The Star Wars Reader

I’ve recently started reading the new canon Star Wars books, and I’ve been loving them. I’ve posted a few reviews on this blog: Bloodline, Rebel Rising, and Kenobi. I’ve loved doing them so much, and have gotten so intrigued by the world of Star Wars books, that I decided to create a new blog just for them.

Introducing The Star Wars Reader. My aim is to read one Star Wars book a week and review it on this new blog. My intention is to possibly help Star Wars fans who want to start reading and exploring the books, but maybe don’t know where to start or what they might like.

As a newbie myself, I know the world of Star Wars books can be a bit confusing. Canon? Expanded Universe? Legends? What does it all mean? Hopefully, as I read more books and review them, I can shed a little light on these questions and make it a little less confusing.

I’m really excited to start this new adventure, and I’d love it if you’d join me at The Star Wars Reader. Click the link and hit the follow button or sign up with your email for every new book review.

Upcoming books include Heir to the Jedi, Catalyst, and Phasma, to name just a few.

Hope to see you there!

Book Review: Kenobi

Maybe it’s because I’m excited about the upcoming Kenobi series on Disney+ (although we have to wait until 2022); or maybe it’s because, after 20 years, I’m starting to warm to the prequels. Whatever the reason, I’m really starting to love the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

So in my Star Wars book perusal, I knew I had to read this one. It takes place right after Revenge of the Sith, when Obi-Wan delivers baby Luke to the Lars’ on Tattoine, with the intention of starting his long watch over the boy.

Beyond that, there isn’t much of Luke or Owen and Beru Lars; instead, we get Obi-Wan getting involved in some local drama between moisture farmers and Tusken Raiders. It sounds a bit dull, and it did take a while to get going. But Miller was laying the groundwork for a superb story, in my opinion.

The novel isn’t told from Obi-Wan’s point of view. Rather, we see him as the strange newcomer in the eyes of the locals. After all, we already know who he is and why he’s there, but they don’t. Like any isolated, small community, they’re all over “Ben,” peppering him with questions that he expertly evades, which only makes him more mysterious.

One of the point of view characters is Annileen Calwell, a widow with two teenage children. She runs her late husband’s store, Danner’s Claim; she’s a feisty, capable woman who takes an interest in the new arrival. She runs the store in honor of her late husband, Danner, but once upon a time she dreamed of something more.

Another POV character is Orrin Gault, a moisture farmer and entrepreneur, and a family friend of the Calwells. Orrin has created a defense system called the Settler’s Call, a kind of alarm and rescue organization to help any settlers attacked by the Tusken Raiders. But Orrin has secrets, and he’s willing to do whatever he has to in order to protect them.

The third POV character is a leader of one of the Tusken clans (or “Sand People”, as the locals call them) named A’Yark. It was interesting to get into the mind of one of these beings who I never really thought about before. Through A’Yark, we get a sense of their culture, how they think, and why they do the things they do. A’Yark becomes a principal player in the story thread that is expertly woven by Miller, and I was drawn in completely.

We do get to hear Obi-Wan’s voice in the form of occasional “Meditations” at the end of chapters, where he “speaks” to Qui Gon Jinn, his former master. If you recall, at the end of Revenge of the Sith, Yoda had told Obi-Wan that he would tell him how to contact the Force Ghost of Qui Gon. These meditations are Obi-Wan’s attempts at just that, but Qui Gon never answers. Obi-Wan speaks to him anyway, telling him what’s happened to him since his arrival, and his failure at trying to remain obscure.

Notably, he’s still upset about what happened with Anakin, and obsesses about how he might have prevented Anakin’s fall. But being Obi-Wan, he doesn’t allow himself to wallow too long. He finds himself in the center of a conflict between the settlers and the Tuskens, and applies his Jedi skills (discreetly, of course) to navigate the fallout.

“Kenobi” is labelled as “Legends” rather than the new canon, but no matter. I don’t think it changes or contradicts anything that has come before or may come in the future; it can simply be seen as one of Ben Kenobi’s adventures during his long tenure on Tattoine.

I loved this book; I loved its parallels to a Clint Eastwood kind of spaghetti western; I just love Obi-Wan Kenobi. If you do, too, I recommend this book highly.

Book Review: Rebel Rising

If you’re a fan of Rogue One, and of Jyn Erso in particular, you might want to get your hands on Rebel Rising, by Beth Revis.

This book chronicles the events of Jyn’s life from the time Krennic came for her father at eight years old, until the Alliance breaks her out of the Wobani prison camp. The narrative flashes back and forth between Jyn’s time with Saw (and other events after he abandoned her) and her time at the prison.

The first third of the book tells of her time with Saw, and we get a better picture of their relationship. When he rescues her from the cave, he tells her “I don’t know what to do with you, kid.” What he ends up doing is training her to fight, which is all to the good. But, although he becomes a sort of father-figure to Jyn, he’s not particularly good at it. He doesn’t coddle her. But it’s clear he cares for her.

Jyn’s time with Saw Gerrera paints a clearer picture of the man. He seems cold and unfeeling, but we learn that he once had a sister. She died years ago fighting against the Empire, but Saw was the one who had inadvertently caused her death. Since then, he’s closed himself off to any emotion except rage and a laser-focus commitment on destroying the Empire no matter what the cost. Instead of joining with others in a concerted effort to defeat the Empire, he’s become a terrorist.

Jyn is loyal to Saw (he came for her, after all), but even she internally questions his tactics. Still, he’s all she’s got, and his abandonment of her during a mission gone wrong is a traumatic blow. Saw knew that Jyn’s real identity as Galen Erso’s daughter would forever follow them, and put their various missions in danger. Turns out, even though Saw cared for her, he cared more for his crusade against the Empire.

After Saw’s abandonment, Jyn finds herself on a planet called Skuhl, where she comes to live with a woman named Akshaya and her son, Hadder. She comes to know a brief year of peace and happiness, and even has a little romance with Hadder, before both the Empire and her past shows up to ruin things once again.

After that, she becomes a wanderer, taking on jobs where she can as a codebreaker, not caring whether she works for the Imperials or for anyone who works against them. This proves to be her undoing, however, as she often gets caught between the two. She tries to remain neutral, while still following her conscience, which is a tricky thing in the galaxy just then.

Eventually, she gets double-crossed by the Imperials she’s working for, and gets sent to Wobani. The Wobani prison scenes gives us more insight into the conditions she lived under there, which is to say, soul-crushing. At one point, Jyn loses all hope, but it’s the memories of her mother (of whom she’s reminded of by the kyber crystal around her neck) that gets her through.

“Trust in the Force,” her mother had told her before she died, and Jyn interprets that as meaning, don’t give up hope. When the Alliance breaks her out of the prison, and presents their ultimatum (help us find your father or we’ll send you back to prison), she agrees. Obviously she doesn’t want to go back to Wobani, but it’s not necessarily to find her father at that point, either, or to help the Alliance. Her mother didn’t want her to give up hope. The last few paragraphs of the book sums up her decision:

“The last thing Papa had said was to trust him.

The last thing Mama had said was to trust the Force.

She wasn’t sure she could do either of those things, but for the first time since she was eight years old, she was willing to try.

…She looked out at the faces of the people around her. Expectant. She recognized something in their expressions that she had never expected to see again.

Hope.

She had thought her hope had died on Wobani. Snuffed out like a flame deprived of oxygen…But seeing these people, the way they still believed they had a chance–a chance hinged on her–rekindled that spark inside her she had thought died long ago.

She wouldn’t go down again for doing nothing.

They were giving her a chance. It wouldn’t change what had happened in the past. But maybe it would help change the future.” (Pgs 409-410).

Rebel Rising is a good story of Jyn Erso’s formative years, creating the person we see at the beginning of Rogue One. I think it may have been marketed as a YA novel, so the story is fairly straightforward, but still interesting enough to hold an adult fan’s interest. I will admit it’s a bit depressing; this girl just doesn’t get any breaks. Her life is hard, short, and ultimately tragic; but also triumphant. Recommended.

Star Wars Books, Here I Come

Yikes. Where to begin?

For something different, I thought I’d delve into the world of Star Wars books.

I love to read, and on previous blogs, I’ve done book reviews and really enjoyed writing them. And since the SW films are complete, and we’re waiting on Season 2 of the Mandalorian, as well as future series like the Kenobi and Cassian Andor series, I need more Star Wars (I haven’t gotten into the Clone Wars yet; that may be a future project).

What better way to get more Star Wars than through the many, many books that are out there in that galaxy far, far away? I’ve read all the sequel trilogy novelizations, as well as the stand-alone (Rogue One and Solo) novelizations, and loved all of them. Now what?

After looking into it, I found that it’s very easy to get confused about which books to read, where to start, what are the best, etc. There are literally hundreds of books. Most are comprised of the Expanded Universe or Legends books (books written over the years before Disney took over Lucasfilm and deemed them non-canon).

Then there are the newer, Disney-approved “canon” novels. I’ve already read one such book, Bloodline, by Claudia Gray, and loved it. Encouraged by this, I thought I’d start with some of the newer canon novels, and then backtrack into some of the EU novels. Each book I choose will be based solely on what appeals to me.

The only other Star Wars books I’ve read were the original Thrawn books by Timothy Zahn 35 years or so ago. I may re-read these, and then also the new Thrawn canon books that Zahn recently wrote. But not for a while since I’ve got a stack of books in front of me for my reading pleasure. These include:

  • Rebel Rising, by Beth Revis.
  • Phasma, by Delilah S. Dawson
  • Catalyst, by James Luceno
  • Heir to the Jedi, by Kevin Hearne
  • Kenobi, by John Jackson Miller

This is pretty much the order I’ll be reading them in.

I did start to read Last Shot, a Han and Lando story which I was really looking forward to, by Daniel Jose Older, but I couldn’t finish it. This rarely happens, that I find a book so bad I can’t finish. I hate to say it, but it was a terrible mess. Three different timelines flashing back and forth, aimless meandering of the characters that slowed down the action, a non-traditional gender character referred to as “they” (which is fine, but it just confused the hell out of me), and, most egregiously, dialogue that did not reflect the characters of Han and Lando. It was frustrating, and disappointing.

Other than that, I’m hoping to have a blast reading these further adventures of our favorite heroes, and I’ll tell you what I think in future posts.

Have you read any Star Wars novels? Which are your favorites? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

Book Review: Bloodline

This is the first Star Wars canon novel I’ve read (besides the film novelizations), and I have to say, I’m impressed. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this book sucked me in like the sinking sands of Pasaana.

If you’ve ever wondered how the First Order came to power, how the New Republic failed and Leia came to lead the Resistance, this is the book for you.

It begins a few years before the events of The Force Awakens. Leia is a Senator in the New Republic at the capitol of Hosnian Prime. Han is running a ship-racing event in another system, and Ben is a teenager training with Luke at his Jedi Academy.

Mon Mothma is the Chancellor of the New Republic, but she’s absent due to illness and may never return. Without her clear guidance, the Senate has divided into two factions: the Populists, of which Leia is a member, and who believe individual worlds should mostly govern themselves; and the Centrists, who believe in a stronger galactic goverment and military.

These two factions bicker and blame each other in a way that is easily familiar to us, and just as frustrating. Leia stresses compromise to both factions, but no one wants to listen. The heroes of the Rebellion are still honored, but most have forgotten the pain and bloodshed of war; a great many weren’t even alive at the time, and tend to romanticize it. Leia senses trouble for the New Republic if they can’t bridge their differences.

After a statue dedication to Bail Organa, a Ryloth ambassador addresses the Senate and tells them that, after the fall of the Hutts, his people are now threatened by a new crime cartel led by the Niktos, led by Rinnrivin Di. Leia is concerned and volunteers to investigate the situation on Bastatha, but the Centrists decide to send one of their own with her, a young Senator named Ransolm Casterfo.

When she meets with him, Leia is horrified to find that Casterfo actually admires the Empire, and has a personal collection of artifacts in his office. Casterfo claims that he only admires the structure of the Empire, and not the Emperor who led it. As a Centrist, he believes in a strong central government, and that the “chaos” of a Populist government can help no one. They get into a testy debate, and she angrily leaves his office, convinced that their mission will be acutely uncomfortable.

She isn’t wrong, at first. But as they investigate the cartel and Rinnrivin Di, their mutual animosity turns to grudging respect, and as the book goes on, understanding and even friendship. That friendship, however, is tested, not only by politics, but by Leia’s very personal secret she’s kept from everyone for decades: that Vader is her father.

I love that this book explores Leia’s thoughts and feelings about her parentage, which we don’t hear too much about anywhere else. Not only about Anakin/Vader and Padme, but her adoptive parents, Bail and Breha Organa.

I love that, even though we don’t see Han Solo too much in the book, they share sweet intergalactic phone calls, with no hint of the bickering they’re famous for, or the eventual split caused by Ben’s turn. By this point, they have a mutual understanding of how their marriage works best, and the love between them is clear.

I love the references to past events, like Leia’s killing of Jabba (which turns out to be an important plot point here), or when Vader held her prisoner on the first Death Star and tortured her.

I love that, no matter which galaxy you’re in, politics and government are proven to be pretty much the same: a predictable shit-show.

Basically, I loved everything about this book. I would have loved to see and hear more of Ben, but I suppose that wasn’t the purpose of the book. Both Ben and Han are out of her reach most of the time, and it’s Leia’s story all the way.

Claudia Gray is a wonderful writer, and I highly recommend this book to any Star Wars fan who wants a little more insight into Leia and pre-TFA events.

Friday Focus: Solo Novelization (Q’ira Part 2 + L-3)

That looks like a mathematical equation, but the Solo novelization, by Mur Lafferty, is perfect to discuss more about Q’ira, as well as L-3, in my Women of Star Wars series.

Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition

I loved Solo: A Star Wars Story, and was eager to read the novelization in hopes of getting some more insight into the characters, and I wasn’t disappointed.

What I especially loved about the book was that it gave us more insight into the two female characters, Q’ira and L-3. There’s a scene in the movie where Q’ira engages L-3 in conversation while on the Millenium Falcon, and it’s expanded in the book to give us some more backstory to both characters.

“Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra from Solo: A Star Wars Story ”
Q’ira and L3

After L-3 quips that’s “It works,” referring to a possible relationship between her and Lando, she goes on to ask Q’ira what her story is. A flashback scene takes us into Q’ira’s memories after Han escaped Corellia while she didn’t. She’s brought back to Lady Proxima, and as she realizes she’ll have to stand in for Han’s crimes as well as her own, “Resentment, a seed planted in dry ground at the spaceport, got a little bit of water and began to squirm very slightly in her chest.” She’s glad he got out, but…she didn’t.

Lady Proxima sells her to a slave dealer, who eventually sells her to Dryden Voss. The first year was “hell” filled with escape attempts and beatings. But on her last attempt, he’s impressed enough to offer her a chance to use her potential and work for him. He teaches her Teras Kasi, a fighting style meant for nonforce users to use against Jedi. She’s not free, but she does gain some power, as in becoming his right hand. She has luxuries, she lives unshackled, and can take part in Crimson Dawn business. Nevertheless, “the chain that attached them wasn’t one of physical links, but something she knew could never break.”

L-3 intuits this, and asks her “What’s your restraining bolt?” The answer, of course, is Dryden Voss himself, and at the end of the book, Q’ira removes her restraining bolt by killing him.

Solo: A Star Wars Story | StarWars.com
L3-37

Q’ira asks L-3 about her story, and L-3 tells her that her first owner, after cleaning her sensors, forgot to put her restraining bolt back. She used the parts in his workshop to modify herself and download data, and left to look for work. Alas, no one wanted to hire her as an independent contractor rather than use as a droid slave. Until Lando. He took a chance on her, and they’d been flying together ever since, all the while L-3 never giving up on her quest to liberate any droid she could find.

I loved these two females having a “girl talk”, discussing the limited choices they could make within their constricted lives, and the nature of freedom and oppression. L-3 is actually freer than Q’ira: she’s there by her own choice, while Q’ira is beholden to Voss.

We get much more from L-3 when she’s plugged into the Millenium Falcon after her “death.” At first she resists, not wanting to become a slave to humans again, as a ship doing what they want her to do. But the Falcon talks to her and convinces her that it’s either meld with the ship and become one with it, or die. She can live on, and become part of something bigger.

I love, love, love that we get to hear the Falcon actually speak to L-3 (well, through its circuitry). It’s what we knew all along: the Millenium Falcon is a character in its own right. Once L-3 does merge with the ship, its character becomes a combination of concern, and even love, for its owner(s), a vast navigational knowledge, and a bit of sass. Sounds about right.

HALCON MILENARIO
The Falcon

We even get a scene of Lando talking to L-3 one last time once she’s plugged into the ship’s computer, which is touching. They trade jokes and insults before saying goodbye, and then her individual consciousness fades away into the Falcon. One last flicker thinks This is tolerable.

In the Epilogue, we get another scene that was not in the movie, but that was satisfying in that it connected to another Star Wars stand-alone: Rogue One.

Star Wars Authentics | Enfys Nest
Enfys Nest

The young woman who is Enfys Nest has travelled to meet with Saw Gerrera, to deliver all that coaxium she stole from the Crimson Dawn for her cause. She’s surprised that he brought along a girl, about eleven years old, with him: Jyn Erso.

He brought her along because he wants Jyn “to learn.” Seeing how young she is, Enfys, who is young herself at sixteen, removes her helmet so Jyn can see her. “They’re going to underestimate you,” she says to Jyn. “Make them regret it.”

As they all walk onto her shuttle to discuss the coaxium, Jyn whispers to Enfys, “He’s going to underestimate you,” referring to Saw. The last few lines of the book is:

Enfys smiled to herself. The girl learned fast. They might be in good hands after all.

This was a wonderful little bridge to Rogue One, and a great ending to a excellent novelization.

Monday Musings: Rogue One Novelization (Or, Jyn Part 2)

Star Wars : Rogue One

I just finished reading the Rogue One novelization by Alexander Freed, and I have to say, though I enjoyed it, I’m not sure if “book Jyn” is the same person as “movie Jyn.”

Here’s what I mean. The same events happen to her as in the movie, the same origins, and the same end. Everything’s the same on the outside. On the inside of Jyn’s mind and heart, however, I saw a different person than I saw onscreen.

In the movie, Jyn is an emotionally distant criminal with no allegiances. She’s hurt and bewildered by her mother’s death and her father’s and Saw’s abandonment. It makes her bitter and hardened, distrustful.

A mother’s gift

In the book, Jyn is not merely bitter–she’s a raging inferno of hate. She hates everyone and everything, but especially her father, Galen Erso. Seriously, if Jyn was a Force user, she’d have turned to the Dark Side almost immediately. She spits anger and hatred and distrust almost constantly, a tensed animal ready to spring into violence.

I was a little unsettled by this version of Jyn. While I perfectly understood it, it was at odds with the Jyn I saw portrayed by Felicity Jones onscreen. Maybe it’s Jones’ lovely face that made me feel there was more hurt and loneliness behind her heart than hatred. A silly tendency, maybe; but Jones is a wonderful actress, and I seriously doubt she misunderstood the character.

That means the author decided to go deep into Jyn’s psyche to tell the story, and what he apparently found there caused him to create a character that constantly wanted to blow things up. Kind of like an unhinged, female Poe Dameron.

I’m not saying Alexander Freed is a bad writer, or did the wrong thing. On the contrary, he created a pretty convincing psychology of Jyn based on what he knew of the character. In the book, Jyn is not only damaged by her past experiences, but traumatized. He thought about a sweet 8-year-old girl who watched her mother get murdered, her father leave with the Imperials, and who was then delivered into the hands of a violent guerilla extremist who had no interest in coddling her, despite his love for her–or even because of it. What kind of person does that create?

Someone who compartmentalizes her pain to survive, and stuffs all her emotions into a “dark cave” that she rarely explores. It’s the cave she hid inside as a child, waiting for someone to find her. Over the course of the book, that cave keeps opening up to her little by little, a bit of light here and there to illuminate everything she’s trying to deny or forget. When she sees the holographic message from her father, it puts her into a tailspin; she doesn’t know what to think of her father anymore:

My father is alive. My father is a traitor. My father is building a weapon to destroy worlds. My father is a hero. My father is a coward. My father is a bastard. Galen Erso is not my father. Galen Erso didn’t raise me…

Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso
Galen Erso: hero, coward, bastard, father

The girl’s a tad messed up. Who can blame her? However, over the course of the book, that dark cave of emotions keeps getting pried open more and more, until, at the end of the story, when she and Cassian and the Rogue One crew are on their way to get the Death Star plans come hell or high water, it’s wide open and illuminated. She’s accepted everything that’s in there, is at peace with it, and herself–she’s now a woman with a purpose, doing what she’s meant to do. When the end comes,

…The world grew brighter, emerald at first and then a clean, purifying white. In Jyn’s mind, the cave below the broken hatch was illuminated with the strength of a sun, and then the walls turned to dust and there was no longer a cave but only her spirit and heart and everything she had ever been: the daughter of Galen and Lyra and Saw, the angry fighter and the shattered prisoner and the champion and the friend.

Soon all those things, too, burned away, and Jyn Erso–finally at peace–became one with the Force.

At the end, book Jyn and movie Jyn are the same, and the differences don’t seem to matter too much.

I always enjoy reading the novelizations of the movies, because it gives us a chance to see into a character’s mind a little bit more than a movie can do. This one was more uncomfortable than most, but still worth a read.

Check out my Women of Star Wars post on Jyn Erso here.

Did you read the Rogue One novelization? What did you think? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!

TROS Novelization: A Good Read

Not sure where they got this image. Kylo never wore his helmet during this scene.

So I’ve just finished reading The Rise of Skywalker novelization by Rae Carson, and I have to say, it was a wonderful read. Not because it’s Great Literature (though she does a fine job with it), but because it adds so much to the story.

Some fans feel that the movie is a rushed mess, that there’s no context in many scenes, and the editing was terrible. I don’t disagree with this; but at two and a half hours already, there’s just so much you can put in there.

That’s where a great novelization comes in.

Here’s my list of Really Interesting Things in the book that’s not in the movie but would have been awesome to see:

Will Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Expand On Leia's Force Powers?
  • Leia gets more attention. Obviously, with Carrie Fisher’s death, we were lucky to get what we did in the film. And while it’s amazing what they did with what they had, the book is able to give her more attention, especially her scenes with Rey. We get see her thoughts on thinking back to her training with Luke, and more memories with Ben as a baby. More importantly, I think, we see that Luke has been speaking with her from beyond, telling her “It’s time,” as in, time to die. “Not yet,” she keeps replying, reluctant to let go of her responsibilities. She also still wants to try to reach Ben, to show him she still loves him. “Then tell him,” Luke says, and that’s when she reaches out, and Kylo begins his journey back to Ben Solo.
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER - Eye Of Webbish Bog Scene Was Indeed Filmed (But Isn't On The Blu-ray)
  • The Webbish Bog on Mustafar. At the very beginning of the film, when Kylo scythes through all those aliens to get to the Wayfinder, it’s a little confusing as to what exactly he’s doing and why. The book includes an extended scene of Kylo finding a strange being in a bog: a huge bald head emerges from the water with a spidery being attached to its skull, a symbiotic but painful relationship that’s a bit horrifying. The spidery thing tells Kylo that he’s earned Vader’s Wayfinder, but if he continues on this path, he’ll encounter his true self. Hmmm….The scene also has Hux and Pryde watching from afar and commenting on Kylo’s actions. Hux is impatient with Kylo’s mystical shenanigans, as usual, but Pryde comments that Ren’s carnage is “almost a thing of beauty.” We see the stark contrast between these two men immediately, and that Pryde, older and with Imperial ties, may have some sympathy with the old ideas of the Force, the Jedi, and the Sith.
Billy Dee Williams Talks Lando Calrissian and 'Rise of Skywalker' - Rolling Stone
  • Lando’s child. We get more from Lando, too, including his thinking back about losing his own child, a young daughter, to the First Order. This would have cleared up my confusion on first seeing the film, at the end when Lando asks Janna about her home system. Not necessarily that he might be her father (C3PO wouldn’t have very good odds on that), but just why he would be so interested in helping others find their original homes. It’s personal to him. “They got their revenge by turning our children against us,” he says earlier in the film, to Rey and her companions. We also get to see him reminiscing aboard the Millenium Falcon, and being outraged that his cloak closet had been converted to something else. The nerve!
Chewbacca Actor Got Really Emotional Filming Leia Scenes For The Rise Of Skywalker Without Carrie Fisher
  • Kylo Ren interrogates Chewie. When Chewie is taken aboard Ren’s ship, he probes the Wookie’s mind to find out where Rey is. He gets that info, but he also sees more than he bargained for: Chewie’s warm, tender memories of young Ben Solo, the toddler cuddling the big furry lug, Chewie teaching him things, and just basically how Chewie loved him. It makes Kylo nauseous, and clearly affects him deeply. We get to see that these two had a relationship in the past; Chewie isn’t just an afterthought.
  • Zorii’s escape from Kijimi. We get an extended scene of Zorii escaping Kijimi before the First Order blows it up. We meet the people in her gang, including a young girl named Lluda. Zorii originally was going to take Lluda with her, but the girl decides to stay and helps her escape instead. I’m guessing the girl died on the planet when it blew up. This, along with the death of other friends, may be why Zorii decided to join the fight of the Resistance at battle of Exegol.
Reylo: Star-Crossed Lovers🔥 on Instagram: ““Their bond, a dyad in the Force. Unseen for generations.”✨ • • • #reylo #bensolo #rey #theriseofskywalker #forcebond #dyad”
  • Getting into the heads of Rey and Ben at the end. The scenes with Rey and Ben as they face the Emperor, and then Ben’s reviving of Rey, and his subsequent death, are pretty much the same as in the film, but it’s wonderful to get into their heads as all this is going on. We get a better sense of how they feel as they realize the true nature of their shared connection; in fact, they realize they’d been “robbed” of this very special bond, and that it had only been a twisted version that they’d been living thus far. It adds to the tragedy of the whole thing, but we get a better sense of satisfaction in knowing the intimate nature of their bond. Most importantly–and this absolutely should have been in the movie–after Ben dies, Rey hears his voice say, “I will always be with you.” And Rey thinks, No one is ever really gone. Geez, that would have added, what, 5 seconds to the film? Why couldn’t we have seen that?! It’s so much more satisfying than what we got, a more complete sense of closure.

Those are the big things that stood out, but there were some little things that were delightful to read, such as:

  • At one point, Kylo Ren refers, in his thoughts, to Rey’s “lovely face.” Bae is pretty!
  • Poe reminds himself to ask Lando about his awesome cape. I can so see Poe wanting a cape.
  • Rey’s original idea about her own lightsaber was to make a double-bladed one–the very kind she saw Dark Rey using. Probably why she changed her mind and went with the single blade.
  • Hux hates Ren’s hair! Absolutely. Hates. It. Its messy length goes against everything he believes in: order, order, order; and he muses on the idea of making Ren cut it off when he, Hux, is in charge. I thought this was a great tidbit.
Kylo Ren during the Throne Room battle
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Have you read the TROS novelization? What did you think? Comment below and we’ll talk about it!