finds her son angry at her for leaving him, for choosing the Rebellion over him. Can’t blame the kid, really. He’s learned to live without her and resents her coming back home to tell him what to do. The tension between them is painful to watch.
Peppered throughout the book are snippets of stories (“Interludes”) about how others across the galaxy are dealing with the end of the Empire and the rise of the New Republic; one of these stories has Cobb Vanth in it, as mentioned above; Mon Mothma is in another, and later in the book we hear from Han Solo and Chewbacca, who find out they have a chance to free the Wookies on their home planet of Kashyyyk from enslavement. But mostly, the Interludes center around ordinary people and how they react to the events that are taking place in the galaxy at this time, which offer interesting perspectives to the whole thing.
So yeah, there seems to be a lot going on in this book, but I didn’t find it overly confusing or messy. I enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to the next two installments of the trilogy.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Lightsabers