“The Force is with me,” he repeated. “And I am with the Force.”
Last year I read all of the novelizations for the original Star Wars movies, the prequels, and for The Force Awakens. I distinctly remember The Revenge of the Sith being my favourite out of those, given the insight into Anakin’s mind and also my enjoyment of the politics in the prequels. It made sense for me to pick up this one, then, and complete my read of the novelizations for all the movies.
For those who may not know, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story takes place just prior to the beginning of A New Hope, and revolves around the team who went on a mission to retrieve the plans for the Death Star. The stakes, as you might expect, are very high.
Now, the first thing I want to get out of the way is my not so happy relationship with this story and why I am glad I only realized they had the novelization out just a week or so ago, instead of much earlier. The reason? I was sitting in a restaurant for lunch with my mom and brother in December before we were set to meet my Dad to go watch Rogue One in theatres. I was scrolling on my phone and I saw the devastating news about the loss of Carrie Fisher. I don’t remember exactly what noise I made, but my mom and brother did remark on it. Needless to say, I went into the movie with a heavy heart.
I did enjoy the movie, but am glad I went into this book after time has gone by and the reaction isn’t on my mind, so I could focus on the story more.
I am very excited about this story—the additional scenes and data files are particularly great for adding information to the story. Of course, I also think this book is a perfect demonstration of why I tend to enjoy books a lot more than films is the insight into the characters. Sure, we see actions during a film, but rarely is there insight into their thoughts and such, particularly thoughts about other characters, unless they say them aloud in the movie.
In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, this insight is particularly good in regards to a wide range of the characters. Specifically, I enjoyed getting insight into how Jyn thought as well as what others were thinking about her, as well as the forays into Bodhi and some of the minor characters in the film version. This is, for sure, a character-driven novel. Yes, novel. The film is as well, but I definitely think this novelization can work outside of the film in a way the others do not as much, except perhaps Revenge of the Sith. This might be in part due to the fact Rogue One is not an infamous story just yet, not a classic in the way the other Star Wars ones are. Regardless, I loved reading the story. I would love more detail, but in the sense that I just want more, not that it was really lacking in detail.
Part of my mind keeps reminding me of how much I enjoy this story—I love the grit, the danger, the dark of it. It is definitely not the same as the other Star Wars stories and I hope we get more like this. I think the ending of the story was a perfect one for it and the future of the Star Wars timeline, and definitely an iconic closing for both the film as well as the novel—even with the extra peek in the novel!
I have to echo what a number of others have said about this book. It works as a novel and you could definitely go in without having seen the film. But also? If you have seen the film? Alexander Freed has done a wonderful job and I think this novelization with greatly enhance your enjoyment of the Rogue One story. If you have read this novelization, I would love to know what you thought. Did you like the data files? The extra insight? Was there anything you did not like?
If you have only seen the film, I would like to know what you thought of that, and if there is anything you are looking forward to prior to the novel. Do you have questions you want answered? I am sure you will not be disappointed!
Until next time, may the Force be with you.
Title: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Author: Alexander Freed
Publisher: Del Rey Books