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Aftermath: Star Wars

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Narrated by: Marc Thompson
Series: Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy, Book 1, Star Wars, Book 30
Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (50 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The second Death Star has been destroyed, the emperor killed, and Darth Vader struck down. Devastating blows against the Empire and major victories for the Rebel Alliance. But the battle for freedom is far from over.

As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance - now a fledgling New Republic - presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy's scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy's strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial star destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but he's taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.

Meanwhile, on the planet's surface, former Rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world - war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles' urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn't know is just how close the enemy is - or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.

Determined to preserve the Empire's power, the surviving imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit - to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven't reckoned on Norra and her newfound allies - her technical genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector - who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire's oppressive reign once and for all.

©2015 Chuck Wendig (P)2015 Random House Audio

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    2 out of 5 stars

Go read the Thrawn Trilogy instead

If this is what became of the galaxy after Return of the Jedi, then no wonder the New Order came along to fix things. Some cringey moments, bad nostalgia references and a lot of plot armor for certain characters. This is not the Star Wars book you are looking for.

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  • Jason
  • 08-09-2015

Disappointing and Frustrating

Mild story details follow:

I have been one of the strongest supporters of the decision to create the "Legends" stories and go forward with a single "canon" story line. I was optimistic that the story group would get an author that would give us some thing great. That didn't happen. I've never read any of Mr. Windig's other novels and this isn't a slight on his writing skills or story-telling ability. This is just not a good Star Wars novel. I suspect he was handcuffed by the amount of information he was able to reveal. I just don't care about these new, and in my opinion, minor characters. I expected Wedge at least to feature more prominently, but he spent almost the entire book strapped to an interrogation table and did almost nothing to move the plot along.

I understand the need to keep The Force Awakens under wraps - I really do! But if you're not going to reveal more information, then what's the point of this book? I would have rather waited until after the movie and then got something with more teeth in it. We get almost NO major characters in this book. There's a short interlude with Han and Chewbacca, a brief glimpse of Leia in hologram form, and only small reference to Luke. Even the general state of the galaxy doesn't seem to be much of a surprise.

There are brief moments of hope, particularly when an old "adviser" of Palpatine seems to be more than he appears. I thought some of his plot-line might lead to the First Order, but it doesn't really go anywhere.

To Del Rey and the Story Group: If you're going to "Legendize" the old stuff and start the canon (a decision that I support!) then you've got to bring it, particularly with the first post ROTJ novel out of the gate. There will always be misfires - it's inevitable. But this book was just weak across the board. It hurts me to say it - it really does because I wanted this book to be good. It just isn't.

175 of 207 people found this review helpful

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  • Dave C
  • 12-09-2015

So bad I'm writing my first review to warn fans!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I think fans of poorly written fan fiction might enjoy it.

What was most disappointing about Chuck Wendig’s story?

His use of present tense in a story that takes place "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" shows a fundamental lack of understanding for the source material. He dangles interesting characters who are beloved by fans, like Wedge and Admiral Akbar, in front of the reader only to snatch them away. Instead we spend our time with uninteresting and unlikable characters.

What three words best describe Marc Thompson’s performance?

His performance, while over-dramatic at times, is the lone bright spot in this recording.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Troy
  • 05-09-2015

A Lamentable Mess

To set the stage properly for this review, let it be understood up front that I am not one of those who despises the new canon. Quite the reverse, of the 5 books released before this, I rated 4 of them with 5 stars, and the other not nearly so high. It breaks my heart to write a review like this because it grieves me to say anything negative about Star Wars.

There are a great many books on the roster right now involving the road to The Force Awakens. Most of them seem to be filler, to be honest. This one is beyond argument the most important one in this new “everything is canon” era. A lot is riding on it. There are a great many expectations for it. There are a few minor spoilers in regards to world building, but I’ll try to be vague otherwise in consideration of those who’ve not read it and still want to.

I still have trouble accepting the “everything is canon” idea. I get it, but seeing as how there are already plenty of contradictions in how this galaxy is put together, I feel like that can’t last. With that in mind, this is just another one in the line of books for me. At the same time, though… planning has gone into it to make it more than that, and the weight of what this story offers feels legitimate in the grand sweeps. Effort has been made here to show the progression of a single conflict from decades before the Clone Wars began, through the Imperial era, and up to this point in the saga. Names change, and things are broken up for convenience. But it’s all one big push. This is one of the two major takeaways from this book for me. It’s not a new concept, but I like that it’s acknowledged.

The other big takeaway is the big political picture, which has been a part of Star Wars from the beginning. For a student of history like myself, it’s interesting to see the parallels.

These are, for me, the good parts. And that would have been enough to garner 3 or more stars had anything else made any sense whatsoever.

This is my first encounter with Chuck Wendig as a writer. As a long time Star Wars fan (like many who will read this book, and probably much like Wendig himself must claim), my judgment of his abilities hinges a great deal on this one book. And, unfortunately, this one’s not a winner for me. It’s not even a contender.

The first problem is the choice of writing style. Writing in the present tense feels awkward and is inconsistent with the concept of myth-building a long-established story like this. This story still takes place “a long time ago.” It’s not happening now. You can get used to it, but it’s just weird and inappropriate. The worse offender is that his writing style is choppy so as to intensify the action. It feels like the verbal equivalent of shaky “documentary style” handheld camera work to me. It may work for some, but it’s an immediate put-off. It’s reads like riding in a landspeeder, *ahem* car with someone driving who’s never operated a manual transmission. I got mental whiplash from the experience.

The second problem is world building. It’s just easier if I offer some examples, but the overarching theme at every turn is that the world building is abysmal.

This story would have us believe that the average street urchin is familiar with the Jedi and phrases like “May the Force be with you.” Even at their height, the Jedi weren’t numerous enough to be more than urban legend for most people. There were, what, 10,000 of them compared to trillions upon trillions of beings across an entire galaxy? That’s a drop in the bucket compared to most cities, to say nothing of a galaxy with that many overpopulated worlds. Several of those worlds have many different concepts of religion and household gods, which the author actually references. Many wouldn’t have known what the Force is, let alone be familiar with that catch phrase. The Rebellion leaders use it because the founders of that group actually knew the Jedi and understood what their ideals were on some level. That’s a very small, rare subset of people. If Luke had to have Obi-Wan explain what the Force was, even knowing his father was a Jedi knight, then there’s no reason for the average person on the street to know either. That’s just common sense.

A more grievous misunderstanding is that somewhere along the lines, the Sith apparently put out an advertising campaign as every Imperial officer seems to know what they were and how they operated. Even a random bounty hunter knows what a Sith is according to this book. That’s nonsense. I would counter by pointing out there were only two, nobody advertised it, and the entire reason they were successful is precisely because nobody knew who they were. This would certainly have extended well through to Return of the Jedi. There was precisely one Imperial officer that we know of who would have known anything about the Sith, and that’s Tarkin, due to his close association with Vader and Palpatine. Who are these people that know so much about the nature of the Dark Side? At least we got an explanation about one character in this book where it’s plausible, but the rest of them… c’mon. The most secret and exclusive club in the history of the galaxy, and everyone’s in on it? Please.

Related to that, this is the second novel in the new canon that has tossed in the idea that it’s well-known that Vader was a cyborg. I would argue that Vader was the boogeyman. Nobody knew who he was until he showed up, which is part of what made him so effective and terrifying. Think about when Vader showed up in ’77. Our perception was that we had no clue what he was. Was he a man? A droid? A cyborg? Something else entirely? We didn’t know. We didn’t even get a glimpse under the mask until The Empire Strikes Back. At that point, we knew far more than the vast majority of the Star Wars galaxy. Or is it known because there was a pop song about him, per Kevin Hearne? I refuse to accept that as a viable explanation. That’s bad writing, compounded by more bad writing.

These are, to my mind, common misperceptions across casual fans, which would be understandable given where the films are focused. For an author writing in the Galaxy Far, Far Away, supposedly with input from the Lucasfilm Story Group – some of whom who have actually outlined the above ideas to the public – these are rookie mistakes to apply such perceptions to the galaxy as a whole. With so much riding on the perception of this novel going forward, it’s a bit offensive that I should have to lower my expectations to immerse myself in this universe. That’s bantha poodoo.

Admittedly this is nitpicking, but that’s what world building is all about: details. That’s why anyone’s reading this book. We want the details of what happened between the original trilogy and the next film.

But let’s compound it. There’s a random scene where there’s graffiti on the wall with Vader’s helmet reading “Vader Lives.” In front of that wall, a black market merchant sells a red lightsaber to a member of a Force death cult. Neither are certain this is Vader’s, but the idea is for the cult member to destroy it so that he can send it back to its master in the great beyond.

And that’s the thing. There is almost no cohesive story. There is the hint of one, and in between are these random sequences that are probably supposed to be easter eggs. Maybe they’re for the later novels in this trilogy, or maybe they’re for the movie. I don’t know. I really don’t care. It came across as sheer lunacy. Need a random fight sequence with Dengar and some new bounty hunter named Mercurial Swift? It’s in here. Need a random scene of Han and Chewie, just to say you saw them? Done. How about a few scenes where Grand Admiral Ackbar makes references to traps? You know, because everyone knows Star Wars exists solely on internet memes now instead of substance. For the love of the Force, he’s not the first one who ever said the line!

Not random enough? Let’s add in a one-armed Wookiee for this scene because one-armed Wookiees are cool! Did you know that Quarren have teeth? Neither did I, but apparently they have dentists, so it must be true. Is this really what passes for world building these days? It’s pure amateur hour fluff, not even worthy of ranking as pop culture drivel. Tell a story and quit winking at the fans, Skippy. Han said to “Fly casual” in ROTJ, and now this is something he always says, to the point where Wedge – a character who wasn’t there when Han said it – knows it well enough to reference it? Again, world building happens because of details, and this just falls apart all over the place here. I’m sure all of this was designed to add a level of familiarity to make it feel like Star Wars. It felt contrived. And overall, the presentation was just sloppy beyond words.

So let’s talk about the main characters of this story, because they aren’t the main characters of THE story. There aren’t any characters in this to latch onto. It’s more accurate for me to say that I couldn’t latch onto them. I like seeing the progression of Admiral Rae Sloane. But this illustrates my point. She’s a side character, not a front runner. So is pretty much everyone else in this story who steps into the spotlight, so far as I can tell. If any of these characters make it to the big screen story that takes place 30 years later, I’ll reassess their worth. For now, I’m not impressed enough to remember anyone else’s name. Their functions as two-dimensional placeholders within the scope of the story is far more important than who they are. Some of the primary characters in this tale finally started to get some development halfway through this book, but it wasn’t enough to make me care. It seemed more like too many ideas were being flung at the walls to see what stuck rather than trying to demonstrate the diversity of the galaxy. Perhaps there is something here the new canon will use better in other interpretations. Maybe we’ll see an animated series that utilizes these characters set at this time. I don’t have those answers. All I know is they didn’t make an immediate impact the way characters from any other era of Star Wars has, and while I didn’t hate any of them by the end of the book, I didn’t love any of them either.

To get you through this book, I propose a drinking game. Every time you hear a mention of some kind of insect or arachnoid, take a drink. Every time someone clucks their tongue, take two drinks. If you don’t pass out first, it might make this lamentable mess more palatable.

The production on this audio is as top shelf as ever. It’s always a pleasure to have Marc Thompson on board as narrator. Backed by the classic sound effects and John Williams music, this story gets elevated beyond what it probably would have been than by print alone. It’s a colossal waste and even an insult to the music of John Williams. I trust Marc Thompson got well paid for his outstanding performance.

As I say, this is my first experience with Chuck Wendig. It will be my last. I’m not inclined to explore more of his work, up to and including the other two parts of this trilogy. This book feels more like incredibly bad fan fiction cobbled together in the back of a sandcrawler from spare parts more than anything mythical, magical, or worthy of the Star Wars brand. But, thankfully, there are other writers and creative types involved that I trust, and this is a franchise that’s now far bigger than the sum of its parts, so I need not worry that the whole ship is doomed. We’ve had other contributions that work, and we will again. This one oscillated back and forth between almost competent and absurdly asinine so fast, I got nauseous. It’s unfortunate that I walk away from this one with a sour taste for the future because of such an important cog in the clockwork to come. I will also acknowledge that just because it didn’t work for me, that’s not to say it won’t work for other readers. Ultimately, it’ll come to down to the reader’s personal tastes more than anything else. For the curious, I’d still recommend it so they can judge for themselves.

273 of 326 people found this review helpful

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  • nope
  • 08-10-2018

Very Meh

Was excited to download this book trilogy, but was very underwhelmed. Story and characters are bland. Narrator is ok and attempts different voices to differentiate between characters, but didn't like the voices he went with. Gonna try and exchange all three books for other audio books instead.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • tekone
  • 08-09-2015

The only positive is Marc Thompson.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who is not looking for a classic Star Wars novel, someone who really doesn't care about Star Wars.... The author is not a Star Wars writer, he completely destroys what should be a reborn world and EU.I really don't get what the author thought in writing this, I could not even finish the last two hours of this book which is the first for me in regards to a Star Wars novel.

Has Aftermath: Star Wars turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, not at all. It will certainly prevent me from purchasing the following books in this series but I am hoping another author will do better with Star Wars.

What about Marc Thompson’s performance did you like?

Marc Thompson is Star Wars, he is Han Solo, Luke Skywalker he is the Jedi, he is the Sith. I feel the worse for him that he was forced to put his name on this.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Aftermath: Star Wars?

We lose Mara Jade and get Norra Wexley, we lose Ben Skywalker and get Temmin... We get token LGBT characters that are just written to be thrown in there without any substance, we get Star Wars with no force, no Jedi, we get Empire without Imperials, we get Rebels without Han and Leia Solo... I would remove it all.

Any additional comments?

I am so disappointed in this, we lose the best of Star Wars and if this is what we get in return we have all surely lost.

116 of 140 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Chistopher
  • 18-10-2015

Highly Disappointing

A great narrator can't save a poorly written story in audiobook form. There are some needles in this haystack that may be worthwhile to the die hard fan but this book sucks and is ultimately skippable.

Read Claudia Grey's Lost Stars instead.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 07-09-2015

Journey to nowhere

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A more cohesive and concise story in the tone of Star Wars.

What could Chuck Wendig have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The tense he chose for the book was awful. The way in which characters were introduced and interwoven was shoddy.

What about Marc Thompson’s performance did you like?

As always he does a wonderful job portraying different characters.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The only one for me was actually Bones. That character was interesting to me.

Any additional comments?

This is by far the most disappointed I have been with any novel, let alone a Star Wars novel in quite some time. I'm not sure what all thoughts went into crafting the various subplots and characters, but it did not come from the Galaxy far far away. The tense of this book is distracting. It seems the intention was to put you into the action, but it instead removes you from it. Instead of using the amazing cast of characters at your disposal create new ones and try to make them lovable. Good plan, but the author fails to make any of them endearing. In an effort to add drama the author then decides to kill one of the main characters and use the fall out to create emotional connection. He likes this idea so much he does it twice, with the same character and worst of all they aren't dead at the end. There is one major character we all love in here though, Wedge Antilles. Yes! You say. The second best Xwing pilot ever! Is he killing it from the cockpit of a ship? No. Somehow Captain Antilles is assigned scouting/ spy duty despite the fact the Rebels have a whole intelligence division to do this. We then spend the rest of the book periodically witnessing Wedge desperately trying to call for help while being further injured. Around him our random assortment of characters come together eventually working together. It seems on one planet there are only three places to go, and even if you don't mean to go to one of them deliberately, your zip line could break and put you full into the plot. Seriously, that happens to the most experienced of the characters. Interspersed in this are a galaxy full of war survivors all suffering from PTSD. Don't get me wrong, as a Veteran and mental health professional I appreciate adding in some realism in the story. Realism however would not include every person living in constant flashbacks. Jerking us around the galaxy doesn't give us the big picture. It obscures it. While this is not the worst Star Wars novel I have read it has rocketed to the position of number two on that list. Skip this one folks.

100 of 122 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • VipeRSA
  • 05-06-2018

awful.

really bad writing. super cliche, also way too many references to the prequels. bones is the new jar jar....

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Lane
  • 02-06-2018

Regret

I honestly regret getting this book. I had hoped that this would be a decent story but let's face it there is little to love about this book other than Marc Thompson, whom I truly fell sorry for. His reading was great, and I'm sure that he could read all Negative Comments such as this and make them sound great.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura Richardson
  • 29-01-2018

Terrible

Hands down the worst Star Wars book I’ve ever listened to. Took me 3 months to choke my way through it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-05-2019

Perfect!!!!!

Such a great book and fills in some gaps and brings us some great new Star Wars characters

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Philip Kirk
  • 06-08-2019

Great Performance, average story

Marc Thompson makes a weak story into something that's really entertaining. If I was reading this I would have struggled to finish the book aa it was only the last 3rd of the story where it starts getting interesting.

The audio production is top quality with the sound effects and music helping the listener to be transported into the galaxy that's far far away.

The story struggles to gain momentum as it had to introduce alot of new characters with multiple story lines which made it harder to follow compared with other Star Wars books. As this is the first of three books I'd expect the next two to be better.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • C. H. Ford
  • 28-10-2019

An OK story but excellent production values.

Not sure about the new stories which is replacing legends timeline but it was an OK story. Don't expect the classic characters to turn up though. However the performance and production values were excellent.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Fiona Maguire
  • 22-10-2019

Good Star Wars fun

This is a lot of fun for a star wars fan looking for something to fill the void between films and games

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • chris
  • 18-07-2019

Bridging the gap

A tale linking the end of the Empire to the begining of a New Republic using a story with characters from the old and new

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jacob
  • 17-07-2019

I like it

I can see from reading the reviews that a fair number of people don't like this book or it's sequels, but I personally do. I like the characters (particularly Admiral Sloane and Sinjir) and I like the premise. As for the story I can safely say I have read far worse; all in all in my personal opinion this book and it's sequels are not as bad as some people make them out to be.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-06-2019

decent job but could be better

story was a bit predictable, and I didn't really connect to any of the caracters. The narrator did a decent job but I didn't really get why some characters had russian or scotish accents but that's maybe just me.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-06-2019

gripping from the very start.

flows seamlessly from the movies. great all round and cant wait to carry on with the rest of the trilogy.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • G Morrison
  • 22-05-2019

My first audio book, a positive experience

It's not, like, high class literature - it's Star Wars, it's not going to be challenging but it is accessible to all. I listened while at work, and managed to follow the story fine. I love the VA for this as well, doing all the different voices including Chewbacca must have been a fun time in the studio!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • The HellKat
  • 16-04-2019

Very patchy

I got through it on Audiobook- I couldn’t with my paperback. The empire sections are interesting and Rae Sloane is a great character. The rebel’s sections with Timmin and Nora are just deadly dull. The prose is a bit off putting at times as it’s all short sentences and present tense but that’s a personal preference.
It’s worth reading for the insight it gives to the empire’s retreat into the unknown regions and the potential makeup of the First Order but it only gives tidbits and nothing actually concrete. I’ve heard the next two books are better so I have downloaded them as well, but this is for hardcore SW fans only I’d say.