Star Wars: The Last Jedi            novel review by Michael Fraley

To say last year’s The Last Jedi was polarizing, would be the same as saying dogs bark and cats meow.  Fans screamed over a lack of backstory for Snoke, Leia turning into Mary Poppins, Rose existing, and any number of other travesties Rian Johnson imposed on their beloved Star Wars, once again screaming at Disney for destroying their one true love in life.  For others, it was a bold new step for the franchise.  A film that made you think about what Star Wars really is, and how the heroes and villains should be viewed.  It was a film about loss and tragedy and what really happens when we meet legends of old.  At its heart, though, it was Star Wars, and love it or hate it, always there, it will be.  Now Del Rey Books offers us a deeper look into the story with the novelization, Star Wars:  The Last Jedi, The Extended Edition, written by Jason Fry.

As with most novelizations, don’t expect the story to change or be a huge, new surprise.  This is the Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, and if you didn’t like it in the theater, save yourself the $20 and don’t buy the book.  If, like me, you did enjoy the movie, grab the book right away, and dig a little deeper into the Resistance’s flight from the First Order, and Rey’s time with Luke.

The Extended Edition comes with a few added scenes, mostly just throw away fun, but we do get one of those items fans seemed to really need, a backstory for Snoke.  I, of course, won’t spoil it here, although it can be quickly found on most Star Wars newsgroups on Facebook, but it will hopefully put an end to some of the outrageous fan theories floating around.  I can say it will leave many disappointed because its not some great revelation, but what most of us that have read the new EU expected.  I’m sure now that it's out in the open, Snoke will get his own backstory novel soon.

The book itself is well written.  Jason Fry, having several Star Wars projects under his belt, feels right at home in our galaxy far, far away.  The extra insights into character’s thoughts and actions adds another layer of fabric to the story originally woven by Johnson.  The scenes with Rey and Luke almost work better in written form because we get a sense of what each is thinking.  The book also gives us a better grasp of where Luke is mentally and why he feels the need to cut himself off.  We also learn some really important things like the Broom Boy’s actual name, and that a group of Rancors is actually called a crash of rancors.  An added plus, is that in book form it makes it easier to skip over Finn and Rose’s merry adventure, which, I won’t lie, I did for the most part.  Its okay to love the movie, but despise certain parts!    

As I said above, if you hated the movie, don’t expect the book to change your mind.  If you enjoyed the movie, the book is a must read.  It is an easy read and will leave you feeling a little more invested in the events of Episode 8.  Star Wars:  The Last Jedi, The Extended Edition is written by Jason Fry and published by Del Rey.  It is available now, wherever books are sold.

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