Journey to the Force Awakens
Now that I've had time to get (mostly) through all of the new Journey to the Force Awakens material, I'll make some comments on them. First let's talk about the three character driven young adult novels, Weapon of the Jedi, Moving Target, and Smuggler's Run. I'll sum them up by saying there's not much to them that adds to the Star Wars lore, nothing all that original about them story-wise. However, there are some clues to the new movie in each book that are worth noting. Each of the books starts and ends in the time of The Force Awakens and gives a glimpse of the state of the universe for each character. Well, except for Luke. He's mysteriously absent from the story, although that fits with the rumors of his absense at the beginning of the movie. Leia is still deeply involved in the struggle against tyranny and Han is still doing what Han does. Interesting tidbits, but again, the main stories that are set during the original trilogy are simple stories that don't advance the character beyond what they were in the Expanded Universe at that point of the timeline.
The other young adult book, Lost Stars, was surprisingly good to me. I've heard comments from people, especially men, who hated it for its focus on a romantic relationship between the characters, but the idea of two people romantically involved on opposite sides of the war is not unbelievable at all, and actually quite realistic considering this is a civil war, where soldiers from one world are fighting against Imperial soldiers from the same world. What made it so good to me though was the interaction of these characters with the events we all know and love, and an event we've only seen in the movie teaser. The characters are there when the first Death Star explodes, they are there at Hoth, and they are there for the second Death Star's demise. The image we've all seen of a Star Destroyer crashed on Jakku is explained at the end of the book and gave me chills when I realized what I was reading. I recommend this book highly.
Then there's the juggernaut, Aftermath. I was so excited for this book when it was first announced. I was fully expecting to see what came of Han, Leia, Luke, etc...after Endor. If that's what you're expecting you'll be disappointed. We see Han briefly but the story isn't about them. Wedge is featured somewhat but his character did not feel right to me, probably because he was not the same character we read during the X-Wing novels. He just didn't have the same feel to him. Also, a lot of people hated the way it was written. It is written in the present tense and seems a lot like someone's just writing down their thoughts as they observe what's going on around them. At times it's a jerky, halting read, but at the same time it seems to move the action along quickly. The writing style is just a matter of preference and doesn't take away from the story which seems to take place around six months after Endor, and about 6 months before Jakku. There are supposed to be two more books in this series, although it definitely stands alone. The ending leaves us wondering who the mysterious person is that seems to be pulling the strings, leaving many to believe it will be Supreme Leader Snoke from the movie.
The comic series Shattered Empire does show the main characters directly after Endor and the series will be completed this month. I've only read the first issue but we seem to be introduced to who is possibly Poe Dameron's parents. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the remaining 3 issues.
I've played most of the way through the Uprising mobile game and it is going nowhere. Horrible game. No real contribution to the story other than the Empire in this sector has closed off information and is trying to convince the people in this part of the galaxy that the Emperor is still alive and they are trying to maintain control while the Rebellion is trying to prove that the Emperor is indeed dead. That is the background to the game but the story doesn't really progress during the game. You just basically do a lot of running around for other people. I've got about 9 more levels to go and I can't imagine there will be anything shocking in the story.
While I love the buildup to the movie, nothing is going to compare to actually seeing The Force Awakens on the big screen and seeing where our characters have gone in 30 years. It'll be weird not to see Luke a widower, Han and Leia married with two dead children and one remaining Jedi daughter. But what's coming is still very exciting and I can hardly wait.