Here is a review of an upcoming science fiction novel. I give you prior warning, this review is far from positive. Expect to see bruised pages and battered fonts.
Author and Genre
This is the latest spasm to be thrown out by the reanimated corpse of the Star Wars franchise. While I definitely plan on watching the new film, this novel is so far from my wishlist that a tractor beam couldn’t bring it back.
A free excerpt is available on the official Star Wars website (click here, or don’t). I did check and re-check to make sure it was in fact the official website, because the caliber of the writing assured me it was a fan-fiction post. It is not.
The genre is, of course, science fiction and the novel was written by Chuck Wendig. He is, I am assured, a professional author with his own blog here (again, click at your own peril).
Here’s what it says on the tin:
“We all remember the last time we saw Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca together. There were fireworks. There was celebration. The second Death Star had just been obliterated, the Emperor was dead, and Darth Vader was no more. But revolutions come with a price.
There’s over 30 years of space between Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and that’s enough time for a lot of conflict. And a new trilogy of books to tell us what happened.
The first installment, Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig (Blackbird, The Blue Blazes), releases September 4 and begins immediately after the victory celebration on Coruscant seen at the end of Return of the Jedi. As it turns out, the fight for freedom wasn’t truly over. Check out the exciting excerpt below.”
We’ll start with the synopsis. It doesn’t really say very much except that “between the movie Lucasfilm made and the one Disney is releasing, some things happened!” While there is absolutely nothing to commend this synopsis to the reader, I can find no glaring faults with it either. So lets sharpen our quills and move on.
“The sound like a giant bone breaking.
A fracture appears at the base of the statue.
More cheering. Yelling. And—
Applause as it comes crashing down.”
That was an excerpt from the preview on StarWars.com with the original paragraph structure. I am thoroughly confused at this point. Is the entire novel written in poetic verse?
I’ve seen one-line paragraphs used in fiction many times. They can be an excellent way to create a sense of atmosphere or suspense. But these recur over and over again in the preview chapter alone. Stacking so many one-liners together makes the novel read like an amateur screenplay (as one discerning comment-writer pointed out).
Would I recommend it?
If you enjoy having action described at you by a blank, shapeless, dispassionate narrator in short comic book bursts then this is the book for you. A great many people will certainly buy it as an addition to Star Wars canon, but I don’t think it is that.
This is more like an addition to Disney canon than anything else. In light of that, I suspect that this might have been aimed at a young adult or even child audience (regardless of the fact that many Star Wars fans are now in their forties). However, I think this novel would be aiming low for even a young audience.
As a graphic novel or film, it could have been something altogether more enjoyable.
You can read less scathing reviews of better books here.
Find my novel and tell me why you hate it here.