Sci-fi veteran Foster (Star Trek into Darkness, 2013, etc.) returns for the novelization of the latest Star Wars blockbuster.
For those readers who’ve been living in a galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars franchise has returned with a new film, the first since 2005’s Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. As novelized here, Rey is a scavenger eking out a solitary existence. Finn, a stormtrooper who’s fled his post, crosses paths with her when he crash-lands on her desert homeworld, Jakku. When he realizes that she's in possession of a droid containing a sought-after map, they team up to return the droid to a rebel base, gaining some unwanted attention from what remains of the Empire, now known as the First Order. As with any novelization, what’s sure to attract readers is what isn’t in the movie. For example, the book opens with a look at the ruminations of Gen. Leia Organa, and, even though it’s a brief scene, it handily delineates where the Empire and the rebellion currently stand—perhaps better than the actual film manages to do. However, some fans may be disappointed to find their favorite scenes offer little additional insight about characters’ thoughts, and it’s never clear why some moments receive additional detail or flourishes that didn’t appear in the film, and others don’t. Rey, in particular, comes across as somewhat more emotional than portrayed on screen. Foster keeps the prose steady if a bit workmanlike throughout, but there are a few nose dives into questionably florid prose; in the middle of one sentence, for instance, First Order baddie Kylo Ren is described as “saturnine of aspect, lithe of build, tortured of mien, and troubled of eye.” Ultimately, it’s the original story and characters from the film that make the book worth reading rather than Foster’s contributions.
The Force is adequate with this one.