Book Review: Rogue One

Welcome to Book Reviews. In this series I will look to review any canon books that come out in the Star Wars galaxy. I am no expert in book critic or expert in writing (as you may be able to tell), so this is very much from a fan’s point of view. I will generally try to give a quick idea of what the story is about but avoid any spoilers. In each review, I will also try to point out a few “Moments in Canon” – moments that link into the wider canon and references to other canon stories – and also give my opinion if it is worth reading. Today I will be looking at Alexander Freed’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Background

Written by Alexander Freed, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the novelisation of the first Star Wars Story, released at the same time as the film.

The story

She wanted to hurt him.

She wanted his old fire back, in the hope that it might rekindle her own.

Unsurprisingly as it is the novel of the film, the story closely follows the events as set out in the movie. However there are some scenes added that were either cut from the movie or made for the novel to expand the story and further link it to the canon. The story is told from a number of different perspectives, but the main 4 are of Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, Bodhi Rook and Orson Krennic.

As with the movie, the story begins approximately 6 years after the formation of the Empire, but quickly moves forward to the main body of the story in the days leading up to the beginning of A New Hope. There are also a few breaks in the story for extracts from Mon Mothma’s personal files that allow the reader to get more information on the Alliance and her thoughts on Jyn Erso and the events of the story.

Review

Cassian looked at the platform, at the shadowy figure of Jyn, and thought to himself: I’ve killed us all.

Rogue One is currently my favourite of the films since Star Wars returned to the cinemas and I felt this story did the movie justice! One of the biggest criticisms I heard of the movie was the lack of character development, but the novel is able to take the time to do this and it really helps the story. Jyn’s turn from working for the Rebellion but having no interest in their cause to being willing to risk her life to get the Death Star plans seems much more real when you look at her motivations on the page, and I love the way that she has tried to shut off her old life in a “cave” that opens up as the story progresses. Cassian’s change from following orders to doing what is right is also shown well and you see that even when he was following orders and doing what he had to for the Rebellion, it was not always something he was proud of. Krennic’s rivalry with Tarkin and his thoughts towards Galen are also clearer in the novel and they also follow on well from James Luceno’s prequel Catalyst. We are also able to get more of an idea of the effect that Bor Gullet had on Bodhi’s mind and we see that he is again a reluctant rebel who just wants to do the right thing. Possibly one of the biggest character developments for me is that of General Davits Draven, who was thoroughly unlikeable in the movie but when reading the sections from his point of view I could at least understand the reason for his actions if not agree with them.

As for the plot, there is not much I will really say here as it is confined to following the plot of the movie. However, I do enjoy some of the extra scenes that have been added to flesh the plot out and show the effect that this has on the wider people, most notably at the moment that the Death Star conducts its test on Jedha.

The planet killer was real. She had mocked it, mocked the Alliance for believing in it, and it was real.

I loved the way that the story was written, with the use of many different points of view throughout the story, each of which was written to feel completely individual. Jyn is written as trying to stay in control of what is happening to her, Cassian is facing a struggle between following orders and doing what he feels is right, K-2SO also feels very analytical and the way his point of view is written makes it very clear if you were to jump to a random page that you are getting the perspective of a droid. I also really enjoy the extracts from Mon Mothma’s files – they are by no means essential to the story but they really help to expand the canon.

Should I read it?

General Davits Draven was the bane of his peers and a hero to his subordinates. It wasn’t the role he wanted to play, but he believed it was a necessary one.

As it is so similar to the movie, I would not call it required reading, however if you enjoyed the movie and want to delve into that story a little further to get the characters’ points of view, I would highly recommend it.

swbook20181027_174057.jpgMoments in canon

  • Mon Mothma’s personal files mention the Rebellion getting aid from former Separatist advisers, while Cassian was also previously a Separatist
  • As a child, Jyn has a doll called Lucky Hazz Obloobitt, named after the smuggler Has Obitt who helped the Ersos in Catalyst
  • When with the Partisans, Jyn asks after a member called Staven. He is the leader of “The Dreamers” – a group of partisans who were away from Jedha when the Death Star attacked – that Inferno Squad are sent after in the novel Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
  • Mon Mothma’s personal files make mention of the 61st Mobile Infantry, who are the company featured in Freed’s other novel Battlefront: Twilight Company
  • In her personal files, Mon Mothma comments on how Rebel pilots train on as many ships as possible. Through canon, we have seen Wedge Antilles fly an A-Wing, X-Wing and T-47 airspeeder, as well as some other larger ships
  • Melshi and some of the soldiers who went to Scarif on Rogue One were Pathfinders. The Pathfinders also took part in Han’s mission to destroy the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor. One of the Pathfinders Han led was Kes Dameron (Poe’s father) while it has also been hinted that Rex was on the mission

 

Have you read Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? What were your thoughts on it? Thanks for reading and May the Force be with you…

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