Star Wars: Aftermath – Life Debt book review

Two months ago, in a lockdown that had only just started but seems so far, far away…

I finished reading Chuck Wendig’s excellent Star Wars Aftermath novel, a story that picked up 4ABY but featured very few TOS characters or even mentions of them.

Picking up roughly 1ABY later, Life Debt does add in some canon central characters but largely still focuses on the new crew in a continually unpredictable story that narrowly improves upon the previous instalment. It’s refreshing and compelling, as the perennial issue of knowing that certain characters have to survive unscathed for later Skywalker Saga instalments (largely) doesn’t apply here.

The chapters set on Kashyyyk are relentlessly paced unputdownable writing and my favourites of this follow-up, but the (more sparse this time) interludes also continue to impress as they provide information about nooks and crannies of the galaxy previously unexplored. My favourite focused on what happened to everyone’s favourite Rancor trainer, Malakili. I didn’t realise I needed to know what happened to him after the events at Jabba’s Palace in RotJ, but, as it turns out, I really did. I’m now eagerly awaiting his own spin-off novel or comic series.

Sinjir remains the most compelling main character, but he’s closely followed by the well-developed antagonist of book one, Admiral Rae Sloane, who is afforded serious page and word count on her way to becoming the most developed Imperial leader since Grand Admiral Thrawn.

The story itself is slowly but surely filling in the space in-between VI and VII but I was left unsure, at times, whether this was always a positive thing, as it had that RoS effect of shrinking the galaxy back down to a handful of planets rather than expanding it. I reserve full judgement until I’ve read the threequel: Empire’s End.

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