Aftermath: Life Debt is the second book in a trilogy series that covers the events in the Star Wars universe after Return of the Jedi and leading up the The Force Awakens. You might remember when I read the first book in the series that I was not overly impressed with it. Sadly, not only do I have many of the same complaints about this current book, but I also have a whole lot more.
After reading the first book and now this one, I think that a massive opportunity has been wasted. The books are just not that interesting. Life Debt just feels badly put together, and again the main story is broken up with the only sometimes interesting interludes (was that a Boba Fett tease?).
So the cover of the book has the Millenium Falcon on it, and this plus the words “life debt” just scream “Han and Chewie” and so the book must be all about Han and Chewie right?
Yet again we have to put up with the annoying and uninteresting new main characters from the first book, including the ridiculous Mister Bones who adds nothing but a Jar Jar Binks level of stupidity to the story.
Finally, in chapter 16 – page 187 of 430 – Han turns up. Yay! Time to get back in touch with everyone’s favourite scruffy looking nerf herder.
Han is written so differently from the Han we know and love that sometimes he is barely recognisable. Can you really imagine Han saying something like “We’re going to have to get out of there fast as blaster” Whaaaaat. This, and a lot of the book, just read like shitty fan fiction rather than rock solid new canon entries. I’ll give you some more examples:
“He’s certainly handsome. A boyish rogue. Has would, given half an invitation, mount him like a turret.”
“She senses pluck and wit and steel and blood and a keen mind and by the blood of Alderaan is this one going to be a good fighter?” (Leia)
This is narrative written by a twelve year old.
And to further put the boot in, sometimes the narrative structure just fails completely. Going back to the scene where we finally get to see Han, he comes out of the dust outside and in the middle of a field and says to the group “Name’s Han Solo, Captain of the Millennium Falcon, who the hell are you?” and then the very next scene is in a bar and Han says to them “Who are you and what do you want?”. Do you see the problem here? What did they talk about in between when they met in the field and then sat d0wn at the bar? Did they travel in silence? It makes no sense that a question would be asked and then not answered in the time it took them to get there. Even if the bar was close by, did they all just say nothing the whole time?
The mischaracterisation continues with Wedge and his “romance” with Norra. In one scene Wedge is written as waiting for Norra to return and he is holding a handful of flowers. Puh-leez, this is one of the most bad ass pilots in the galaxy yet he is written like he is an idiot.
The fact of the matter is that at no time while reading this book could I imagine a soaring John Williams score behind the events unfolding on the page. It is badly written, disjointed, and the only reason I and no doubt many others will continue reading is for completion purposes since we are childhood fans and not because we are riveted to the story and absolutely must find out what happens next.