WRITER: RAE CARSON | PUBLISHER: DEL REY | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Whatever you may think about The Rise of Skywalker, there is no denying that this book is… certainly a thing that exists. In time for the home media release of the film, Rae Carson brings us the ‘Expanded Edition’ of the last instalment of the Skywalker saga (for now). In cases like this, the role of the novelisation artiste is to make the best of a bad job. She’s done that, and there are two major advantages that this book has over the film: hearing the thoughts of the characters, and the much-touted extra content that you didn’t get to see in cinemas.
Where the novelisation shines is the chance to get into the character’s heads. The one clear improvement over the film is seeing things from Leia’s point of view. We learn that the act of saving herself from space in The Last Jedi just postponed her death rather than avoided it. Something that we didn’t get in the film was Luke calling to Leia, urging her to join him in the Force. This builds up her final sacrifice and makes it clear that by reaching out to her son, she knows and is accepting her death.
The extra content mostly boils down to things that should’ve been in the film to begin with to stop the viewer asking questions. Bits of gap-filling information, like ‘Emperor Palpatine’s child is actually an imperfect clone’, or that Finn is in fact Force-sensitive. It’s not a reason for the book to exist by itself, but it definitely improves the experience.
The actual writing is strong; Carson moves the plot along quickly and adds some real texture to the worlds seen on screen. If it’s a choice between buying the Blu-ray or the book (and the price might mean you can only afford one), you might as well support the author making the best of a bad job.