Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt
This review may contain spoiler material or content for those that have not yet read Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt .
To everyone whose heart goes a-flutter every time Han Solo steps onto the screen or onto the page …
– Chuck Wendig
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …
The pursuit continues for Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and Norra Wexley leads the hunt with her makeshift band of Imperial stalkers. And yes, not much time has passed since they lost track of her on Akiva, but the New Republic presses onward. Fighting to restore peace to the galaxy, they have no time for sorrows and remain relentlessly hopeful for new beginnings and a better tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Han Solo is on a personal mission of his own – settling his overdue debt to longtime comrade and copilot, Chewbacca. His homeworld of Kashyyyk is under Imperial slavery and Han is determined to liberate the Wookiees – go big or go home. In other words, he’s not leaving without Chewie.
As usual, Han’s courage gets him right back in the mess and Leia dispatches a message of urgency to Norra Wexley. Ultimately, breaking her away from their original operation and careening the team toward the Millennium Falcon’s last known whereabouts. Only, danger awaits them at every parsec along the way and the enemy’s grip is right on the Moth’s tail.
Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt picks up right where Aftermath left off and our ragtag-band of heroes haven’t even had a moment to spare – let alone have time for sorrows for the fallen. Aftermath laid the foundation for this stupendous sequel of grit, gruff, and grime. Like the gelatinous fluid of bacta, Chuck Wendig, cohesively gelled these literary adaptations to the Star Wars universe and in doing so beat the odds, by brilliantly bridging this uncharted timeline together. In the words of Han Solo, “Never tell me the odds!” comes to mind and rightfully so, in my opinion.
Getting to the heart of the matter, or in laymen’s terms: “the meat and potatoes” are the characters themselves. Granted, there are the return of familiar faces i.e.: Leia, Han, and Chewie to name a few, but the most fulfilling character developments come from our original cast and crew from the prequel Aftermath a.k.a. “The Moth Crew” and of course, the ever-so heedful Admiral Rae Sloane. Again, as I mentioned above, the cohesiveness of this next phase of the storyline is remarkably tip-top and undoubtedly sturdy – Life Debt gives these characters the backbone we were waiting for and then some!
Throughout the course of the novel, we see this team up close and personal. We see their familial bond growing, along with the normal wear-and-tear of growing pains any family endures over a period of time. In other words, it’s relatable and it’s nostalgic Star Wars.
But speaking of family, Star Wars wouldn’t be Star Wars without the Skywalker’s. And while we may not get much Luke, as in, just a few mentions here-and-there, we do get a whole lot of Leia.
Leia is a key element to the story, not just in this piece, but in general. It’s vastly apparent that she is the glue that holds this damaged family together. The heart and hope for something far greater than themselves, but for the entire galaxy and all those living within it. A realist by nature, yes, with a desire for her brother’s farmboy naivety, Leia is anything but weak minded. Strong and determined, and set on her goals for unity, she is also coming to grips with her innate and unique abilities. Through the careful instruction and guidance set-in-place by Luke, Leia focuses on the Force via the living force – a tree sapling from Endor. With these meditations, through Leia’s connection during her pregnancy with Ben, we see the continuity of light and darkness embracing the Skywalker family tree. From Force visions through dream sequences, to sensing impending danger, Leia’s resolve for forbearance is stunning and comes to life with every turn of the page.
And yes, Han is revived through this fantastic piece of literary work and his loyalty for Chewie is heartwarming. He truly does care … for some. What he’s willing to risk for his furry friend is something we’ve never had the chance to watch/witness or play out on the big screen, but Life Debt gives us that minds-eye view of this duo’s devoted dynamics. It’s brilliantly choreographed and literally screams: Han and Chewbacca! As in, “Chewie, get us out of here!”
While the New Republic rebuilds itself, so does the Empire. There is a new shadow growing on the horizon, slowly emerging and biding his time by cleverly pulling the strings, one pawn at-a-time. As Admiral Sloane wears the face of the recovering Empire, it is Gallius Rax that really rules the roost, so to speak. Native to Jakku, Gallius Rax stumbled upon his fate by sheer whim, and by doing so, sealed it by becoming part of the overall plan that has been set into place some three decades ago …
“Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.” – Sheev Palaptine
That said, what has been going on under the sands of Jakku? And why, of all locations, pick Jakku? It’s evident that Palpatine’s plans go beyond that of the chosen one, but what exactly was he planning for? An excavation site for the possible protection of Sith relics that are imbued with the dark side and placed under the protection of a meager stowaway — simply put, I’m mind blown! Bring it on, Mr. Wendig, I’m ready for Star Wars: Empire’s End and the battle of Jakku!
*Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, Del Rey Publishing, a division of Random House Publishing, LucasBooks and Disney trademarked — was released July 12th, 2016 and is now available in: hardcover, paperback, and e-reader/kindle versions.*
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!
*You can find Becca on Twitter @urangelb or at any of these affiliated outlets: @thcantinacast @TarkinsTopShelf @TGRStarWars or contact her directly via email at Becca@thecantinacast.net or firstname.lastname@example.org and to read more of her Star Wars ruminations go to: Becca’s Chava Chats & TheBeardedTrio.com