Star Wars- Catalyst: A Rogue One Story Book Review
“Star Wars- Catalyst: A Rogue One Story” is easily the best novel in the new canon.
In this prequel novel to the forthcoming “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the story revolves around the brilliant scientist Galen Erso and his pregnant explorer wife Lyra. At the start of author James Luceno’s novel (which begins during the Clone Wars), Galen (who is a war neutral energy researcher with an interest in Crystallography) is trying to create power for worlds in need with his team on the Planet Vallt. Unfortunately, his research is disrupted when the planet falls to the Separatists. Worse still, the two are arrested.
Elsewhere in the galaxy, the slimy, methodical, manipulative and power hungry Lt. Commander Orson Krennic is working with the Special Weapons Group to begin construction on a battle station (AKA The Death Star), but the construction has hit a roadblock in terms of creating a primary weapon. Krennic believes one man can be of help. That man is his friend Galen Erso. What follows is Krennic essentially playing a LONG game to lure Galen into researching energy which in turn can be secretly weaponized. This “game” spills over into a post “Revenge of the Sith” world where the Empire has seized control.
Aside from the main storyline, there are other key storylines involving a smuggler (Has) used as a pawn by Krennic, the birth of Jyn Erso, Kyber Crystals, Imperial Officers, a certain freedom fighter, worlds being preyed upon by the Empire, and Krennic driving a wedge between Lyra and Galen.
Going into “Star Wars- Catalyst: A Rogue One Story,” my anticipation for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was already at an all-time high. After reading this novel, however, my anticipation has only risen. This is the type of “Star Wars” book I have been waiting for with the new canon. Not only does the story have depth, but it is absolutely integral to the film canon as it answers some questions that have been lingering for years. There’s no filler to be had here. On top of that, James Luceno crams the book full of so many deep cuts that I found myself geeking out on more than one occasion. How can you not love Poggle The Lesser’s character development, the further exploration of Geonosian mythology, the Prequel (and Clone Wars) connections, and seeing some familiar faces pop up? It’s pure “Star Wars” heaven.
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of “Catalyst” is the attention to character. Since none of us have seen “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” yet, our knowledge about Galen, Lyra, and Krennic’s characters is obviously limited, but this novel does an incredible job of fully exploring these characters. Now, when you see “Rogue One,” we’ll know so much about these characters which will only add to the viewing experience. James Luceno also does a superb job digging into established characters like Mas Amedda, Poggle The Lesser (one of my personal favorite prequel characters), and Tarkin. I’d go as far as to say that Tarkin is written better here than in the entirety of the disappointing Luceno “Tarkin” novel. The character simply has much more to do in this.
Overall Thoughts: With the sadly no longer canon “Darth Plagueis” and now the canonical “Catalyst,” James Luceno has firmly established himself as one of the best writers in the “Star Wars” universe. An essential read.
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