Writing a blog post about why you should read the third book in a trilogy is tricky. One hopes that everyone who read books one and two will want to read book three; on the other hand, how to convince readers who haven’t read the first two books that this trilogy is worth investigating? Luckily, Empire’s End, the third book in the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig, has enough surprises and excitement for everyone. Here are six reasons to be excited!
1. Jakku! This series has, from the beginning, been building toward a singular event in Star Wars history: the Battle of Jakku. We see the remnants of it in The Force Awakens, or maybe you’ve enjoyed the spectacular effects in the Battlefront game, but in Empire’s End Chuck takes us right into the heart of the battle from multiple points of view, with dizzying results. Whether it’s Admiral Ackbar or Grand Admiral Sloane or up-and-coming pilot Temmin “Snap” Wexley, you’ll see the battle from every side in all of its chaos and destruction.
2. It’s a boy. There’s plenty of action on the more personal side of things as well. For example, the birth of a baby boy named Ben…along with some hilarious “nervous expectant father” moments from Han. As a Han/Leia fan I really enjoyed seeing these characters build up to the birth of their child — even with the interference of a well-meaning nanny droid…
3. Awesome character showdown! Norra Wexley and Rae Sloane have encountered each other previously in the trilogy, with frustrating results for both of them. Now things come to a head and these two impressive women have their final confrontation. Sloane has been such a welcome and popular addition to the Star Wars story, and in Empire’s End we’ll see her face her final reckoning…maybe.
4. A surprise appearance. Prequel trilogy fans — a certain character pops up years later as his fate is finally revealed. You’re not going to want to miss this. Have a tissue handy.
5. A family reunion. I can’t give away who is reunited, exactly, as that would spoil things, but let’s just say this character more than deserves a bit of family time.
6. Palpatine’s legacy lives on. The Emperor had a plan for what should happen if he were to be removed from power. And he entrusted that plan to Gallius Rax. Now Rax must make sure that plan comes to fruition — with results that will reverberate for years to come.
Those are some of the highlights, but the main draw for reading the Aftermath books is, in my opinion, that they’re just fun. The action never slows down, the quips keep flying, and fateful decision after fateful decision is made. All that plus a murderous modified battle droid named Mr. Bones. What’s not to like?
Jennifer Heddle is senior editor of fiction for kids, teens, and adults at Lucasfilm. Follow her on Twitter @jenheddle.