5 New Things About Star Wars: The Force Awakens (spoiler-free book review)

What was it that brought down the Empire?

Was it Luke’s uncanny ability to use the Force and destroy the Death Star?  Was it Princess Leia’s leadership skills?  Was it Han’s decision to jump in and take part in the Rebellion’s efforts? No.

According to Supreme Leader Snoke it all came down to one thing – sentiment.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization by Alan Dean Foster
Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelization by Alan Dean Foster

In the novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster, Snoke tells Kylo Ren that the fall of the Empire came down to that one simple emotion – sentiment. He says, “Such a simple thing. Such a foolish error of judgment. A momentary lapse in an otherwise exemplary life. Had Lord Vader not succumbed to emotion at the crucial moment – had the father killed the son – the Empire would have prevailed. And there would be no threat of Skywalker’s return today (p.80).”

That is just one of the many nuggets of information you can only find by reading the book.  BluRay and DVD are great for additional content (speaking of which who isn’t excited about it coming out?), but there are always tidbits and insights novels reveal you can’t find anywhere else.  This is true of the novel for Star Wars: The Force Awakens as much as any other book.  Alan Dean Foster’s adaptation of the movie started off slow, but really picked up steam as it went along.  By the end of the book, I couldn’t stop turning the pages fast enough.  And then it was over.  I wanted more!

But along the way, I found out some cool information.  There are way more than 5 things to learn from this novel, but I hope finding out about these will entice you to read more.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) talk about escaping from the First Order Ph: David James..copyright 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. TM. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) talk about escaping from the First Order Ph: David James..copyright 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. TM. All Rights Reserved.

The First Order employs psytechs – p.47 – Only mentioned a couple of times in the book, Finn first mentions them when talking to Poe about escaping.  Poe wonders why Finn is helping him and asks if he’s part of the Resistance and Finn replies, “What? That’s crazy! How long do you think anyone with Resistance sympathies would last on a ship like this? You’re under continuous observation. You so much as wink the wrong way and before you know it, the psytechs are all over you…”  Are these people who operate machines that can read your mind?  Are they telepaths?  Are they Force-sensitives who can understand your thoughts?  No explanation is given, but I would love to find out more.

Rey and Finn running from the First Order's strafing run on Jakku. Ph: Film Frame..©Lucasfilm 2015
Rey and Finn running from the First Order’s strafing run on Jakku. Ph: Film Frame..©Lucasfilm 2015

Rey carries an emergency bio-injector – p. 80 – When Rey and Finn were being attacked by the First Order on Jakku, Finn momentarily falls unconscious after getting caught in the effects of TIE fighter blaster fire.  She pauses for a moment to decide what to do and considers using her emergency bio-injector.  Now what that is exactly I don’t know.  Sounds like an epi-pen.

Unkar Plutt wasn’t left behind on Jakku– p. 164 – If you thought Rey had seen the last of Unkar Plutt on Jakku, she should only be so lucky.  Plutt had been able to track the Falcon once it emerged from hyperspace and followed her to Takodana.  Once there, he confronted her and threatened her, but Chewie was able to “disarm” the situation.

C3PO is actually the one who found BB-8 for the resistance – p. 166 – C3PO is known for mostly for complaining, rarely for getting things done.  But in the novel, it was his idea to activate a droid network to locate the missing BB-8 and it worked!  It was nice to see a different side to Threepio beyond the normal grousing and being difficult.

The First Order shows off their might on Starkiller Base
The First Order shows off their might on Starkiller Base

Starkiller Base is more powerful than you can possibly imagine – p. 203 – Yes, that’s an homage to Star Wars, but it’s still true.  Starkiller Base is more than just “another Death Star” but it’s hard to explain the details in a movie beyond showing the scale of the two.  Finn explains, “General Hux told us it’s the most powerful weapon ever built.  He said that it can reach halfway across the galaxy.  And in real time.  Because it doesn’t reach across the galaxy; it reaches through it.”  Talk about impressive.

The book offers some great details which only add to the lore of the Star Wars universe.  Hopefully, you’ll add this important book to your growing Star Wars collection!

Title: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Author: Alan Dean Foster
Cost: $28.00
Age: 13 and up
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Star Wars, fiction

Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out on BluRay 4/5 and Digital HD 4/1

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