A novel by Terry Brooks
(1999, Del Rey)
Book 1 of the Star Wars Prequels
32 years before Star Wars: A New Hope
Two Jedi try and settle a blockade on the
planet Naboo, face a Sith Lord, and discover a boy with unusual strength
in the Force.
Read January 5th to
21st, 2014 in hardcover, for the 2nd time
I liked the added detail the book gave compared
to the movie, especially since we could get inside the characters'
heads. The author seemed to pick some strange choices for point of view
characters at times, which was distracting. But for the most part, the
book was quite enjoyable. It obviously can't have the visual aspect, and
the author gives way too much detail in some parts, while skipping over
it completely in others, but overall, the book is worth reading, if only
to give this movie some more depth.
Full spoiler review:
As I mentioned
below, the novelization of this movie resolves some of the questions
raised in the movie, leaves others open and undiscussed, and introduces
some of its own. In general, the book was as enjoyable as the movie, but
for those who don't like Jar-Jar, he hardly takes up any space, and of
course there are no awkward visuals -so it might be better in that respect.
There is mention as the dropships are landing on Naboo that three
broke off from the main group to land in a different area of the planet,
and these are the ones Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were on. This explains maybe
why they had to go through the planet's watery core to get to
Theed. But how did Boss Nass know the Jedi were looking for that
particular city? Presumably there are others, as the dropships must have
landed in that location for a reason. But later in the book, just like
in the movie, the army of the Gungans (Boss Nass' Gungans) and the Trade
Federation droid army meet, and it doesn't seem like either of them have
to travel halfway around the planet to do so.
The single droid
control ship that remains around Naboo is a major sore point for viewers
of the movie, and here it is explained in one line -the Trade Federation
doesn't need a blockade any more, since they control the surface of the
planet. But it does seem strange that they wouldn't keep a backup
I liked the way we get to see Anakin before the Jedi
meet him, as he crashes the podracer, which he only mentions in the
movie, and visits Jawas to trade for what I believe to be the hyperspace
parts Qui-Gon needs for the Queen's ship. He also has an interesting
encounter with a Tuskin Raider, whom he rescues from a rockslide and
watches over through the night. I wonder how much information the author
had on the second movie while writing this. As always, it's nice to get
inside the characters' heads, the way we can't do so fully in the movie.
While the book improved on many things, it also somehow got the
origin of the Sith wrong. I suppose it wasn't completely wrong, as some
Jedi did split from the Order to become Sith, but that wasn't their
origin, which of course was on Korriban, as documented in
Golden Age of
the Sith. But the passage seems to have been written without the
knowledge of the Knights of the Old Republic comic series. On the other
hand, the author might say this was just Qui-Gon's knowledge, which was
In all, the book left the story intact, with only a
little embellishment, and didn't detract from it much. I was happy to
note that unlike The Sword of Shannara, the author did not ramble on for
too long. A few chapters were too extended, and those reminded me of the
aforementioned book, but it didn't happen too often. Most of what the
author added was quite beneficial, and gives Star Wars fans a little
more information than was presented in the movie -which is what a
novelization is supposed to do.
Also read June 16th to 21st, 1999
This was quite reminiscent of the movie, but it gave more detail,
in character's thoughts and motivations. The Gungan language had
obviously not been completely formulated by the time it was written.
A couple of plot holes still loomed, like the Sith using a trace when there
was no response to the message, but other strange things that happened
in the movie were given more time here, and seemed to be explained properly.
All in all, the best of all the novelizations of the movies.
There were, however, a few strange things that I thought could
have been omitted, like the spacer talking to Anakin, and his fight after
the pod race. I also cringed at the "I'm going to marry you someday"
that Anakin says to Padmé. That kind of talk, even from such a young boy,
is extremely embarrassing to read, even if he thinks she's an angel. I don't want
to hear it.
A graphic novel by
Henry Gilroy, George Lucas, Rodolfo Damaggio, and Al Williamson (1999, Dark Horse Comics)
Read on January 12th, 2003
for the second time
Alright, so this book was not as impressive the
second time around. Although strangely enough, as I am ready to watch
the movie once more, this has whetted my appetite even further.
I can't complain about the plot, which
is very thin in places, with uninspired dialog, because that is not the
fault of the graphic novel writers. They do a good job at making much of
it exciting, but not an expert job. As an adaptation, this book left a
lot to be desired. If I didn't know the story so well, I think it would
have been confusing. I think this book was really meant as an
accompaniment to the movie, not to be read beforehand. This is because
it jumps around all over the place, never with a logical order. So much
of the story is necessarily omitted that a lot of the plot actually
doesn't make sense!
Knowing the story helps immensely,
however, and makes this a smaller issue than it might have been.
Similarly for the portrayal of the characters. They look reminiscent of
the actors in the movie, but are enough their own visages that it is
The one thing that drove me nuts,
however, was the constant use of text boxes to tell us where we were! If I wasn't
familiar with the story, I would have needed more signposts than they
gave. Knowing the story, I certainly didn't need "meanwhile, back in the
hangar...", especially when the next frame says "meanwhile, among the Gungans..." or something like that! Instead of telling me that "Captain
Panaka clears a path...", show me -actually, that frame does show me, so
what is the point of the narrative?
The artwork had moments of good and
bad. I loved seeing Naboo from space, as it had an effect that made it
seem separate from the rest of the page. The viewscreens were also
suitably grainy, another effect that I generally love. There was lots of
background stuff in some scenes, where others were perplexingly barren.
Most of the time, the colors were fairly muted; fortunately the reactor
room was quite vibrant. I would like to know how Obi-Wan would be
separated from Maul by only two small beams, though. By the looks of it,
he could have ducked under them or leapt over. I guess the final effect
wasn't finished at the time of writing. The same goes for the final
frame, which depicts Obi-Wan, Anakin and Jar-Jar in the same vein as
Han, and Chewbacca at the end of A New Hope,
which makes it rather embarrassing.
A nice companion to the movie and the
novelization, this book has a hard time standing on its own. It is
nowhere near as good as it was the first time I read it, in the full
enthusiasm of the first Star Wars movie in sixteen years. Things don't
seem as compelling or passionate as they should have. As a refresher for
the movie, however, it is quite acceptable.
Also read on June 6th,
This graphic novel made me feel like I was in the movie theatre
again. And it made me desperately want to go see the movie again,
right now! It's hard to rate the book honestly, because it brought
so many feelings forward from the movie. We'll see after the hype