Short & Sweet Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster


Star Wars The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
Series: Star Wars Novelizations #7
Publisher: LucasBooks (December 18, 2015)
Memorable Quote: “Death displays nothing if not variety in its methods, which are often surprising and sometimes amusing.”


TL;DR Review:

Dancing Storm Troopers

Tiara’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars. This is totally what this book and movie is all about in my head.

Short & Sweet Review:

No spoilers for the movie, I promise.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is, as you guessed, a novelization of the latest Star Wars movie set some years after Return of the Jedi. As with most movie to book adaptations much of the dialogue and scenes are recognizable from the movie. There are a few scenes that play out a bit differently than the movie. In some cases I would have liked to have watched these scenes on the big screen such as [REDACTED] rather than what we got in the movie, but the differences weren’t so pronounced that I can really raise a complaint about them. Some scene differences in the book might’ve even been necessary to make the scenes make more sense in writing than on the screen where the viewers might be more forgiving of some errors, omissions, and improbable events.

While this book certainly added some meat to some of the scenes in the movie, it is sparse. I’d dare say it’s a bit more sparse than most adaptations I’ve read in some places. I think this might be the case because they don’t want to give away too much that might spoil or give readers too much insight into subsequent movies in the series. However, I do feel there would’ve been no harm in expanding more on many scenes in ways that wouldn’t have spoiled the readers for the next movies. This was a straightforward book that follows the story pretty much line for line. If you’re looking for an adaptation that’ll answer questions you are sure to have after watching the movie, this is not your book. It was enjoyable, but not something I’d call a “must read.” I’d only really recommend this to the most hardcore Star Wars fans whose sole mission is to read everything about the universe. However, it can be fun for those of you who want to relive the movie without having to go back to the theater.

– Gives some scenes in the movie more context and expands them a bit more, gives some thoughts from characters than the main ones
– Not terribly written for a movie adaptation book
– A fun, quick read that’ll have you reliving the movie in your head

– Doesn’t give as much context as some people are probably searching for, none of your conspiracy theories will be confirmed or denied or even entertained
– Very sparse in some places even for an adaptation that follows its movie almost scene for scene


20 Comments on “Short & Sweet Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster”

  1. I really want to read this! If it did expand any scenes I’d probably skip it, but even a couple is enough for me. I loved the movie and this might help with my craving for more! Plus I’m a fan of Alan Dean Foster!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was fun. I read it almost immediately after I watched the movie and it definitely had its merits. What it did expand on, I love, and I loved reliving the movie in my head.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your Nays are pretty much why I never read novelizations, but of course for TFA I made the exception (I am one of those readers you speak of). Generally feel the same way as you, though I thought it was cool we got into some of the characters’ heads a lot more than in the film. And that scene with Poe’s escape from Jakku, I really would have liked to see on the big screen! 😀

    Also, I have to wonder if ADF was working from a script and if it was an earlier version. It was interesting how different the scene was with Rey contemplating selling BB-8. I could totally see that being the original and with them changing the script last minute to make her more sympathetic 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Omg! You are in my head. You just mentioned the MAIN scene I would’ve love to have seen, the BB-8 scene with Rey because that felt more REALISTIC being how she lived her life up to that point and it would’ve felt more significant to show that even though she contemplated it, she’s better than that. That’s the exact scene I redacted. Also, YES the Poe scene, too, I would’ve really have loved to have seen both those scenes as well as quite a few others. I really enjoyed that we got to see scenes from other POVs too like the ship scene with the two gangs and how much of it was told from their POV.


      • I totally agree, given the way Rey had to live her life, the book’s scenario was more realistic – like, in the end she only refused to sell because she wanted to stick it to the guy, not that she really had any true feelings of loyalty or compassion towards BB-8 (which is how the film portrayed it to paint her as a “better” person).

        Liked by 2 people

        • That’s exactly what I just told Wendy about the scene that much of the decision was the fact that she had something the guy wanted, something he was willing to give her anything for, and it gave her power over him, which is a triumph in a way because of how gross he is towards her. Also, she obviously had an interest in technology, so I could see her more wanting to hang on to BB-8 because it was interesting.


    • Interestingly, having now read Before Awakening, I wouldn’t read the scene in the film as her being more sympathetic. Just, perhaps more practical. But I haven’t read TFA yet to compare how that works.

      I was a snob about novelizations, and yet some of my favourite moments of movies I love have come from novelizations where the author does expand quite a bit and more or less gets to add their own headcanon, as, I think, Foster himself has said in something I read about the genre. I suspect that, in the case of Star Wars, the issue of lacking context may well be as you both speculate: working from a sparse/earlier script, or not being able to reveal too much. I’ve read that some novelizations have been written based on only a skeleton script for some films, so the writer has very little to go on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There was a really cool essay in the Star Wars Psychology book I read recently with Donald F. Glut about the writing the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back. The process was very secretive and indeed he had to rewrite multiple times because the script kept changing (and imagine what a pain in the ass that must have been in the time of mostly typewriters) plus I thought it was hilarious that when he needed descriptions of the aliens, he was allowed into the prop trailer to take notes but it was under heavy guard with a time limit 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • That makes sense on both counts that maybe he worked from an earlier script and maybe he couldn’t write everything he wanted because of nondisclosure. I need to look into that Star Wars Psychology book. I love Pop Culture & Psychology books. I’ve only read about 100 of them now. LOL.


        • Oooh he did a wonderful job on the novelization for Empire! And I love the New Hope one. That scene where Han and Chewie round the corner in the deathstar and are confronted with the stormtroopers? It’s so hilarious in the book!


    • That’s the best part of the movie and book. Okay, I might be making that up, but let’s pretend it’s the best part.


  3. I don’t have a good memory so I confess that I didn’t remember a lot from the movies even if I saw them all. SO when I saw this one I really enjoyed it because I couldn’t really compare (yeah to that point lol). But I confess that I’m not that much a fan that I want to read the book but it’s nice.


    • There’s nothing wrong with that. As I said, I can only really recommend it for hardcore fans and people who might want to relive the movie without going back to the theater. 🙂


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