Book Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Expanded Edition by Rae Carson

Author: Rae Carson
Publisher: Del Rey (US), Century (UK)
Hardback: RRP £20 (247 pages)
eBook: RRP £11.99 (247 pages)
Audiobook: RRP £25.99 (540 minutes)
Release date: March 17, 2020 (US), March 19, 2020 (UK)

The synopsis;

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

The Resistance has been reborn. The spark of rebellion is rekindling across the galaxy. 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.

Rey, Finn, Poe, and the Resistance must embark on the most perilous adventure they have ever faced. And this time, they’re facing it together. With the help of old friends, new allies, and the mysterious guidance of the Force, the story that began in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continued in Star Wars: The Last Jedi reaches an astounding conclusion.

The review;

Please be warned, if you have not read the book yet, there are some minor spoilers in this review.

We start with the cover, which is a stunning piece of art which captures the mood of the battle been Rey and Kylo Ren on the wreck of the Death Star II. There is a latent dark power in the use of the colours which really makes this cover is a thing of beauty. The Barnes & Noble exclusive issue of the book comes with a double sided poster featuring Kylo Ren and Rey.

So, a great start to what I think is a brilliant book! Expanded Edition really does mean what it says. While it is not the longest of novelisations in terms of pages, coming in at 247 pages, it really does pack the extras in.

For many the sequel trilogy hasn’t quite ticked the boxes, but for me the novelisations have. I must say that I really enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker movie, but there were a few little things missing that I wish it had included, with situations that could have been expanded on. Whether this be due to running time and pace issues, who knows? Fortunately, Rae Carson has been given her reign to include so many little extra pieces and most of those are the ones that I felt the movie needed.

The opening scenes of the movie are so fast paced, it’s quite breathtaking, but the book slows that down with some extra interludes and scenes which add to the story in the very early stages of the book.

2 of the extra scenes that feature Lando Calrissian in particular give his character so much more depth. The first is on Pasaana, where Calrissian treks to the location of the Millennium Flacon to retrieve it for Rey and company, only to be beaten to it by the Knights of Ren and the First Order. Watching on from a distance, this is when his internal flame for the fight is relit and he can no longer watch the Resistance from a distance. We also briefly see Lando getting reacquainted with the Millennium Falcon in the movie as Chewbacca bustles past him preparing to take to the skies, but in the book he goes on a tour of his old ship and muses about his time on board and the shared memories with our heroes. Potentially a difficult scene to put on screen, but it was the nostalgia and happiness tinged with sadness that made this a very important and moving part of the book.

There is a passage of about 15 lines in the book when the fleet arrives at Exegol that really made me smile. I was slightly disappointed with the conclusion to the Resistance animated series. In this passage I get part of the ending I would like to have seen, albeit fleetingly. There are also a few more mentions of note that then turned that smile into a cheesy grin.

A book will always allow you to delve deeper into the minds of the characters, their thoughts, feelings and moods. Some of the interaction between featuring Leia with Maz and Rey are quite significant and so beautifully written. There are other moments where the bonds forged and the love and passion for each other as friends and comrades shine so brightly.

All these extra pieces do make a difference and I do hope for a director’s cut or a special edition of the movie, but I know those chances of ever seeing that are very slim! So in every reality, this book is just that version.

The centre of the book carries the now familiar array of stills from the movie. The selection of stills are quite varied and this glossy full colour section really does showcase the cinematography of the movie.

Carson has been an excellent choice to bring us the concluding novelisation of the Skywalker Saga. Her writing style gives the characters so much empathy, in what is a very emotional ride through the pages. I’m sure we all had moments where we welled up during our cinematic experience of the movie, and I will admit to having those moments again while reading the book. Carson has worked so hard to tie up a few loose ends left from the movie and she has brought them all together into one big bow.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Expanded Edition by Rae Carson is a must read for any Star Wars fan. As a fan of her Solo: A Star Wars Story tie in novel Most Wanted and her contribution to the Canto Bight anthology book, I look forward to reading more Star Wars titles from her in the future.

Availability;

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Expanded Edition by Rae Carson is published by Del Rey and Century. It is available now in hardback, eBook and audiobook formats from Amazon and all bookstores online and on your high street.

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Steve Galloway
Steve was 5 years old when he saw Star Wars for the first time during its first UK cinema release. He considers himself a first generation Star Wars fan and in his own words is a ‘Child of 77’.