The final part of Wendig’s Aftermath Trilogy, Empire’s End builds on everything established in the previous two books.
The characters entire arcs come to very pleasing (to the readers) ends, some which we expect and others we don’t.
Storylines come together, for the main characters and those featured in the Interludes, giving us a greater perspective of life a year after the fall of the Emperor.
This book has a lot, action, drama, politics and enough Easter eggs to make that infernal bunny hang around for months.
The main focus of the book is Jakku and the Imperial occupation of the planet and what the heroes of the trilogy are doing in the time leading to, during and after. The team is split up for the majority of the novel, with Norra, Mister Bones and Jas teamed up on Jakku hunting for Rae Sloane who in turn, with Nora’s husband Brentin, is looking for Gallius Rax so she can murder him and regain control of the remnants of the Empire. Temmin and Sinjir are on their own adventure full of political intrigue and espionage.
We also get arcs featuring OT characters. Han and Leia return and help Sinjir and Temmin uncover a plot within the Senate to not go to Jakku to defeat the Empire. Which ties in to a storyline featuring Mon Mothma. Essentially all of the threads weaved in the past two books all come to fruition here.
After the tram go on a mission to extract information about Sloane from Bounty Hunter Mercurial Swift they head to Jakku only to find it under Imperial occupation. When they are attacked, Temmin evades the Imperial forces as Norra and Jas get into an escape pod and head for the planet. Temmin commands Bones to follow them, and barely in the nick of time Temmin and Sinjir jump into hyperspace, narrowly avoiding destruction.
On Jakku, after a heated argument, Jas and Norra agree to hunt down Sloane. On Chandrilla, Temmin and Sinjir go to Leia and Han for help, who in turn go to Mon Mothma, who is angry that Leia has sanctioned the teams actions without Senate permission but agrees that the New Republic should take on the Empire at Jakku.
On Jakku, Norra and Jas are captured by Stormtroopers whilst Sloane and Brentin are taken by Niima the Hutt and Jas is brought to Niima’s base by Swift and his crew. She escapes by breaking her horns and uses them to break her restraints and then as weapons against Swift before stealing his ship. Mister Bones rescues Norra from an Imperial work camp and they meet up with Jas in her new ship. They make a plan to stop Sloane who is part of Niima’s convoy, heading towards an Imperial base where Rax is located.
Sinjir and Temmin are given permission by Han Solo to take the Falcon to Jakku but they are stopped by Senate security, at the order of Mon Mothma’s political opponent, Tolwar Wortol who announces that Mothma had information on the Empire’s occupation of Jakku and held it back from the Senate. Sinjir smells a rat and goes to his former partner, Condor, a well renowned slicer, to help find out if there are any listening devices at Leia and Han’s apartment. It turns out to be in their Protocol Droid T-2LC.
Temmin, Han, Condor, Sinjir and Jom Burrell go on a mission to spy on a group of Senators who vote against attacking Jakku, after Mon Mothma pleads the case to do so before the Senate, to find out if they are being bribed (they are) whilst Mon Mothma causes a stir with Tolwar Wortol above Nakadia and he admits to manipulating the vote against Mon Mothma and bugging Leia and Han’s apartment. Once back with the Senate Mon Mothma pleads their case again and this time it goes through after the team manage to persuade the bribed Senators to vote to fight and also get rid of the criminals who are bribing them.
The Republic goes to war. Temmin guilts Wedge when he gets back to Coruscant to get Phantom Squadron, the pilots who joined Leia and Ackbar in aiding the liberation of Kashyyyk, back together to go to Jakku, using Wedge’s feelings for Norra to do so. Wedge gets them together, including Temmin who flies under the name ‘Snap’.
On Jakku, Niima’s convoy is obliterated, with the exception of Niima, Sloane and Brentin. Sloane and Brentin are picked up by Rax and taken to the Imperial base to watch the Emperors ‘contingency’ come to fruition. Niima helps Norra by giving her a uniform, access codes and an Imperial Shuttle. Jas stays with Niima and convinces Mercurial Swift’s crew to leave him and join her before killing the bounty hunter.
The Republic Fleet arrives, led by Admiral Ackbar and Commodore Agate and the Battle of Jakku begins. Phantom Squadron arrives and goes to the planet to provide air support for the ground forces. Temmin intercepts an Imperial Shuttle, but a quick thinking Mister Bones contacts his master, as it is the Droid and Norra on the shuttle.
Above the planet, Agate’s ship is damaged severely and as it begins to fall to the planet, the Commodore orders the fighters to attack the Super Star Destroyers engines. They do so and Agate uses her ships tractor beam to drag the Ravager down to the planet.
Norra arrives at the Imperial stronghold, and she finds Sloane and Brentin as they attempt to stop Rax’s plan, the Emperor’s contingency plan, to destroy the Empire and Rebel fleets in the event of his death which Rax alone was tasked to complete. They manage to kill Rax and stop the planets destruction but Brentin is killed.
Before he dies, Rax tell Sloane to take the surviving Imperials on his ship and meet with the remnants of the fleet in the Unknown Regions and gives her the co-ordinates.
On Chandrila, Sinjir goes to Mon Mothma to get permission for himself and Condor to go to Jakku but she forbids it, instead she hires Sinjir as her new advisor. His first task to deliver a message to Wortol. He does and as he leaves the Senator an explosion is heard, the target, Mon Mothma’s office. Luckily she was not in there at the time.
After the battle is won and the team all return to Chandrila we learn that Jom Barell also went to Jakku, on board a U-Wing. A missile was launched to destroy the ship but Jom leaked out of the side into the missiles path, saving all aboard. They gather one last time to celebrate, Norra and Temmin are leaving for the Republic’s new flight academy on Hosnian Prime where Wedge is in charge, Norra will be a teacher and Temmin a student. Jas is going off with her new crew, for whom she managed to get full pardons. Sinjir and Condor are together and enjoying their new lives. All seems to be good as they all say their farewells.
Leia and Han welcome Ben Solo into the Galaxy, Han worries he won’t be able to connect with him as well as Leia who encourages him to pick up his screaming son and hold him. Han does and Ben’s cries stop.
In the Unknown Regions, the Imperialis, piloted by Sloane arrives at the co-ordinates, her passengers, Brendol Hux, his son, Armitage and Rax’s army of Jakku’s children, and ahead of them, the Emporer’s personal Super Star Destroyer, The Eclipse, as well as the final remains of the Empire.
Empire’s End finishes the Aftermath Trilogy perfectly. Us fans had been eagerly awaiting a full account of the Battle of Jakku, we had gotten snippets in ‘Lost Stars’ by Claudia Grey and in one of the bonus maps in Star Wars: Battlefront which showed the Ravager crashing into the planet, but not much else.
Wendig really puts the characters through the ringer, splitting the team up who have worked so well together up until now. We lose two of the team, Jom Barell who went to Jakku to follow Jas and everyone’s favourite murder Droid bites the dust one last time and Temmin mourns him by burying the last piece of the Droid with his father on their home planet Akiva.
This is the best paced of the three novels and the interludes give us more insights to the Galaxy, we get more from Cobb Vanth on Tatooine, the Acolytes of Beyond become a serious threat, Chewbacca is reunited with his son on Kashyyyk and we find out the fate of Jar-Jar Binks in a surprisingly heart breaking scene.
I especially love the political intrigue in this book and having Sinjir becoming Mon Mothma’s adviser is a stroke of genius and I can only hope we get more of Sinjir in future novels, I really found myself rooting for him and Condor as they go from being uncomfortable ex-partners having to work together to Sinjir almost losing the plot when he finds out Condor has been captured by Black Sun, the criminal organisation working with Wortol against the Chancellor.
I really hope Wendig gets the opportunity to write more novels in the Star Wars universe, along with Claudia Grey, he can do no wrong in terms of the books written for the franchise and between them they have written my favourites in the new Canon books.
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