Rogue One: Catalyst by James Luceno

OK everyone, I’ve fallen a bit behind. I finished this book the day before a wedding I was in, just in time to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. Afterwards, I was so exhausted for days afterward, not to mention I came home with a migraine. I had too much to do last weekend to make up for it that I didn’t get a chance to write my review. I then came down with a rather nasty sinus infection (I had a 102 fever). I’m finally feeling better.

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I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible for the movie and the book. But that may be hard, as this is essentially a prequel to the movie.

Rogue One: Catalyst tells the story of Galen and Lyra Erso, Jyn’s parents, and the early days of the construction of the Death Star. The book begins towards the end of the Clone Wars, when Galen, a pacifist, is doing research into the energy output of kyber crystals (for those not in the know, those are the things inside lightsabers that create the blade) in the hopes of creating renewable energy. Separtists arrive and he is placed under arrest as a Republic spy, with a very pregnant Lyra being arrested as well. They are eventually freed with the intervention of Galen’s old friend Orson Krennic.

After the war, Krennic begins to manipulate Galen into working for the Empire on a similar project to the one he was originally working on during the War. However, Galen isn’t being entirely truthful with his old friend. Krennic is in fact in charge of a secret weapon being built, a weapon he needs the pacifist Galen’s help to complete. He will stop at nothing to have Galen as his chief researcher and climb the political ranks to power. Soon though, Lyra begins to become suspicious of what’s really going on at the research facility, and across the galaxy. Her worries lead Galen and Lyra to uncover the horrifying truth. Galen is creating a weapon the likes of which the galaxy has never seen. The young family must make a choice that will determine the fate of an entire galaxy.

First off, I know that when this book initially came out a lot of my fellow fangirls complained that they would have rather seen Lyra as the scientist. I have to say, I disagree with that. Galen was emotionally distant, naive, and easily manipulated by Krennic. I understand a lot of fangirls want to see more female scientists, but in order for Lyra to be the scientist in the relationship you’d also have to give her Galen’s personality for the story to still work. Which is the exact opposite of the Lyra we see here. She is strong, independent, smart, educated, caring, athletic, and not as easily swayed by Krennic. We also get to see her have a strong budding relationship with her daughter, and mother/daughter relationships are something Star Wars is lacking in. Lyra as she stands, is a great edition to the strong female characters of Star Wars.

Now let’s talk about Krennic. What a bastard. Manipulative, power hungry, hate filled. I mean wow. I knew he was horrible when I saw the movie, but this just drove that point home. His thinly veiled hate for Lyra (man how he hates her), the fact that he constantly refers to Jyn as “the child” (and people actually ship these two *shudders*), and the ease at which he manipulates not only his friends but others really make him a villain. His political game with Tarkin was fun to read, especially since we all know who will ultimately win that battle and it’s easy to see why Krennic’s political games lead where they do.

However, I thought the book was a bit dry. And slow at times. The description in the opening chapter was very confusing, as was some of the other descriptions. It was also a bit boring for Star Wars. For these reasons I give it Three Lightsabers.

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