This review is SPOILER FREE for the entire series, as well as this book.
Cotton candy is not filling, but it is good. The same goes for Krispy Kreme donuts. Eating these things is like eating a magical ball of fluffy, sugary goodness that, when finished, leaves me satisfied/dissatisfied and hungry for more. Did I enjoy the donut? Heck yeah. Could it have been better? Definitely.
Say you've got a Krispy Kreme glazed donut in one hand and a box full of long johns from a local bakery in the other. It is universally acknowledged that a Krispy Kreme glazed donut is near perfect, that it is impossible to eat only one, and that they have amphetamines in them so they keep pulling you back in. They are lighter than air and if you rub the glaze on a wound you're instantly healed. However, my local bakery, Rolling Pin, has the one up on Krispy Kreme. See, Krispy Kreme is "near perfect;" Rolling Pin is paramount to living a happy and fulfilled life. Rolling Pin produces truly divine creations, from their glazed donuts to their famous long johns.
STAR WARS books are like Krispy Kreme donuts. This one, the conclusion to yet another nine-book series, was probably the best in the box of, er, donuts, but it still suffered from the same problems the others did. Chiefly, they weren't Rolling Pin donuts. I'm confident that this entire series would have been dramatically better if it were a trilogy and if most of the "conclusions" had been at least hinted at somewhere prior to the last half of the last book. A lot of it just came across as being made up on the spot.
That was my major gripe. We have eight-and-a-half books of repetitive exposition with so much build up that there's no way to wrap it all up satisfactorily with just half a book. What's more, a lot of the characters really don't grow, and there's not a lot of surprises.
That said, Apocalypse was at least more action filled than the rest of the series combined. There is a lot going on all across the galaxy and the book read very quickly.
I love STAR WARS. I suppose I always will. I enjoy the light, fluffy goodness of a Krispy Kreme donut, too. I suppose I always will. Nevertheless, I prefer Rolling Pin any day. Does that mean I'll turn away a Krispy Kreme? Not likely, but I'm always going to be disappointed in the back of my mind, knowing that there's something better out there.