Greg Rucka’s Star Wars The Force Awakens: Before the Awakening is the middle grade prequel to The Force Awakens. It’s separated into three parts–each focusing on one of the leads from the film. While no huge reveals and shocking truths come out, there’s a lot of information in this book. Some of it answers questions left by the movie and the rest gives more insight into the characters many of us (including me) have already begun to love.
For obvious reasons, Rey’s part doesn’t go too deeply into her story. Since she’s the heroine of the films, that’s the sort of information that’s being saved for a big reveal on the screen. Still, I did like getting a look at her life before BB-8 crossed her path. It was fascinating to see how she learned to be such a good pilot and mechanic and why she was such a tough fighter. I wish we’d have gotten a little information about her childhood on Jakku, but maybe–just maybe–that will be addressed after more of the films have been released.
Poe’s story, meanwhile, contained the most information. It revealed quite a bit about his childhood, parents, and how he joined with the Resistance. While I loved seeing his reckless bravery, it was a little difficult for me to stay invested in his section overall (mostly because I just cannot picture the space-fight scenes). That’s more my issue than an issue with the book though. After reading his part, I did decide I need to go back and finished Shattered Empire now. It took me too long to realize that Shara Bey is Poe’s mother.
As for Finn, my favorite new character, his section was just what I was hoping it would be. There’s a lot about his struggle with the harsh regime of the First Order and his compassion towards his fellow stormtroopers and the First Order’s subjects. The interactions between him and Captain Phasma were also very enlightening. I didn’t find her exceptionally interesting in the film, but I liked what I saw of her here. She seems like a complicated character in her own right, and I want to see more of her now. Finn’s story–not surprisingly–was my favorite in the book, and if possible, it made me like his character even more than I did before.
While art isn’t a big part of Before the Awakening, the few pages that had illustrations were gorgeous so I have to mention them. Phil Noto’s one of my favorite artists, and he did an amazing job recreating Poe, Finn, and Rey on the page. He’s also been doing an amazing job with some of the Star Wars comics–which means I cannot wait to see his upcoming Poe Dameron series. Judging from this book, he’ll do some wonderful work on that one too.
I got so caught up in Before the Awakening that I ended up reading it in a day and loving it through and through. The writing was strong and the stories surprisingly complex considering their length. If you are curious about Poe, Rey, and Finn, this is definitely a book I’d recommend. It made me love the characters more and NEED to see the film again. What more can you ask from this sort of tie-in book!
Have you been reading any of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens tie-ins? Do you have a favorite Star Wars book?
Image Source: Goodreads