Empire’s End – Chuck Wendig

Synopsis: EVERY END IS A NEW BEGINNING.

As the final showdown between the New Republic and the Empire draws near, all eyes turn to a once-isolated planet: Jakku.

The Battle of Endor shattered the Empire, scattering its remaining forces across the galaxy. But the months following the Rebellion’s victory have not been easy. The fledgling New Republic has suffered a devastating attack from the Imperial remnant, forcing the new democracy to escalate its hunt for the hidden enemy.

For her role in the deadly ambush, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane is the most wanted Imperial war criminal—and one-time rebel pilot Norra Wexley, back in service at Leia’s urgent request, is leading the hunt. But more than just loyalty to the New Republic drives Norra forward: Her husband was turned into a murderous pawn in Sloane’s assassination plot, and now she wants vengeance as much as justice.

Sloane, too, is on a furious quest: pursuing the treacherous Gallius Rax to the barren planet Jakku. As the true mastermind behind the Empire’s devastating attack, Rax has led the Empire to its defining moment. The cunning strategist has gathered the powerful remnants of the Empire’s war machine, preparing to execute the late Emperor Palpatine’s final plan. As the Imperial fleet orbits Jakku, an armada of Republic fighters closes in to finish what began at Endor. Norra and her crew soar into the heart of an apocalyptic clash that will leave land and sky alike scorched. And the future of the galaxy will finally be decided.

“HELLO. I AM ENJOYING THIS HUG, TOO. HUG HUG HUG. A HUG IS LIKE VIOLENCE MADE OF LOVE.”

I’ll begin by giving myself a congratulatory pat on the back because LOOK, FOLKS! I FINISHED ANOTHER SERIES!! Trust issues, be damned! I did it!!

::ahem::

Anynoodles.

Empire’s End is the final book in the Aftermath trilogy. The series takes place between Return of the Jedi & The Force Awakens, with war the ongoing focus. It began as a rebellion, but has since transformed into this power struggle between the Empire & the Republic. As you may have guessed from the title.. this is the story of the fall of the Empire. This conclusion shows us various perspectives in those last days, which added another layer to the politics of the government. We also find out how the First Order begins. This is all important lore that happens before The Force Awakens, which just adds that much more depth to the Battle of Jakku. And yet.. we’ve *still* just barely scratched the surface of this timeline. ::brain explodes::

Norra Wexley & her ragtag crew have been tracking Grand Admiral Rae Sloane after the events that took place on the New Republic planet of Chandrila at the end of Life Debt (which was my absolute favorite installment in this series!) They are determined & they want revenge.

Sloane is on a mission all her own – one that involves hunting down the mysterious Gallius Rax, Palpatine’s protégé.

Eventually, the stories collide on the sandy planet of Jakku & the fate of the galaxy is determined.

“Suddenly she understands Gomm–the sun and dust have blasted his sanity away, like a coat of paint scoured free. And she wonders if sanity is really just that–something to be worn off, a veneer that with enough pressure and effort can be stripped away. Civilization, too, can fail the same way, can’t it? Scraped down to nothing, leaving only the raw metal of anarchy and oppression behind. And madness. That is the Empire. That is what it has done to her and to the galaxy. A corrosive force, eating away at everyone and everything.”

Yet again, Wendig’s interludes were some of the best within Empire’s End. This time, we are given a beautiful story surrounding one of the most.. erm.. controversial, characters to have graced Star Wars. The one & only Jar Jar Binks. Then.. then there is Lumpy. FUCKING LUMPY OF ALL CHARACTERS!! Only Wendig would be able to bring us Lumpy in the way that he does. Spoiler alert – at least part of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special is now canon!

There were intense battles, brutal deaths, twisty revelations.. but also incredibly gut-punchy, tender moments, especially between the little Solo/Organa family unit. One scene that has stuck with me since finishing the book happens towards the end with Han & newborn Ben. It was bittersweet, to say the least. It’s also a bit of foreshadowing, I’m hoping. FINGERS FIRMLY CROSSED!

Empire’s End wrapped up many loose threads, but also left some dangling. The Aftermath trilogy is definitely worth checking out for its iconic characters, a tightly paced plot & passionate storytelling!

-Holly

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