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Topic Subject:The New EU
Kousoku Senkan Moffgou
Moff
(id: Moff Yittreas)
posted 07-12-16 07:19 PM EDT (US)         
So, a little while back, I picked up Aftermath and Tarkin. All I can found about it here is an old review from Bando.
Yeah, the choppy present tense narration bothered me at first as well. Mostly just interested in how the galaxy looked post-RotJ in the new canon. Apparently the New Republic's capital is Chandrila, Mon Mothma is Chancellor, and Coruscant is in the midst of planet-wide riots. Also, there's an Imperial fleet admiral at the end who people think might be Thrawn.
Read Aftermath this weekend so you wouldn't have to. Thoughts below.

(Courtesy spoiler filter)

Found it mediocre, but entertaining. Definitely not the worst Star Wars fiction I've read, but not the best. The novel sheds some light on the post-RotJ state of the galaxy, but most of the action is (regrettably) centered on the Outer Rim world of Akiva. Some attempt at worldbuilding is done here, but I wonder how much stronger the novel could have been had the author chosen a previously established planet as the setting - one of my biggest gripes with Star Wars writing is the lack of any real character to the settings they take place in, especially places we never see in the movies.

I think it would be unrealistic to use this as a gauge for the movie, given that I doubt JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan had much input on a novel from a fairly unknown author that most theater-goers probably aren't going to buy.

Some notes:

*There is a New Republic established after Endor. Mon Mothma is its Chancellor, and several of the novels interludes show that the new galactic Senate will convene on Chandrila, the new capital. Here Chandrila is described as something of a quiet world, removed from the fighting - not sure if this was the case in the old EU, or if it was just quiet for Core Worlds. The New Republic forces have made deals with governors and sector heads (it isn't mentioned if these are moffs or the local goverments) with offers to join them and turn over Imperial ships and weapons.

*The Empire is losing ground, but clamping down as much as it can in order to stop the spread of Republic propaganda. The official line is that the Rebel victory at Endor is a lie, and several mentions are made to the use of body doubles to show the public that the Emperor lives. As the Empire loses ground, it reinforces smaller garrisons on backwater planets like Akiva in order to mitigate its losses. In spite of this, there appears to be no chain of command set up in the wake of Endor, which is central to the plot of the book, as several leading Imperials (a Moff, one of Palpatine's old advisers with a Sith obsession, an old general, a banker/slaver and an admiral) all meet on Akiva to decide the Empire's future.

*As I mentioned before, Coruscant seems to be in a disputed state, with rebel forces mentioned as having taken control of a few districts but the Empire still having a strong hold on the city center. This seems a bit hard to believe (how can the New Republic get past Coruscant defenses to reinforce their troops) and in my opinion the novel should've elaborated more on the state of things on Coruscant, but I suppose a real world analogy would be Damascus right now during the Syrian civil war.
*Mon Mothma's character has been softened the most in the new canon - she insists on a military drawdown of 90% once the war has been deemed sufficiently won (paraphrasing here, but basically what she tells an advisor), with the remaining 10% going to training local militaries to do their own fighting. To give the author some credit, an adviser protests as any rational person would that this would leave the New Republic weak, but this seems like a lazy attempt at setup for the state of the galaxy in TFA.

*At the end of the novel, we're shown that the Akiva meeting was all the plot of a thought-dead Imperial fleet admiral, who wanted to get rid of his competition and those he thought had led the Empire to its doom. Some people think this might be Thrawn, but after reading, I think blue skin and red eyes would be a pretty glaring omission, so I'm opting to think that this is a new villain introduced for the novel's sequels.

*There's also (IMO) a fair amount of fanservice and pandering in the novel. A Zabrak bounty hunter who plays a pretty important role is mentioned as having an "Aunt Sugi" who I believe was a character in the TCW cartoon. The inclusion of gay characters in a Star Wars novel seemed fairly progressive to me at first (one of the novel's main characters is revealed to be gay about 2/3 of the way into the book - again, to give the author some credit, him being gay doesn't change much about his character), but there were some moments that seemed like the author was trying too hard. For example, an orphaned boy from Coruscant at one point remembers his two fathers being killed by stormtroopers during the post-Endor riots. It doesn't really bother me, it just seemed like the author could've just had the boy remembering his two parents and still got his point across.

*The Empire in the new canon seems a lot more open to female officers, as there are a female admiral and a female general in this book.

*All in all, entertaining, but probably not a book to buy if you have any expectations going in. I did feel like there was a bit of the bait-and-switch that went on, with all the talk of the Empire not being really finished after Endor before this novel came out, only for the novel to show that the Empire has probably lost more now than in the original EU.
So... Bando summed it up. The book is written in present tense ("Sinjir sits at the bar and waves to the bartender"), which is jarring at first but you do get used to it (it's rather like reading stuff from old RPGs ). The first half of the book is... sluggish and takes effort, but the second half picks up and you actually find yourself interested in the main characters. A major asset of the book is no Big Three. We do see some New Republic politicking, as Bando mentioned, and frankly, the leadership of the Republic is... idealistic to be extremely generous.

But it wasn't bad. Unfortunately, what I'm hearing about the sequel, Aftermath: Life Debt is not good. It features Han and Leia more heavily, and apparently their characterization is off. It still follows the characters from the first book, who I assume make up the core of the cast. Also... everyone saying "Fleet Admiral is Thrawn"? He apparently is as close as we'll get, but without really being Thrawn.

Now, on to Tarkin. It's by Luceno, who gave us the excellent Revenge of the Sith novelization, Dark Lord: The Rise of the Darth Vader, and some other acclaimed books in the old canon... he definitely has some tie-ins to his previous books, but Tarkin is solidly in the new canon. It is also, rather infamously, where "Sheev" was canonized. This book was brilliant and I could not put it down. It made me like the new EU enough to weather the storm of Aftermath (which I read after). It is an interesting look at Tarkin (also, no mention of Daala. She is, fortunately, stricken from canon), his formative years (in flashback), his tactical acumen... and a dark side to the Rebellion. Tarkin can come off as too smart at times, but he's an excellent villain protagonist.

And the new EU will continue to expand... so, discuss!

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AuthorReplies:
Captain Keno
Clone Trooper
posted 07-12-16 07:45 PM EDT (US)     1 / 10       
Kousoku Senkan Moffgou
Moff
(id: Moff Yittreas)
posted 07-12-16 08:01 PM EDT (US)     2 / 10       
The novels Aftermath, Aftermath: Life Debt, and Tarkin.

New RPG Coming Soon | Purveyor of the Poi | Weeaboo Brony Conserative - The Ultimate Foe to the Internet
Lord Sipia: "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SIPPY IS EXCLUDED! EVERYBODY LOSES THEIR SANITY" | Also Lord Sipia: "...Of course. Prepare the butter."
"Moff's anime diatribes/photos are infinitely less annoying than legion's communism, so I don't complain." - Azzie, proving that cute girls driving tanks >> Left-wing ideology

[This message has been edited by Moff Yittreas (edited 07-12-2016 @ 08:01 PM).]

Emissary of the Prophets
Clone Trooper
(id: Admiral Zaarin)
posted 07-12-16 08:17 PM EDT (US)     3 / 10       
the excellent Revenge of the Sith novelization
Excellent? That book was abominable--the only prequel novel to be worse than the film it's based on. But I have read a short story, I believe, by Luceno and have to agree he's a good writer outside the weird bullet time thing he had going on with RotS. No, just looked it up; I was thinking of Troy Denning.
a dark side to the Rebellion
Is that allowed? I thought that casting a shadow on hero morality was what got KotOR2 banned.
Tarkin can come off as too smart at times, but he's an excellent villain protagonist.
So...Thrawn?

Zaarin | Creator of Coruscant Life SE
deviantArt | New Campaign Coming Soon
"But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me,
What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?

"Most forums derails into talking about memes. Here we derail into in-depth discussions about art. I like ours better."--jssf1992
Kousoku Senkan Moffgou
Moff
(id: Moff Yittreas)
posted 07-13-16 09:41 AM EDT (US)     4 / 10       
I think the novelization was better than the film. At least the characters had motivations.

One must bear in mind his was the charge of turning a George Lucas script into a book. So, he had no control on events, dialog, or numerous other factors that he's clearly excellent at when he has more control. So any sins--besides those weird second-person perspective cutaways--in the book cannot fall solely on him.
Is that allowed? I thought that casting a shadow on hero morality was what got KotOR2 banned.
Well, it's not clear this guy was Starbird Rebellion or rebel with a lower-case Resh. Probably the latter, which makes it okay.
So...Thrawn?
Yes, but pre-apotheosis.

New RPG Coming Soon | Purveyor of the Poi | Weeaboo Brony Conserative - The Ultimate Foe to the Internet
Lord Sipia: "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SIPPY IS EXCLUDED! EVERYBODY LOSES THEIR SANITY" | Also Lord Sipia: "...Of course. Prepare the butter."
"Moff's anime diatribes/photos are infinitely less annoying than legion's communism, so I don't complain." - Azzie, proving that cute girls driving tanks >> Left-wing ideology
Emissary of the Prophets
Clone Trooper
(id: Admiral Zaarin)
posted 07-13-16 10:55 AM EDT (US)     5 / 10       
besides those weird second-person perspective cutaways
Yes, those killed the book for me. My take from the RotS novelization was that Luceno was a young author with a good deal of promise but who needed more experience, so I can actually believe that the stuff he's writing now is good--even if I loathed the RotS novel.

Zaarin | Creator of Coruscant Life SE
deviantArt | New Campaign Coming Soon
"But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me,
What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?

"Most forums derails into talking about memes. Here we derail into in-depth discussions about art. I like ours better."--jssf1992
Kousoku Senkan Moffgou
Moff
(id: Moff Yittreas)
posted 07-13-16 07:49 PM EDT (US)     6 / 10       
Curses. Now I'm trying to find the hilarious article about why Darksaber was the worst thing ever.

EDIT: FOUND IT!

http://io9.gizmodo.com/darksaber-teaches-many-lessons-about-what-not-to-do-in-1783287492

New RPG Coming Soon | Purveyor of the Poi | Weeaboo Brony Conserative - The Ultimate Foe to the Internet
Lord Sipia: "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SIPPY IS EXCLUDED! EVERYBODY LOSES THEIR SANITY" | Also Lord Sipia: "...Of course. Prepare the butter."
"Moff's anime diatribes/photos are infinitely less annoying than legion's communism, so I don't complain." - Azzie, proving that cute girls driving tanks >> Left-wing ideology

[This message has been edited by Moff Yittreas (edited 07-13-2016 @ 07:50 PM).]

Flying Ace
Clone Trooper
(id: Lord Vader672)
posted 07-13-16 09:21 PM EDT (US)     7 / 10       
The RotS novel wasn't bad. Honestly, I thought it made the Anakin vs. Obi-Wan duel kinda awesome. For crying out loud, Kenobi uses Anakin's robo-hand against him!

What was YOUR ME3 ending: Merge with Helios, Illuminati, or Tracer Tong?
"I feel like I just watched Dwayne Johnson beat a small disabled child. Except the disabled child is really an infant clone of Hitler. It's so painful to watch...but so glorious." - Cheapy
"The Rebels only have one rank: traitor." - Eothain

[This message has been edited by Flying Ace (edited 07-13-2016 @ 09:21 PM).]

Gen_Rhys_Dallows
Jedi Knight
posted 08-02-16 12:06 PM EDT (US)     8 / 10       
So long as Creepio's canon now, I'm good.

ARMY STRONG
"Rhys wins this thread." - Tsavong Lah | "Gen freakin wins." - Jon Rolos | "...Any mercenary force trained by you, Dallows, would be all kinds of awesome." - Flying Ace
Expanding Fronts Mod
Kousoku Senkan Moffgou
Moff
(id: Moff Yittreas)
posted 08-02-16 12:28 PM EDT (US)     9 / 10       
That soldier has a drill rifle.

New RPG Coming Soon | Purveyor of the Poi | Weeaboo Brony Conserative - The Ultimate Foe to the Internet
Lord Sipia: "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SIPPY IS EXCLUDED! EVERYBODY LOSES THEIR SANITY" | Also Lord Sipia: "...Of course. Prepare the butter."
"Moff's anime diatribes/photos are infinitely less annoying than legion's communism, so I don't complain." - Azzie, proving that cute girls driving tanks >> Left-wing ideology
Emissary of the Prophets
Clone Trooper
(id: Admiral Zaarin)
posted 08-02-16 12:34 PM EDT (US)     10 / 10       
HK-47 would be so proud. His legacy lives on.

Zaarin | Creator of Coruscant Life SE
deviantArt | New Campaign Coming Soon
"But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me,
What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?

"Most forums derails into talking about memes. Here we derail into in-depth discussions about art. I like ours better."--jssf1992

[This message has been edited by Zaarin (edited 08-02-2016 @ 12:35 PM).]

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