The movie did it better. To be fair, the movie always does it better than the novelization. Novelizations are nearly to a one marketing ploys. But after having read the novelization for Rogue One, I am now spoiled for all future movie novelizations. That book was fantastic. It was a piece of art all on its own, and I nearly liked it better than the movie.
This was not that. It was competent. Nothing was wrong. But most importantly, it didn’t really translate; the big moments did not hit here like they did in the film. They mostly just zoomed by and no emotional impact was recorded. I’m thinking specifically of two of my favorite moments, the Kylo Ren/Snoke/Rey sequence, and Luke vs. Ben at the end. Fry wrote those two scenes, the whole book really, as if relaying what happened. There didn’t seem to be any attempt to evoke the same feelings the movie did through different means. There was no art to it.
Still, it was a good enough reading experience. Like I said, now that I know that novelizations can be great, I will be holding all the rest of them to that standard. Rounding up from 3.5 though, because this was way better than The Force Awakens novelization, which was not great, and also because the “deleted scenes” were legitimately fun. Especially the prologue, which was an extended fantasy sequence into what Luke’s life would have been like had he never gone to find old Ben in the desert back in the first movie.
[3.5 stars, rounded up]