This adaptation was OK. Because it was released AFTER the film (vs The Force Awakens, which was not), it is more of a straight, 1:1 transliteration of the film and doesn’t offer much that you don’t see on screen (with the exception of a deleted film scene and a prologue detailing what Luke’s life might have been like if he had never left Tattooine).
Here are a few thoughts in no particular order:
* We get a little more Finn and Rose time so their developing relationship seems a little more believable than in the film. Her “love arc” still seems forced.
* I find the Holdo/Poe subplot to be even more ridiculous in this novelization. In the movie you can try to write it off as possibly the victim of editing but the book, which has all the time in the world to make it seem less contrived, doesn’t even bother.
* This novel suffers from the same challenge as many Star Wars books. In the written medium, authors often try to “expand the universe” by giving exotic names to alien creatures and futuristic things. For whatever reason, though, there seems to be NO creativity on Team Star Wars and they continue just to mash together familiar words, hoping that the result will be interesting. Plastocrete. Battering ram cannon. Turbo lifts. Sooooo lame! Many of these elements are in the films too but they can be glossed over there, whereas they have nowhere to hide in the books.
* Similarly, this novel also makes reference to several other extended universe plots and characters – references they weren’t able to squeeze into the film. Unfortunately these plots and characters were pretty weak so the references aren’t very compelling.
* Per the above, this novel doesn’t really fill in any film gaps. If you’re hoping that this will, for example, address Snoke’s back story, sorry to disappoint you.
* The novel DID, however, make some things clearer for me, especially around Luke. It wasn’t evident to me previously that Luke’s reconnecting with the Force was the cause of Leia’s reawakening and Yoda’s reappearance. After rewatching the film, it’s all there, but the book somehow drove it home for me. Thanks, book!
Overall it’s hard to recommend this novel. It doesn’t offer much content that isn’t already in the film and stylistically there isn’t much to it either. Still, if you’re a hard core completionist, it’s not a bad read and you can finish it quickly.