6 February 2016

Hi-Five: A Review of Aftermath, Chuck Wendig

It came to pass that this family saw The Force Awakens and peace settled upon the house-hold. Truth be told, the kid really wasn't swayed to the light or dark side of The Force, continuing his love-affair with The Hulk while us, his parental units disassembled the screening with any sentient being that crossed our paths weeks past. Too much has been said about the seventh installment to the franchise that I am reluctant to add my voice to the monster of dialogue. The verdict is perched on a sliding scale of popular culture, fluctuating from liking to loathing dependent fully on the reviewer and whose audience it targets. As for this girl, I had a romping good time but I wasn't looking for anything beyond that. My childhood does not need to be validated by whether the Millennium Falcon could survive a jump to hyperspace so close to a planet's gravitational pull. 

What I prefer to contribute to the on-line mayhem is not my cinematic stance but my hi-five enthusiasm for the newest addition to the Star Wars book franchise, Aftermath by Chuck Wendig. 

A visit to any large bookstore chain's science fiction section will familiarize yourself with the phenomena that are the fan inspired Star Trek and Wars novels. These books seem to breed on the shelves, sadly giving the entire genre a bad name. It should be noted that at no time has this girl actually read a Star Trek novel, hence having no leg to stand on and should be taking accordingly. The little, however, I have read from the Star Wars universe inspired a similar level of annoyance that only the new Dune books have been able to rise in me, thus providing a sliver from a shelf to pontificate on. Timothy Zhan's Thrawn trilogy was a brilliant failure, exemplifying an author's ineffectiveness to see beyond the pre-existing narrative. Most of my reading time was spent equally internally editing the blandness, and pining for proper sentences. 

The war is so very not over in Aftermath. The Empire having lost the Battle of Endor, the death of the Emperor, Darth Vadar, and countless of soldiers and support staff is supposedly limping to it's demise. A new world order struggles to secure through the galaxy as planet after planet begins the slow process of renewed identification. The brilliance of Chuck Wendig's adaptation is the harsh realism he envelopes over pop-culture's beloved G-rated space fairy-tale. This is not the Star Wars we have been weaned on for decades, this is the Star Wars your mother would definitely not let you're 10 year-old self watch. 

Aftermath offers an adult version of our childhood heroes and villains. Power is not Dark nor Light but a reflection of political economics. A holovid of Princess Leia beams across the galaxy proclaiming the destruction of the Death Star over the forest moon of Endor, willing the myriad of local governments to align with the New Republic. Is this the proclamation of peace or well-crafted propaganda? The fall of any great civilization is more than a one-act play. The Battle of Endor is the keystone; of and to what degree is unclear. With power as the novel's theme, it provides the necessary framework for a narrative that moves to the fantastic, offering seemingly impossible feats of luck for the rag-tag protagonists. A novel that could easily become trite is saved by layers of governmental intrigue on both sides of The Force.

If you are looking for a light read, something that dabbles within the Star Wars universe, while managing to expand your imagery of a world already well-defined, Aftermath is your book.