Sunday, November 26, 2017

Audiobook Review: Aftermath: Life Debt (Star Wars: Aftermath #2) By Chuck Wendig

Aftermath: Life Debt By Chuck Wendig
Publisher: Random House Audio
Release Date: July 12th, 2016
Format: Audiobook narrated by Marc Thompson
Source: Audible
My Rating: 
★★★ 1/3

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Set between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, the never-before-told story that began with Star Wars: Aftermath continues in this thrilling novel, the second book of Chuck Wendig s New York Times bestselling trilogy.

"It is a dark time for the Empire. . . ."

The Emperor is dead, and the remnants of his former Empire are in retreat. As the New Republic fights to restore a lasting peace to the galaxy, some dare to imagine new beginnings and new destinies. For Han Solo, that means settling his last outstanding debt, by helping Chewbacca liberate the Wookiee's homeworld of Kashyyyk.

Meanwhile, Norra Wexley and her band of Imperial hunters pursue Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and the Empire's remaining leadership across the galaxy. Even as more and more officers are brought to justice, Sloane continues to elude the New Republic, and Norra fears Sloane may be searching for a means to save the crumbling Empire from oblivion. But the hunt for Sloane is cut short when Norra receives an urgent request from Princess Leia Organa. The attempt to liberate Kashyyyk has carried Han Solo, Chewbacca, and a band of smugglers into an ambush resulting in Chewie's capture and Han's disappearance.

Breaking away from their official mission and racing toward the Millennium Falcon's last known location, Norra and her crew prepare for any challenge that stands between them and their missing comrades. But they can't anticipate the true depth of the danger that awaits them or the ruthlessness of the enemy drawing them into his crosshairs.
So I wasn't sure I was actually going to continue to read this series, because if you remember when I read the first Aftermath book I really DID NOT like it. I felt like these books are important to the story of how we get from Return of the Jedi to how we get to The Force Awakens, so I decided to give the second book a try on audio. Guess what? I liked it better, but I think that might be because Marc Thompson's narration makes books better for me. All his different voices for these characters made it really engaging and made me interesting in learning what was going to happen next.

What I like about this book is the focus on Norra and her team and their secret mission to rescue Han Solo & Chewbacca from The Empire on Chewie's home planet. I think Han Solo being in this novel did make me like it more, because there are some classic Han Solo lines in there. Marc Thompson does a really good Han Solo voice too!

Norra is an interesting character to me. She has a lot going on in her life, trying to be a single-parent during the aftermath of war is pretty tough especially when you son thinks everything that is wrong is your fault. I have a lot of bones to pick with Temim in this one. I think he is EXTREMELY unfair to his mother in this novel, and I just want him to grow up and mature. I do like that he started to bond with Wedge Antilles, and I think it was good for him to have a good role model like that. Temin is just...I would like to have some words with him about respecting his mother. (And this is when I realize I am OLD, because I am siding with the parents). I think he has a lot of growing up to do, and I don't know if he can do that it just one more novel, but I'm interested to see how his character develops at the end of this trilogy.

I also have to say the Mr. Bones is the best character, er droid in this novel! Listening to Marc Thompson do the battle droid voice is super entertaining. I also love his voice for Sinjir, it is exactly how I thought he would talk in my head. His fierce friendship with Jas is probably one of my favorite things about this novel. Jas is also a favorite for me, I have a soft spot for cold-hearted Bounty Hunters that just pretend they don't care, when they actually do.

While I did enjoy this novel a lot more than the first book, I still have some issues with it. Mostly it comes down to the interludes. I thought these were super distracting when I read the first novel, but listening to these were even more distracting. They don't really do anything to the main plot and feel really unnecessary. It really took me out of the story and I had to think, "Wait, who is this?" We never hear from these new characters ever again. The story would be fine without these interludes, it just feels like there are two books here. One with the short stories of how different people are affected by the war, and then the story about Norra's crew. It makes the book feel really disjointed. I am curious if this was an author decision or if this was something that the LucasFilm Story Group insisted was included in these novels. I could see it going either way, but I just have a real issue with how this story was structured.

This series is a hard one to say if I recommend you to pass on or not. They are definitely not my favorite, but I think the lore in it is important especially if you want to know what happens directly after Return of the Jedi. Star wars superfans like me that read all the books will probably read this one, but if you are just a casual fan and are looking into getting into the books maybe this is one you should pass. I think I just can't get past the weird structure of these novels, so this one was just "okay" for me.

Happy Reads Everyone!