Star Wars: The Force Awakens – New Books

Star Wars The Force AwakensLucasfilm kept tight wraps on the storyline of The Force Awakens (for good reason), so books that included major plot points were not released to readers until after the film hit theaters. But as the film is rolling out in digital and Blu-ray formats this week, it’s time to see what new Star Wars books have hit shelves in the past few months, what’s releasing this week, and what’s ahead.

ADULT

This novelization by Alan Dean Foster paints a faithful reproduction of the action of the film with a few added bits of dialogue and a scene or two that was left on the cutting room floor. The writing lacks a certain energy, but die-hard fans should check it out if only to see if they can tease out new clues about Rey’s background. (Hopefully its not a virgin-birth-ish parentage that mimics that of Anakin Skywalker.)

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Readers have been strongly split on Aftermath, which is the first book in a trilogy set in the years following Return of the Jedi and is now available in paperback. Some think Wendig ruined Star Wars for all readers with his less-than-devout style. Some admire his cheeky humor and character death. (I’m in the latter camp but I can recognize what the anti-Aftermath readers object to.) For those who want to find out what happens in the aftermath of Aftermath, keep your eyes on July, when Life Debt will be released.
 

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An online campaign to make Lando Calrissian part of The Force Awakens clearly didn’t work, but those who believe that he’s the only scoundrel able to match Han Solo for wicked charm can seep themselves in Lando’s world with Marvel’s new series. Set before The Empire Strikes Back, Lando’s adventures bring him to vivid life—and should really restart that pro-Lando campaign in time for Episode VIII.
 

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Looking ahead: Bloodline, by Claudia Gray. Set before The Force Awakens, Gray's new novel tells Leia’s story as she struggles to help the galaxy rebuild post-Empire and deals with those who distrust her due to her blood relationship with Darth Vader. This novel is at the top of my wishlist.
 

 

KIDS

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I picked this up a few weeks ago and was immediately engaged by a Finn scene that’s not in the movie. Fun and quick, this novelization isn’t as line-for-line faithful as the adult novelization, but its focus on Rey and especially on Finn (for example, Kogge explains why Finn is pretty darn good with that lightsaber given that he’s never swung one before) makes it stronger by giving younger fans more time with the characters they love. (Ages 8-12)
 

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There are a few of these character encyclopedias out there (and no wonder) but this is the most recent one, including characters from The Force Awakens. Pablo Hidalgo knows his stuff when it comes to Star Wars, so you're in expert hands with this colorful guide. (Ages 7-10)
 

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This kid-friendly story is perfect reading for fans who are intrigued by this mysterious, gutsy heroine, and contains a few more tidbits about the awakening of the powers inside her. (Ages 8-12.)
 

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Do right by your children and instill important cultural learning with this Little Golden Book. That way they’ll be caught up by the time you take them to see their very first movie in the theater, which should be either Episode VIII or Episode IX, depending on age and ability to understand Wookiee. (Ages 2-5)
 

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