Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (book review)
The novel Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is an adaptation of the Star Wars movie by the same name. The first part of this article states the official description of the novel, for those who may not have any experience with this story. Secondly, I focus on some of the differences between the novel and the movie. Lastly I relate my feelings on the book.
As the shadows of the Empire loom ever larger across the galaxy, so do deeply troubling rumors. The Rebellion has learned of a sinister Imperial plot to bring entire worlds to their knees. Deep in Empire-dominated space, a machine of unimaginable destructive power is nearing completion. A weapon too terrifying to contemplate . . . and a threat that may be too great to overcome.
If the worlds at the Empire’s mercy stand any chance, it lies with an unlikely band of allies: Jyn Erso, a resourceful young woman seeking vengeance; Cassian Andor, a war-weary rebel commander; Bodhi Rook, a defector from the Empire’s military; Chirrut Îmwe, a blind holy man and his crack-shot companion, Baze Malbus; and K-2SO, a deadly Imperial droid turned against its former masters. In their hands rests the new hope that could turn the tide toward a crucial Rebellion victory—if only they can capture the plans to the Empire’s new weapon.
But even as they race toward their dangerous goal, the specter of their ultimate enemy—a monstrous world unto itself—darkens the skies. Waiting to herald the Empire’s brutal reign with a burst of annihilation worthy of its dreaded name: Death Star.
Differences between the novel and the movie
The novel, Rogue One, offers readers a treat in being fairly faithful to the movie. While doing so, it also expands upon scenes from the movie and contains additional scenes that shed new light upon what the movie offers.
The following is a sampling of the expanded and additional scenes in this book:
- Cassian’s killing of Tevyk on The Ring of Kafreene was expanded upon and explained in greater detail than in the movie. We see that Cassian had no choice but to kill Tevyk as he would be captured, interrogated, tortured and killed by The Empire, as Tevyk was physically unable to escape.
- In the book we learn the names of some of the alien races that we see in the movie. In particular, the alien Bodhi Rook first meets when trying to find Saw Guerrera was a Tognath and the white furred alien wearing a rotary canon was a Jagoran.
- In the movie, there is a brief scene where Jyn wakes up in an Imperial holding cell with an alien cellmate. However, in the book, Jyn has much more of an interaction with the alien. The alien, who is nicknamed Kennel, threatens repeatedly to kill Jyn. In fact, Kennel was planning to kill Jyn in their work detail the same day that Jyn ended up being rescued by the Alliance.
- In the book, Jyn’s first meeting with K-2SO wasn’t quite as violent as in the movie. When attempting to flee the prison transport, she is grabbed by the back of her collar, not her throat as in the movie, and is tossed to the ground rather than slammed.
- There are a number of private to communiques and data files that we are privy to that add depth to the story. The best of these are between Tarkin and Krenick showing their constant power struggle, as well as information from Jedha that greatly expands upon it’s significance with those religions that center around the force.
- Finally, one of my favorite additional scenes comes in the way of the destruction of Jedha. We relive those final moments of Jedha and its destruction through the eyes of a number of its residence. This truly helps in driving home the significance and emotion of this moment.
For anyone who loved the movie, Rogue One, or for those who prefer reading stories over watching them on the big screen, this book is a must read. The novelization exquisitely tells the Rogue One story with intricate and caring detail that could not be related in a movie.
The audio book version of this novel is masterfully narrated by the highly accomplished Star Wars voice man, Jonathan Davis. If you’ve never experienced a Star Wars audio book, this book will be a treat as they skillfully blend effects with the top notch voice work.
To miss out on this book would be a travesty for any hardcore Star Wars fan.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story