From now on, anytime Claudia Gray says she wants to write a Star Wars book, The Powers That Be should say, "Yes please, thank you, yes!" And then they should throw contracts and money at her. Because WOW.
This is probably going to turn into a semi-unhelpful squeeview, since at the moment I'm basking in the glow of excellent Star Wars writing and feeling all fangirly. Gray kicks ass at characterization. Her Princess Leia is so spot on that I could hear Carrie Fisher speaking her dialogue in my mind. Despite my fear that the political angle would take this down the same mind-numbingly tedious road the prequel films trod with sanctions and embargoes and senate debates, there's action and intrigue aplenty.
I really wish this book had come out before Episode VII. It would have spoiled some big reveals in the movie, but it also would have set up the First Order, the decline of the New Republic, and the rise of the Resistance much more effectively, not to mention clearing up some timeline questions that the movie is super vague on. Basically, for the cost of knowing what Han and Leia named their kid, they could have had a lead-up novel to Ep. VII that blows Aftermath out of the water.
And now I need to watch Mad Max: Fury Road then read this book again so I can spot all the references. Apparently, there are many.
Edit: And because I still can't let go of errors even when I'm fangirling, I have to mention that there were minimal typos and one plot snafu that had me scratching my head.(show spoiler)