I promise I won’t spoil The Force Awakens if you’ve yet to see the movie. Promise.
Let’s be honest, I freaking loved The Force Awakens, the movie that is. The movie was thrills and excitement, but it was the characters that brought it to life. The movie had it’s faults, but overall I loved it. Thus, I thought it would be the perfect idea to read the novelization. There would be added depth and more inferences that I could pick up. I did get that, but I lost things as well.
Unfortunately, the biggest crime of the book was that it took the characters that were so brilliant and full of life on screen and then they were translated flat. If I hadn’t seen the movie and was simply reading this as a story, I would have given up. The characters were dull and lifeless. Some characters stood up better than others, particularly Leia and Han, but the rest just felt so distant. The fact that I had seen the movie was the only thing that pulled me along.
Having to sit down and read the plot really made the plot of the story feel even more lackluster. It was one of the weaker elements of the movie, but when put into a book form you really see just how flimsy it is. That said the book allowed for a few extra connections that really tied together some of the leaps the movie made. It provided a better understanding of the things that were going on and for that this novelization succeeded.
Another thing I quite enjoyed were the little tidbits that were thrown in. Little moments that could have been easily overlooked were highlighted. I felt that every few pages I was saying oooh so that’s what happened. Or I didn’t notice that. Little things. Honestly also the chance to spend a little more time with Poe Dameron was great too.
The actual writing in the book felt a bit distant, but was laced with beautiful gems. Despite the constraints of being a novelization it really came off as something that was beautiful. Yet, the third person omniscient narration felt a little chaotic. It jumped quite frequently which while never jarring felt a bit distancing. We never got to see a character long enough to develop a real emotional bond before it shifted again.
Overall this was solid. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone that wasn’t a hardcore fan. Even at that I would only say to read it if you like reading the expanded universe. There were some wonderful scene additions, but it wasn’t that much that a random person would enjoy.
Seriously though we did learn about Poe’s journey that’s omitted from the film as well a bloody encounter between Chewbacca and Plutt.