Title: Star Wars: Before the Awakening
Author: Greg Rucka
Publisher: Disney LucasFilm Press
Check this book out on Goodreads.
A companion piece to the “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” character novels, Star Wars: Before the Awakening is an anthology book that focuses on the lives of Rey, Finn, and Poe before the events of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (Source: Goodreads)
This prequel to the film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, follows Finn, Rey, and Poe in the time immediately leading into the movie. The book gives a little additional context to the situation for the characters within the beginning of the movie. Finn struggles to conform within the ranks of the Stormtroopers, Rey tries to survive and build a ship on Jakku, and Poe comes to learn to truth about the New Republic.
I really enjoyed this book, it was a really fun read, and it was actually really interesting to see this little bit of the characters’ lives before the movie. I don’t know that this is an entirely necessary book to read for fans of the movies, I just think it’s kind of an interesting peek before the movie events.
Finn’s story was interesting and gave some great context for what exactly he is struggling with at the beginning of the movie. He doesn’t believe in killing innocent lives, and is too empathetic to really fit into the ranks of the Stormtroopers, which is something you see but never really get explicitly stated in the film. There is some additional Captain Phasma content in this section of the book, but it doesn’t really do much to fill out her character, which sucks as she was one of the more disappointing elements of the movie.
Rey’s section of the book was really great and probably the most exciting. She’s building a ship with no intention of leaving Jakku but merely selling it to she can continue to live there. This of course doesn’t go the way she plans. I think there were some problems with the plot as it doesn’t have anywhere to go really. She comes to realize other people want to leave Jakku but she doesn’t, and there isn’t much to do with that outside of the film where she finally realizes that she needs to give up on waiting for her family. Within the book it’s just a dead end. It was interesting and quite fun to see her building, but it just felt like a dead end. I think this did just kind of solidify hot awesome Rey is as a character though, because we get to see her struggling and scavenging and it’s just really exciting.
The final portion of the book is Poe Dameron. He is originally a New Republic Naval Commander, but he comes to realize the New Republic has no intention of doing anything about the threat of the First Order, and he goes rogue until General Leia recruits him to the Rebellion. This gave a lot of context to the political situation in the film, which I think was an excellent way to get to know this since the politics was part of what made the prequels fail. I enjoyed Poe’s portion of the book, it was nice to get to know more about his character as he had limited screen time.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this book. It should be noted that this is a MG-YA book, so the writing level is a little more aimed at younger readers, not that it isn’t acceptable for adults too. I recommend this book if you’re looking for a little more Force Awakens after seeing the movie.