"It is a period of civil war.
Rebel spaceships, striking
from a hidden base, have won
their first victory against
the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel
spies managed to steal secret
plans to the Empire's
ultimate weapon, the DEATH
STAR, an armored space
station with enough power
to destroy an entire planet."
Since the time we all first saw that opening crawl of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, many of us have wondered about the details regarding that battle and the brave rebel spies who stole the plans to the original Death Star. This review will assume that you have seen the movie that this novel is an adaptation of.
If you haven't seen the movie, stop now. Spoilers ahead!
For those big into reading, "The book is better," is a very common term. I've found that this isn't always true for books written as an adaptation for a movie script rather than the other way around. The Rogue One adaptation by Alexander Freed is one of those that challenges that pattern for me.
This book adds an incredible amount of background information to the story of Rogue One and its characters. The beginnings of chapters often contain messages or memos sent between important figures that give incredible insight into behind-the-scenes action. These include messages between Galen, Krennic, and other Death Star design personnel, messages between Mon Mothma and other members of Alliance Command, and others.
The biggest jewel contained in the novel, hands down, is the motivation of all the characters involved. In a way that is easier for a book to do over a movie, you are given insight into the minds and thoughts of every major character involved including the main Rogue One team but also Saw, Mon Mothma, General Draven, Tarkin, Krennic, Galen, Lyra, and others. I learned a ton of information about the Alliance to Restore the Republic and Mon Mothma without any boring exposition or loss of pacing.
Each death of the main crew is made more poignant because you know each character so much better than you do just from watching the movie. I know about Bodhi Rook's history and the source of his many insecurities, not to mention the entire Bor Gullet scene actually makes sense, has repercussions, and fits into the story better.
Chirrut is still my favorite character. I love his humor, dedication, and understand more about his religious connection to The Force of Others as he calls it, and his life as a Guardian of the Whills. (There is also some neat behind-the-scenes history behind that order, look it up on Wikipedia).
I could go on and on about each character and how much this book expands your understanding and appreciation of them, but really, you just need to go and read the book. If you like Star Wars, if you liked Rogue One at all, this is a true gem. Go read it.