It’s here! Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig hits bookshelves today. The second novel in the Aftermath trilogy, which chronicles a slice of small- and large-scale events in the Star Wars galaxy after Return of the Jedi, Life Debt takes place somewhere between six months and one year after the Battle of Endor (and before the Battle of Jakku).
Here’s the thing: With a title like Life Debt, you immediately start thinking about Han and Chewie and their relationship. But the problem is, any significant arrival of Han and Chewie in the story doesn’t happen until about halfway through the book. I mention this to you not as a spoiler, but to set your expectations for the novel. I found myself getting impatient for their involvement in the story, and I think if I had known that in advance, I would have been able to relax into it and enjoy it more.
It turns out that Life Debt is an apt title, even if nothing of the novel has to do with Chewie’s legendary debt to Han. In fact, it’s the other way around, for a start. It’s also about the debt Norra Wexley owes to her son, Snap Wexley (Greg Grunberg’s character in The Force Awakens); what Snap feels he’s owed by Norra; the debts bounty hunter Jas Emari owes because of her aunt, and how that affects her decisions and loyalties; and the balancing of the scales that ex-Imperial loyalty officer Sinjir Rath Velus is trying to do – whether for himself or for the galaxy – all the while increasingly uncomfortable with doing bad things even if it’s for a “good” cause.
Meanwhile, the interludes from the original novel are back, including a couple that touch on events from the previous interludes. There aren’t as many as there were in the previous novel, though.
Also, if you weren’t a fan of Wendig’s writing style (as some vocally weren’t) in the original Aftermath, you’ll find his style is less staccato than in the original novel of the trilogy. Personally, I missed that, and I hope to see more of it in the final novel in the trilogy, Empire’s End (coming out next year).
If you put me on the spot and asked me which I liked better, the original Aftermath or Life Debt, at this point, I’ve gotta go with the original. That said, there’s a lot to like about the new novel, a lot to enjoy, and a few interesting things to discuss – including an ending and epilogue that seem like they could bear very strongly on the Sequel Trilogy. More on that in future episodes!
Trivia Time!Test your knowledge of the Star Wars universe!
Yesterday’s answer: Three
Today’s question: What’s the first order Captain Phasma gives to Finn after they arrive back on the Star Destroyer?