I wasn’t going to read this book, but Cassian said I had to.
Alexander Freed’s novelization of the biggest movie of the 2016 is a good mirror compilation of the story we saw on screen multiple times (some more than others). While it does a good job remaining faithful to the film’s script, it doesn’t do much to enhance the story and really fill out any blanks that I was hoping for.
One particular aspect of the book is that it has a somewhat distinct feel. It feels like a direct sequel to James Luceno’s prequel story, Catalyst. Freed does a nice job of matching the tone while giving Rogue One a unique feel of its own. While I have seen numerous articles around the web give us listed reasons as to what Freed’s novelization does that the movie didn’t, I can’t say I agree.
The Force Awakens’ novelization brought us loads of little goodies that could have major implications on the Skywalker Saga and possibly tipped us off to some upcoming information from Episodes VIII & further. Rogue One doesn’t quite match it punch for punch. There are little to no “deleted scenes.” Everything action-wise that we read in the book was on screen in the theater.
When Freed was given the freedom to color outside the lines, we are given some of the best parts of the book. Journals and holo-like messages occur every so often in between chapters, giving us insight into the minds of some of our primary and secondary characters. Seeing Galen Erso go back and forth between himself and some of his superiors gives us insight that further supports the explanation of the death trap he laid in the Death Star. Reading Mon Mothma’s private thoughts about Jyn Erso’s heroism is enticing. In addition, each of our main cast – Jyn, Cassian Andor, Baze Malbus, Bodhi Rook, Chirrut Imwe, and K-2S0 – are given POV moments. This allowed us to get inside their heads as to their line of thinking before, during, and after various events from the story. There’s nothing mind boggling here, but it’s certainly of note.
It was no small task to write the novelization of the next big Star Wars film. Overall, Freed does a good job of adding where he can to enhance the film’s grade A story. I just wish there was more of it.
+ Journals of some of the main characters.
+ Pacing is nearly perfect.
– No “deleted scenes” means this book doesn’t give us much more than we saw in the movie.
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