Star Wars: Catalyst (a Rogue One novel) by James Luceno

Star Wars: Catalyst (a Rogue One novel) by James Luceno Star Wars: Catalyst (a Rogue One novel) by James LucenoCatalyst - A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno
Published by Del Rey Books on November 15th 2016
Genres: Sci-Fi
Pages: 336
Format: Ebook

The must-have prequel novel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the upcoming film set before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, that reveals the untold story of the rebel effort to steal the plans to the Death Star.

With the upcoming release of the Rogue One movie, I was quite excited to see the release of this prequel book intended to set up the events of that movie, which itself is a prequel to Episode IV. This takes places in George Lucas’s retconned universe where much of what we used to know about the development of the Death Star, as set up in the Expanded Universe (now Legends) is wrong.

Catalyst takes place over a number of years, following a pair of scientists who were doing research into the use – and I guess misuse – of Khyber Crystals, which are both useful for powering lightsabers, and almighty superweapons. The novel begins close to the end of the Clone Wars,. and follows the couple and their daughter as they begin to undertake research on a new and mysterious project.

Moff (later Grand Moff) Tarkin is a significant player in this novel, as he oversees the development of this project, along with another more-subtle villain who coerces a lot of reasonable people into doing some very shady things, all in the name of the Empire.

I have read a lot of the recent Star Wars books (Aftermath, Blood Lines, etc) and there seems to be this deliberate shift away from the ‘war’ in Star Wars. So much of this novel is given over to minutiae arguments about supply problems, and problems with workforce, it feels like Star Public Service more than Star Wars. I remember someone joking years ago that it is a wonder indeed that the Death Star was built at all, since there was a bureaucracy in charge of it. This is a hefty book – weighing in 330+ pages – and I really felt like they could have cut a lot of the crap out of it quite frankly. As it is the author takes liberties with zipping through time and space (the novel covers a period of approximately 4 years by my reckoning) to the point where it is a little disorienting at times.

I really wanted to like this novel, being the star wars fanatic that I am, but this was far too long a look at something which really isn’t all that interesting. By comparison the explanation in Kevin J Anderson’s Jedi Academy series – which Catalyst pays a quick nod to, incidentally, is simpler and didn’t really need to be mucked with, in my book. I like James Luceno’s work as a general rule, including his Star Wars novels, but this is simply a book that did not need to be written.

Just go and see the damn movie.

Rating Report
Overall: two-half-stars

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