Sunday, December 4, 2016

Wars & Witchery

So I finished Catalyst, yet another Star Wars novel pumped out to sluice more money in the direction of the Disney company. This one is supposed to set you up for the amazing-looking ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY, which is premiering in ten days (I know people in the US have to wait a little longer), but if you have watched the teasers and trailers you kind of already know what's going on, no novel really needed.
Seriously, if I had known how little Catalyst actually brought to the table in terms of plot, characters, and fun secrets that would enhance the movie experience, I'd probably skip this one. I'm aware I haven't seen the movie yet and there might still be some form of "enhanced experience" after reading the novel but everything about it makes me doubt it.

If you've seen the trailers you'll have figured out that main character Jyn Erso is going to fix what her father Galen Erso did wrong and Director Orson Krennic is going to be the foil. The teasers and trailers also make it easy to link Galen to being behind the Death Star as an ultimate weapon, and that Jyn is going to help the Rebellion steal the plans for that weapon, leading up to and straight into the classic Star Wars (1977). The clips also show Jyn as a child, and her mother (Lyra); in Catalyst, the story is about the same four characters (though Jyn is only a baby/child throughout the tale), and nothing really happens. Author Luceno just stretches a story out of nothing, really; it's all about Krennic wanting Galen to work on the Death Star. Yes, there are some plot lines woven around this, some feeling very blunt (there's a strong, on-the-nose political message or two in here), and there are other characters involved, and it is the best thing I've read from Luceno so far (which doesn't say much), but the book itself...nothing happens. Not much, anyway. Most of the action is only related after it took place, which is kind of boring especially when you're reading a Star Wars novel. I mean, as an example, there's this exciting aerial attack on a cool environment / location featuring Imperial forces and people hiding, but we're only told about this after. Instead of being thrown right into the action. That's a big sin in my book; and that's why I still prefer Chuck Wendig's Star Wars books which much better emulate the pace, style, and adventurous tone of the movies.

So will I now stop lettimg myself be duped into buying Star Wars novels? Maybe. They have to be especially alluring. Catalyst's lure is that it ties into the upcoming movie (for which I am extremely stoked); others don't have a pull on me (like Ahsoka or Thrawn because they are about non-movie characters I don't care about).

Speaking of books related to franchises - I've found myself immersed in the world of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt again, as I wrote about here, and the (video) game is so damn good and compelling that I found myself buying the first collection of Witcher short stories, on which the game is based. I didn't know much about the Witcher series before delving into last year's number one videogame, but I soon learned about the creator and author, the Polish Andrzej Sapkowskiand the books published so far in English. Sigh, another world of lore to explore...

Anyway, I bought The Last Wish which collects the earliest (chronological) stories of Geralt of Rivia - the Witcher - and am halfway through already. Another cool fantasy to recommend Ice and Fire fans starving for Winter. Will get back to this when I've finished it.


  1. Hey, what are some completed fantasy series you would recommend? I have only read game of thrones and lord of the rings. I prefer completed series because i already noticed that it felt so mutch beter reading lotr than got because the story is just done. Thanks in advance!

  2. Hey OperatieNL sorry for the late reply. This post might help:
    I have a heap of novels I haven't put into this tier-system yet, though :)