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Catalyst is good to the SW universe in similar a way that the Silmarillon is good to the Lord of the Rings universe. It gives you good back story leading into but not right up to Rogue One. However, if you're looking for a book filled with the excitement and action you typically associate with the Star Wars films, don't expect to find it here.
This book is more about the subterfuge and trickery that takes place involving the Orso family and the development of the weapon portion of the Death Star.
Consequently, the action takes a back seat to the psychological drama going on behind the scenes.
You do get a broader picture of Grand Moff Tarkin in some of his earlier days as a Grand Moff and a clearer picture of his ruthlessness. You also are introduced to several other characters including another ambitious imperial officer and a smuggler who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe ultimately the opposite. I don't know that all the characters outlined in the book will appear in the movies, but certainly the background and understanding of their interactions with the characters in the movie will enrich the entire experience.
Johnathan Davis's performance is notable as well. He takes care to distinguish voices and accents to help give life to the words on the pages and give the listeners a sense of immersion in the SW universe. This is complimented by various background noises, musical quotes from the movies, and even the occasional sound effect on his voice itself.
Overall, it's an entertaining listen and/or read. Worth the time, if you love Star Wars and want to know more about the history of the mythos.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful
If you've seen the movie Rogue One and read this book, you may also feel as I did that the book didn't really add much to the movie. It's like they created the movie plot first and then the author, James Luceno, just tossed some stuff together to make a viable historical account of various events leading up to what we see in Rogue One.
Essentially, the book's plot follows the early life of Galen Urso, an engineering and theoretical physics genius, who comes up with the design that eventually provides the power to the Death Star, an ultra-super-weapon that we first see in the "first" Star Wars movie: A New Hope. Galen had no intent of creating such a destructive weapon, but was rather attempting to design a nearly unlimited source of power that would improve the lives of billions. Of course, the Empire, under the control of Emperor Palpatine and an ambitious Imperial officer, Orson Krenic, would rather create a super weapon and attempt to subvert Galen's work to their own ends.
Other characters include Galen's wife, Lira, their baby daughter Jyn (who is the main star in Rogue One), a younger rebel extremist, Saw Guerra, and a younger Tarkin.
The novel doesn't have a lot of action sequences and relies heavily on exposition/dialogue to provide the majority of the plot. Unfortunately, with so much exposition, the novel does tend to bog down.
Jonathan Davis is almost without equal as a narrator and once again gives a masterful performance, even matching closely to the accents/voices of the characters in the movie: Rogue One.
If you're a huge Star Wars fans, you'll appreciate this addition to the over-arching saga. Otherwise, this novel isn't absolutely essential to understanding the movie
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Gives a decent background for the Erso family and other Rogue One characters but lacked energy and prob could have been a lot shorter. Definitely not a must read but, of course, if you love star wars then give it a shot.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I really struggled with this book I just didn't find it very engaging but felt I had to read it to get ready for rogue one it does flesh out the the new characters but not in a interesting way I found the best bits were when we were finding out a bit of history on the Death Stars troubled construction this book could of been so much more
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
James Luceno *breathes* quality. That is to say the man has gotten to the point in terms of who he is as a person and his writing style where quality comes as easy to him as breathing. He is a masterful wordsmith, and Catalyst is by far his best work in my opinion. I can't wait for his next works in the Star Wars universe :) This novel was enrapturing and engaging, and so incredibly cinematic. Galen and Krennic leapt of the Page and once again, Luceno proves that he knows how Star Wars stories are told - with grandeur, with heart, and with a sense of being transported to another time and place whilst still being grounded. Catalyst is suspenseful, world-building magic, and it is *absolutely* required reading before seeing Rogue One!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Catalyst (Star Wars) the most enjoyable?
This is a must for all Star Wars fans. Listening to this helped make the Rouge One film one of my favourites. Catalyst is an awesome back story filled with nostalgic references that make it feel old and new at the same time. Great writing and Jonathan Davis is fantastic.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful