Look, this is a review for the novelization of the movies, so ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** (Although, if this applies to you, just go see it already…)
I’m going to preface this review by saying that I don’t typically read movie novelizations. The only one I have read before was for one of the Jaws sequels when I was a kid. Jaws 2, maybe? I vaguely remember it being about a female shark and she was pregnant, I think? There was definitely maybe a water skier on the cover. I’m not going to bother looking it up. I only read it because it was about sharks, and I had read through all of Peter Benchley’s catalogue.
Anyway, my point is I don’t really have anything else to compare this experience to, so it’s entirely possible my gripes are basically the status quo for novelizations. Let’s do this.
I’m not going to bother with a summary. As my title suggests, if you’ve seen the movie, you know what happens. This book was not a hard read by any standard. I have not read any of the author’s other books, so perhaps the somewhat clunky writing was more a product of him being bound creatively by somebody else’s vision. Where most other books will have some sort of separation between scenes, Foster switches scenes without any notice. One paragraph may end with Rey gallivanting around Jakku, and the next paragraph begins with Poe dodging TIE Fighters. Why, it’s almost like when a movie switches scenes suddenly. Oh right…
You do get a little insight into the motivations behind certain actions, and some of the character/scenes are a little more fleshed out. For instance, you see a bit more of Rey discovering her Force powers, and it doesn’t come off as much as a stage direction “[Rey discovers her mind powers while strapped to a chair randomly]” as the movie kinda sorta almost implies. There’s a bit part explaining how Poe got off Jakku following the crash; to our disappointment, he is not capable of transporting himself wherever he pleases (except straight to our hearts). Unkar Plutt shows up in a later scene, and gets what’s coming to him. So that’s nice, I guess.
For those of you wondering, we are not given any more details regarding Finn’s famous moments with TR-8R. He is given just as little attention in the book as in the movie. Captain Phasma is just as disappointingly a non-presence. Also, somewhat surprisingly, Han’s death is much more poignant in the movie. I would have thought that with literally every word ever at his disposal, Foster would have turned up the emotions. Nope.
If you have a free afternoon with nothing else to read, I suppose you could do worse than reading The Force Awakens, but I wouldn’t rush to recommend this as THE book to read anytime soon.