I read this book for a couple of reasons:
It is part of the new Star Wars canon; It is part of Journey to The Force Awakens (a series of books and comics that bridge the gap between Jedi and TFA).
It failed to deliver on being a journey to The Force Awakens. Or there are a few nods to what is coming in the next movie but they are more like, “Haha, see what I did there,” without any actual merit or payoff. In fact these little ancillary “interludes” (as they are called) are disjointed from the novel, having nothing to do with the main story being told. It is more that they were put in there because it was required and to be the “hey, look” this is what else is going on in the galaxy after “the fall of the empire”.
The story itself was enjoyable enough but my problem with it seems to be the problem that I’ve had with all of the additional new canon materials. Nothing big can happen in these stories as that would mess up the plans that Disney has for Star Wars (and to be clear I’m not bitter I just know where everything lies). So you end up with a decent story but ultimately with no real payoff because they don’t quite want to spoil anything. I have no doubt that these new Star Wars books will get better but for now I’m skeptical about any further reading into the universe that I’ll be doing.
The delivery of said “decent story”, however, is pretty terrible. It consists, mostly, of simile and metaphor referencing other things in the Star Wars universe. Perhaps this could come off better done differently but instead it ends up reading like “Hey you are reading a Star Wars book in case you had forgotten” every other paragraph. I’d rather never read another line like “his breath was worse than a Rancor’s” or “the place smelled like a Rancor pit”. These are ad-libbed but you see what he did there? A Rancor is in the Star Wars universe so it is clever. Right?
This is done to such excess that you start rolling your eyes at the book a quarter of the way through.
As a last note the most insane part about the terrible writing is that Chuck Wendig (the author) has written self-help books about writing. I shudder to think what they could contain.
Only the most obsessed Star Wars fans, like myself, need apply here – others, steer clear.