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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Expanded Edition)

Witness the epic final chapter of the Skywalker saga with the official novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, including expanded scenes and additional content not seen in theaters!

The Resistance has been reborn. But although Rey and her fellow heroes are back in the fight, the war against the First Order, now led by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, is far from over. Just as the spark of rebellion is rekindling, a mysterious signal broadcasts throughout the galaxy, with a chilling message: Emperor Palpatine, long thought defeated and destroyed, is back from the dead.

Has the ancient Lord of the Sith truly returned? Kylo Ren cuts a swath of destruction across the stars, determined to discover any challenge to his control over the First Order and his destiny to rule over the galaxy—and crush it completely. Meanwhile, to discover the truth, Rey, Finn, Poe, and the Resistance must embark on the most perilous adventure they have ever faced.

Featuring all-new scenes adapted from never-before-seen material, deleted scenes, and input from the filmmakers, the story that began in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continued in Star Wars: The Last Jedi reaches an astounding conclusion.

Author: Rae Carson
Release date: March 19, 2020
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780593128404

As the twin suns have set on the Skywalker Saga, many were left with more questions than
answers after watching the events of Episode IX. In this expanded novel you will find answers to some of those questions. Unfortunately, you will also come to the disheartening realization (if you hadn’t all ready) that the events in The Rise of Skywalker do not successfully conclude a story that has been forty years in the making. While it is unfair to expect this novel to solve the issues of Episode IX, the novelization attempts to do the heavy lifting the film couldn’t.

Needless to say the book cracked under the pressure.

This novel was an extremely difficult read, even for someone who remained optimistic about the final installment of the Skywalker Saga. Rather than being an extension of the film, the novel serves as an unnecessary reminder of all the things that had gone wrong in The Rise of Skywalker: a rushed storyline, poor dialogue, and a lackluster ending. It is a concoction of crucial elements that should have been incorporated into the film and literary moments that undermine certain events of the film itself. It has been stated that the events in a cinematic release will always take precedence over any accompanying material. However, there are some jarring bits of information in this version of the story that displace you throughout the book.

As I longed for more moments with Rey and Leia together in the film, I understood they’d be limited due to the unfortunate loss of Carrie Fisher before shooting IX. In an attempt to deliver these moments, the novelization undercuts portions of the film. If one had never seen The Rise of Skywalker, they would read quite smoothly. However, given the fact that this book is targeted towards those who’ve most likely seen the film, they will stick out like a sore thumb.

Palpatine’s return was never properly explained in Episode IX. While there were scenes and bits of dialogue that hinted at the reasoning behind his resurrection, nothing had been clearly defined. This book attempted to give us the story that should have been in theaters; the execution is clumsy and desperately cobbled together at best. To make matters worse is that like the film, the novel will seemingly start to unravel pieces of the mystery, then speed through some important pieces of information.

Admittedly, there is one part of this expansion that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have always felt that one of the sins of this current trilogy was the fact that we had not seen Chewbacca and Kylo Ren in any other capacity than when the wookiee shot Kylo in The Force Awakens. Thankfully, we get a brief, but beautiful moment in which the two meet aboard Ren’s star destroyer. As Kylo attempts to extract information from Chewie, a series of flashbacks takes place. They reveal some heartwarming moments between the two during Kylo’s formative years as Ben Solo. As much as I would’ve preferred this sequence to be included in the movie, I’m thankful it exists in this book.

Overall, the novelization feels like a half-baked attempt to rectify the plot holes of Episode IX, and fails to do so. We cannot turn back the clock. A lot of this story should have been adapted for the big screen, not jammed in a novelization. I do not feel this is Rae Carson at her best, quite the contrary. I believe she is capable of so much more in the Star Wars universe, and had the misfortune of being assigned this novel. The Rise of Skywalker novelization could not have been a better book if any number of authors had written it.

Even though I was disappointed in this particular release, I look forward to future releases from both Carson and Del Rey.

I appreciate the advance copy provided to me by Penguin Random House.

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The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition (Star Wars)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Carson, Rae (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 03/17/2020 (Publication Date) - Del Rey (Publisher)