Review: Star Wars Catalyst by James Luceno

I really hate giving any Star Wars book a low rating, but it happens sometimes. Sadly it has happened more often than not when it comes to the new canon series. I always go in hoping that it will be just as good, if not better, than the novels I read in the Expanded Universe (Legends) series, but in the end, I’m usually disappointed.

I’m not going to go into much details, mostly because it would probably end up being a long rant, so I will give a quick review on this.

From my perspective, this novel was essential a 300 page guide on how a Tarkin-like man, is busy manipulating a scientist into doing work for him that the scientist is against but tricking him into doing it for the greater good of the Empire just so that he can prove to the Emperor that he is better than Tarkin. There is a whole lot of time spent concentrating on trying to subtly get the scientist on board, but pointing out that he can’t be pushed into doing the work, instead they need to make him want to do it himself. There’s a lot of random research materials floating around, lots of talk of plans, some very small snippets of construction of the Death Star, and a few instances where characters from the films, including the upcoming Rogue One, make a small appearance.

There were two things that really bothered me. First, the smuggler in this book. I don’t necessary mean his character as a whole, I’m talking about his name. His name was Has. That’s right, Has. One frigging letter away from Han! Why couldn’t the smuggler have a different name? Or is there some unwritten rule in the Star Wars universe where all smuggler must have similar names? Next thing you know will we see smugglers named Hat, or Hab, or Hal. Anything to keep the Ha_ name theme going.

Secondly. In all the talk about different parts of the Death Star, the pages on end about design and whatnot, there is not a single mention of the two meter wide exhaust port that will inevitably by the downfall of the space station. Why is that? Honestly, I kept reading just to see if it would be mentioned, but it wasn’t, and that left me utterly disappointed.

And now, I have fallen into a rant. Best to stop there.

In the end, I wasn’t entirely thrilled with this book. There were a few interesting parts but overall I didn’t enjoy it, which is odd because James Luceno also wrote the novel Tarkin, which I absolutely loved. I guess I will see if this was a necessary read before watching Rogue One or not, but at this moment, I feel like it might not have been important to read first.

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