I waited for this book on hold at my library for two and half months. It wasn’t worth it. At the same time, I’m glad I didn’t give in to my initial impulse to buy it. That would have been a huge waste of $20. Unfortunately, Alan Dean Foster manages to take a great story and make it more pondering, less exciting, and inserts a level of cheese into the dialogue with his added and extended scenes (and even in some cases, changed lines) that ruins things that were good in the actual film.
The stuff I liked most in the movie didn’t really translate well, if at all, to the page. The scene where BB-8 gives Finn the thumbs up in the film is one of my favorites, but all the things that make it wonderful (Finn’s pathetic pleading with the robot leading up to it, BB-8’s body language, his cute noises, and the actual jaunty way he gave the thumbs up) are completely absent, instead replaced by a single line. I had to bring my copy back to the library, but it was basically just “BB-8 mimicked a thumb’s up using one of his arms”. Boring, functional. Completely missing any sort of voice at all. The whole book is like that.
He did manage to plausibly explain some things only left to your imagination in the actual film, though. Starkiller base seemed so implausible to me that I just wrote it off as something I just couldn’t think about lest it fall apart, but the scientific mumbo jumbo he cranks out makes it seem at least somewhat like it might be a thing that could happen, possibly. There’s also the occasional line that has resonance and adds something to the existing script, like the last line, “She wondered what would happen next.”
This book entirely coasted on my goodwill from seeing the movie. It would not have stood well on its own, and it’s definitely not a good idea to try and read this before watching the movie, like I’ve seen some very strange people on Goodreads claiming they are going to do. WHY???
Please, Disney and Star Wars people who make these decisions, bring back Matthew Woodring Stover to do the next one. He’s really good at this shit.