Chuck Wendig burst onto the Star Wars scene with Aftermath, his first novel set in everyone’s favorite galaxy far, far away. But with the just-published sequel, Life Debt, Wendig has surpassed even himself when it comes to rollicking action, complex characters, and sly humor. Here are a few reasons why I enjoyed Life Debt even more than I enjoyed Aftermath, and why you should give it a read as soon as you can:
We only got a small taste of Han (and Chewie!) in Aftermath, but you’ll see quite a bit more of him here. You’ll also get to see Han interact with Norra and her crew, and the results are just as hilarious and complicated as you might expect.
Alongside Han, Norra and crew help liberate Kashyyyk from the last vestiges of the Empire, which means plenty of angry Wookiees! With Chewbacca leading the charge! It’s a great action set piece that I’ve always wanted to see, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.
3. A new villain to love to hate
We finally learn about the mysterious character Sloane reports to at the end of Aftermath, and suffice it to say, he’s got a lot going on. And Sloane is not sure that she’s down for all of it. And if Sloane’s not happy…nobody’s happy. I love stories where two villains can’t trust each other, and Wendig delivers on this in a big way.
4. Hints at the First Order
Look closely, and you’ll see seeds being planted that eventually flower into the First Order. Maybe even a hint at the origins of certain characters from The Force Awakens…
5. Leia and Mon Mothma
Reading Bloodline by Claudia Gray might have made you yearn for some Mon Mothma/Leia connectedness. In Life Debt you’ll get to see them interact, get a glimpse of their friendship, and you might even be surprised by how things end up playing out between them. And don’t forget, Mon Mothma is in Rogue One, so here’s your chance to see her in action before the movie!
(And for my fellow Han/Leia fans – there’s some good H/L stuff in here, too.)
6. Character cameos
There are quite a few cameos from characters we’ve seen elsewhere, but I can’t share them all here because that would be ruining things, wouldn’t it?
7. Family drama
Family drama for whom, you may ask? Again, that would be spoiling things… But I will say that I’m referring to more than one family here.
In short, Life Debt has it all: action, romance, intrigue, humor, and plenty of hints and possibilities to obsess over. I hope you’ll join me in talking about it all!
Jennifer Heddle is senior editor for fiction at Lucasfilm. Follow her on Twitter @jenheddle.