Following the excitement of yesterday’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story release, we wanted to share our review of the latest novel in the expanded universe novelisations, Catalyst by James Luceno, which perfectly sets the stage for Rogue One and also gives some essential background…
It tells the story of Galen Erso, an altruistic scientist whose work with his wife is interested in cultivation of energy for the greater good but who, after a plot which sees his young family in danger, is forced to assist in the building of the Death Star. The novel focusses primarily on this backstory and these characters and Jyn, a central protagonist in the film is young enough to be on the periphery of this novel. Nevertheless, Catalyst sets up some of the major plot points of the film brilliantly and, whilst acting as a backstory for Rogue One, has integrity as a novel which is free standing.
Additional to the way that it sets up the story of Rogue One, Catalyst also offers an interesting perspective on the Empire more generally – namely that not everyone thought it was a bad thing when it first began. However, what is shown is the power of propaganda on the part of the Empire: the people on the ground have been sold a story which has misrepresented the truth and that has led to disillusionment.
The real star here is Orson Krennic, the central villain of the piece. His motivations throughout the novel are expertly explored and the character himself is excellently rendered. It is perhaps him who the reader becomes most captivated by and he really is a driving force in the novel.
An excellent offering in the new Stars Wars Expanded Universe novelistations, Catalyst will certainly satisfy pre or post Rogue One Star Wars craving.
Catalyst is published in the UK on 28th December by Del Rey