Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Foster Dean (narrated by Marc Thompson)

I was a definite latecomer to the Star Wars franchise. Somehow, I was never exposed to it as a kid, and then as I grew up it just became one of those things that I didn’t understand the appeal of (see also: James Bond). But when The Force Awakens came out, the hype finally piqued my interest. I began reading glowing reviews, and the ones that really stood out to me compared our heroine Rey to the year’s strongest female characters, including Mad Max‘s Furiosa, and the titular Jessica Jones. Suddenly this was a movie I wanted to see. I roped in a friend to hold my hand through the original trilogy, and figured the much-maligned second trilogy wasn’t a pre-requisite to the new film. And you know what? I enjoyed the heck out of it. Space! Lightsabers! Badass ladies! It was fun, and I wanted to stay in that world a little longer.

In buying Alan Foster Dean’s novelization, I suppose what I was looking for was a little background, and a little more solid emotion. In watching the film, I could read whatever I wanted into lingering glances and quiet moments, but I kind of also wanted someone to put intent and meaning into those moments for me. The novel accomplished that to an extent, and it also featured a few extra scenes starring both Leia and Poe Dameron, which were an awesome bonus. But on the whole, these little beats of newness weren’t really enough to outweigh the negatives. Scenes that made for awesome battles, chases and destruction on screen became dry and matter-of-fact. Pivotal moments were rushed over, and along the way, the whole thing just… lost my interest. It became a bit of a drag – something the movie absolutely wasn’t. Maybe it was a mistake going straight into it with the story already fresh in my mind, but it just wasn’t as much fun as I hoped it would be.

[Read from 9 Feb – 8 Mar 2016]

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