A companion piece to the "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens" character novels, Star Wars: Before the Awakening is an anthology book that focuses on the lives of Rey, Finn, and Poe before the events of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Greg Rucka, is an American comic book writer and novelist, known for his work on such comics as Action Comics, Batwoman: Detective Comics, and the miniseries Superman: World of New Krypton for DC Comics, and for novels such as his Queen & Country series.
This an anthology featuring three short stories, each focused on three most relevant new heroes, introduced on the film “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens”. The three stories are set previous to the events where the film begins.
My general rating for the book is an average result of the individual ratings on each short story.
Rating: *** ( 3 stars )
FN-2187 was his designation as a proud stormtrooper cader in a promising career in the rising First Order.
He was not only doing okay, but he was doing real great: exemplary marksmanship, excellent hand-to-hand skills, field leadership dexterity; therefore showing to be material for officers’ school.
…he had some little teeny weeny troubles. Like that embarrassing tendency of not wanting to leave behind a fellow stormtrooper of his squad; and, an odd reluctance of shooting against unarmed enemies.
Tss, tss, tss! What’s wrong with you, Finn?! I mean, FN-2187!
He honestly tought that The First Order was doing the right thing, but slowly he started to misgiving about it and the worst of it, it’s that he doesn’t know who to trust to discuss his doubts on the matter.
However, something is certain…
…fate finds you not matter where you are, even if it’s a galaxy far far way.
Rating: *** ( 3 stars )
Rey, a young girl, living on her own, as scavenger, in Jakku, a desert world in the Western Reaches of the Inner Rim. Rey is an orphan, she was left on Jakku, and she has the absurd hope that someday her parents will return for her.
Rey’s life isn’t easy. She has to deal with an excrutiating heat in a dangeous desert while she is hunting down any piece of salvaged technology (remnants of a fierce battle between the rising New Republic and the falling Galactic Empire) just to interchange it for some food. Every single day. The same dang routine.
…Couldn’t they leave her in a nicer planet?!!! Geez!!!
A world with a more manageable weather and some adult presence to look after her was something too much to ask?!!!
Rey founds a ship (an old Lambda-class Imperial Shuttle) with possibilities to be repaired. While she isn’t planning to leave Jakku, this vessel can be her way to get all the food she’d ever needs.
However, something is certain…
…The Force works in mysterious ways, specially if it’s a galaxy far far way.
Rating: **** ( 4 stars )
Commander Poe Dameron, dashing pilot of the New Republic, field leader of an X-Wing squad, and proud son of hero parents in the former Rebel Alliance.
The New Republic (30 years later, are they still “new”? Geez!) is in a political mess (aren’t they always?) with The First Order. Sure, the New Republic won the war, but it wasn’t like they would shoot all Imperial soldiers and citizens still loyal to them, so they were allowed to keep some sovereign space, but with the conditions of not re-arming again (where did I hear that before? Oh, yes, between WWI and WWII, and you may have a clue about if they were re-arming or not). So, meanwhile there wouldn’t any physical proof that The First Order is invading any sector out of their domains and/or that they are re-arming with new battle tech, basically the Senate of the New Republic can’t do anything (anyway when have they done anything?).
Our hero, Poe, is pissed out about all this. Nobody is doing something?!
Some people talk about an underground movement known as The Resistance, but so far, it’s just a rumour.
So, it seems that it’s up to Poe to find that dang proof!
…maybe Poe is chewing out more than he can manage by himself!
However, something is certain…
…call to arms finds you not matter where you are, even if it’s a galaxy far far way.
This is a "must read" for those who want more following Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Warning: general film-related spoilers follow.
The book is divided into three stories providing background on the three new main protagonists.
Finn (52 pages) - 2.5 stars - While this look into Finn's (or FN-2187's) stormtrooper training has its moments of poignancy, I really dislike how it takes away from Finn's "Everyman" status. The story explains away his admitted work in sanitation on Starkiller Base by explaining that all stormtrooper cadets at his level were assigned menial tasks. Beyond this, Finn is portrayed as a special case, one of the best stormtroopers-in-training to come down the line in ages, a standout who caught the eye and hopes of Captain Phasma. If it weren't for that pesky sense of empathy he somehow developed, he might have made stormtrooper history. To me, this diminishes the very real and accessible heroism we see in him during The Force Awakens. Finn isn't a superhero or the galaxy's most legendary stormtrooper in the movie; he's clearly well trained and super competent, but his greatness rests not in incredible skills, but in his inherent sense of right and wrong. Not every Star Wars hero has to be a "Chosen One," and I didn't need Finn to be special for any other reason than his conviction and sense of morality.
Rey (66 pages) - 4 stars - This is a heartbreaking look at how Rey scratches and claws a living from her scavenging efforts, and how she learned the hard way to work alone and take care of herself. While this is a very simple story, its detail and sense of setting provide added depth and appreciation both for Rey and for her constant struggle for survival in the harsh conditions on Jakku. Atmospheric and powerful.
Poe (85 pages) - 5 stars - This story makes Before the Awakening a "must read" book. Not only do we get a deeper and compelling look at Poe Dameron and his compatriots, as well as a heart-pounding adventure (complete with a thrilling sense of what it means to Poe to be a pilot and a leader), but this story also delivers a much-needed explanation for the relationship between the Republic and the Resistance. The scenes between Poe and General Leia are outstanding. The story ends where The Force Awakens begins, with Poe on his way to Jakku to meet with Lor San Tekka. This story alone is worth the price of the book.
All right so, I've developed a bit of a Star Wars obsession over the past few months. Normally I don't read book spin-off of movies or whatever, but ... I had a few hours to kill at the library and I found this book and I was like, "Well, why not." I was curious to find out more about the protagonists of The Force Awakens and this looked like a quick and fun read.
This book is comprised of three short stories about each of the three main characters: Finn, Rey, and Poe. I didn't go into this book with a very critical eye or anything, but I thought it was quite good over all. It was entertaining, and it was interesting to learn more about these characters and their lives, as well as a bit of background about what happens prior to the movie's events. So, if you're a fan of the film and you're interested in learning more about the story/characters, it's worth a read.
"I'm not Resistance. I'm not a hero. I'm a stormtrooper. Like all of them, I was taken from a family I'll never know. And raised to do one thing. But my first battle, I made a choice. I wasn't gonna kill for them. So I ran. Right into you. And you looked at me like no one ever had. I was ashamed of what I was. But I'm done with the First Order. I'm never going back."
"We've got friends out there. They'll come if they know there's hope. They will. First Order wins by making us think we're alone. We're not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them."
- Poe Dameron
Tatooine Elder: "There's been no one for so long. Who are you?"
Rey: "I'm Rey."
Tatooine Elder: "Rey who?"
Rey: [sees the force ghosts of Luke Skywalker and Leia, and turns her back to her]
Before Rey became Rey Skywalker, endowed with the Force and destined to be the last Jedi, before Finn became Finn and shed his stormtrooper designation FN-2187, and before Poe Dameron was a Resistance hero, came the events of Star Wars: Before the Awakening, a collection of three stories, one about each character, that provide their backstory in the weeks and, in Finn and Poe's cases, hours before the events of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
For the most part, I really loved these stories, though Finn's doesn't really fit with the history of his character as described in the movies. In the movies, Finn says he worked in the sanitation department when he was in the First Order, but in his story in this book, which takes place seemingly hours before he shows up in the first movie, he's in training, and proving to be a badass Chuck Norris-level stormtrooper (though he does eventually become disenchanted with the First Order by the end of the story).
Rey had the weakest story, in my opinion, but it was still enjoyable. I didn't expect much from this book, given it's a movie tie-in (they are usually garbage), but Greg Rucka is a decorated and revered author and it definitely shows here; these stories are very well-written, and they aren't shy about adding detail on various Star Wars ships, environments, and more to enrich the overall experience.
This may be a movie tie-in, but I think it's a fine achievement in its own right, and I highly recommend it to fans of Disney's Star Wars films.
"Before the Awakening" is a baffling read that makes you wonder whether Greg Rucka only read the script for The Force Awakens or watched an early version of the movie when he wrote the novel.
Many things don't match the information we were given in the movie. Finn's character, in particular, is a bit of a paradox. In the movie he used to work in sanitation and while clearly capable and full of qualities, it's hard to match the image of the men who bantered, shouted and ran when saving the universe to the colder, more professional and extremely skilled version of him in the novel. Rey's story doesn't offer much information about her or her past that we hadn't already gathered from the movie. Although both of their stories are a fun read overall, neither will blow you away.
It's Poe's story that makes the book worth reading in my opinion. The longest of the three, it fleshes out Poe's character, gives you information into his family and his past in the Republic, as well as share a lot of information on the Republic, the Resistance and the First Order that the movie didn't provide.
In my opinion, if nothing else, the book is worth reading for Poe's story alone.
Three short stories, each starring one of the new Big Three, showing some of their lives before the movie. Yes, it's a YA take, but I'm so deeply in love with all three of these characters that I was just happy to see more of them. As far as the quality of the actual stories themselves go, they're all fairly good. I think Poe's was probably the more interesting me, because I love X-Wing pilots so, so much, and because it does shed a bit more light on the relationship between the First Order, the Republic, and the Resistance prior to the movie. I did also like seeing Finn as a stormtrooper, and seeing that he actually was born with a conscience, and Rey's story ended up being more emotionally draining than I had expected it to be. Other, more critical readers will probably find many more faults than I did, but I'm probably not capable of being too critical when it comes to my new cherished characters. I mean, Rey, Finn, and Poe are all three in my top ten favorite characters of all time list. Just give me more, keep it in character, and I'll be satisfied.
"The Force Awakens" has reinvigorated my interest in Star Wars fiction of all kinds. (I've long since given up trying to rectify the EU and the "New Canon", and am enjoying both on their own merits.)
Is this as good as the "Thrawn Trilogy" of the "Darth Bane" trilogy? Of course not.
But it does fill us in on the lives of the primary new cast before the movie begins. And that's enough for me with this book. (I think I could easily grow to love the new characters as much as the older characters, especiially Rey.)
3.5 stars. Light and action-filled and fun, this provides a bit of backstory and a bit of info on what Rey, Finn and Poe were up to before they collided together. We find out how Finn, though a good storm trooper, was also not a good storm trooper. We find out how Rey became such a good pilot while stuck on Jakku. And though we already know Poe's charismatic and a good pilot, we get to see more of this. And Leia shows up, being smart and on the job and sending Poe on missions.
After seeing the film the inevitable need to buy all things star wars just happens, luckily though this was a really good read and it is well worth picking up. It's three stories focusing on finn, rey and poe, yes you should see the movie first because you'll have a better appreciation of the characters but i don't think it spoils the movie there's no spoilers or clues here as to what goes down in the film or any hints for future spoilers, so take your chances.
Rey's story was my fave it's so good she finds this ship and decides to repair it and urgh no i'm emotionally done now, but it's definitely the stand out story of the three.
Finn's was pretty good too as it focuses on stormtrooper dynamics and the whole nickname business was pretty interesting actually and yeah you gotta love finn. You do get glimpses of hux, phasma and ren although we could do with a book about those three because come on i need more hux for a start.
Poe's was probably the weakest of the three although it ends where the movie begins so it wraps up pretty neatly, and i just love bb-8 it's adorable and possibly the cutest droid ever! Overall pick it up it doesn't repeat anything from the movie you do learn more about these characters and it's a quick little read.
I mean, nothing reallly happened, but I loved this a lot. Also maybe I'm just still overflowing with Star Wars emotions, but I totally cried in all 3 sections. Poe's definitely was the meatiest, which seemed fitting.
Now I just want to see the movie again as soon as possible.
So, I bought it. Unquestioningly, and read it all while my artist completed my new tattoo. It is a quick read, with large print and young protagonists that drop this book into the young adult category, but it can, of course, be appreciated by anyone, especially people like me who are looking to fill in some of the many blanks the fast-moving film left behind.
The book follows the Finn, Rey, and Poe, in that order, in respective short stories that lead up to the film. While all of the stories are good, Finn's was the most disappointing simply because it was predictable, and adds a layer to Finn that doesn't quite jive with what we see of him in the film, and even feels forced in certain aspects. We already know that he is the kind-hearted, loyal stormtrooper who did not care so much for the ways of the First Order, so other than getting to see more Captain Phasma, this story does not add a whole lot more to Finn's story. I had hoped to learn more about his time in sanitation, but alas.
Rey's story strengthens her character by not letting all of her formidable skills be entirely attributable to the Force. Her ingenuity, her self-reliance, and her determination are at the forefront, which is to be expected, but the story that wraps around her gives us a little bit more, especially when it comes to her skills as a pilot and a mechanic.
Finally, my favourite story about my favourite character: Poe is introduced through his recollections of being a young boy flying with his mother from whom he gained his passion, and from his father, from whom he learned to question the meaning and goals of war. Both Kes Dameron and Shara Bey feature prominently in the Greg Rucka comic, Star Wars: Shattered Empire, but the book does not dwell on their exploits there. The story carries a sense of sadness that teeters on the edge of hopelessness that the wars that were fought and won, ultimately are meaningless if nothing truly changes. One of the things missing from the movie was a deeper understanding of the political tides and machinations of the Republic, the First Order, and the Resistance. Poe's story provides a bit more insight into that aspect.
After you see TFA, pick up this handy collection of three short stories. Anyone who has questioned Rey's skills as a pilot or her abilities to repair and rebuild items will very much appreciate the back story.
WARNING! This review contains some minor spoilers from both the book and TFA movie.
It was a lovely short read. I was hoping for more information but I guess I'll have to wait 4 more years until most of my questions are answered. The book itself is separated in three parts, each telling the story of the new main characters of Star Wars. Finn's story was most interesting cause for me he was the most complicated character of the film. Not because of some complexity of his personality but because of the choice he makes despite his brainwashing. And it is in fact brainwashing and a little bit of it is depicted in this book. I loved how the showed his inner struggle with the First Order's doctrine even when on the outside he was the perfect stormtrooper. He was such a good cadet that Captain Plasma repeatedly said to other cadets that they should be more like him even when she was doubting some of his decisions. His story made me wonder if perhaps the dying stormtrooper from the film was not in fact Slip from the book. It would make Finn's reaction a lot more logical. I felt so bad for him, trying as hard as he can to fit in, always wondering if he's the only one feeling that way. In a lot of ways the First Order reminds me of Big Brother from Orwell's 1984 - individuality is persecuted, you can read only FO approved literature, you have zero free time, even the food you eat is regulated based on your physical performance during simulations. After reading this I have so much more respect for Finn and I'm looking forward to what happens to him next a lot more than before. Rey's story is second. I was hoping for more clues as to her ancestry but alas. I know they won't spoil the entire trilogy but still a part of me was hopeful. We get to see how harsh life on Jakku is. It's not just the harsh conditions it's the loneliness. Everyone's out for themselves, there's no community to speak of and everyone's a potential enemy. So when Rey finds she guards the secret with all her might. Eventually two other scavengers find what she's up to and she's understandably apprehensive. But even mistrusting them doesn't stop her from forming an attachment (I hesitate to call it friendship) with Devi and Strunk. Her story shows that she's a survivor with quick wit, skilled in the art of scavenging and a talented mechanic. It tells us how she learned to fly and shows us her very first fly. I liked that at the end she wasn't bitter over that she still has the capacity for sympathy even after the life she's lived. Poe's story was the most straightforward. It tells us the reasons why he became a pilot in the first place and how he ended up with the Resistance. After reading it I feel so much closer to the character. There were some amazing space battles hat were missing from the film itself so I got my dogfight in space fix. All the stories leave the characters on the verge of the events of the film and if you pick the novelization of the film right after this one the transition is almost flawless (if you start with the scenes where each of the characters is introduced). I also loved the art interspersed among the pages, so it'll be one book I'll look for to acquire as a physical copy.
Last night I finished Star Wars: Before the Awakening, which is a prequel to The Force Awakens and is officially in the canon of the Star Wars universe. It looks like it's written for a younger audience (compared to many past EU novels seeming to be solely for adult readers), but any age will enjoy this book. The print is a bit larger because of this, making this a fast read that I just devoured.
This book is split into three sections, each one telling the story of the three main characters leading up to The Force Awakens. Each story was well-written and enjoyable; Rucka genuinely captured the personalities of each character (even BB-8!).
One thing I loved so much about this book was that it included insights into certain things that happened in the movie. When The Force Awakens came out last December, many people questioned aspects such as Rey's sudden ability to wield a lightsaber and fly the Millennium Falcon. Both of these concerns are answered through Rey's story in this book. There is also insight into Poe's past (including information about his parents and how he become involved with the Rebellion). Finn's story includes a huge amount of involvement from Captain Phasma (proving that her role in this storyline should not be reduced to what many fans complained about due to shorter appearances in The Force Awakens...especially since I don't believe we've seen the last of her yet).
Overall, I just really enjoyed getting more from this new canon while waiting for Episode VIII and this was a great read. If you're holding back on read this because it seems like a kids' book, don't. I recommend this to anyone of any age, especially if you're a huge Star Wars fan like I am.
For a book that's supposed to chronicle the "days, weeks, months" leading up to the events of The Force Awakens, this book does a bit of a disservice to Rey.
The chapter detailing her backstory is overly long and - frankly - flat out boring; it doesn't really tell us anything about her, doesn't give us a true sense of who she is aside from someone who is good at scavenging, building stuff, and waiting (all character traits that were clear in the movie).
Finn and Poe's chapters give us motivations and proper backstories, whereas Rey's part is just there, gives us nothing inherently new past the story of how she learnt to pilot spaceships. It all just felt a bit half-baked, just a simple tidbit of life on Jakku, nothing like the proper backstory I was so excited to read. I understand that Rey's backstory will probably be revealed in the upcoming films, but still. There were so many other aspects of her character that could have been explored, so many other things that could have been written about her life on Jakku before the awakening.
Aside from this, though, it was an enjoyable book. Both Finn and Poe's backstory are engaging, interesting, and filled with information.
So all the Star Wars books I ordered from my library back in December are finally coming in. It's gonna be like a mini-onslaught of Star Wars books here for a bit. I probably won't give any of them a full review. This one came out the day the movie was released because they didn't want any character backstory spoilers ruining the movie. I find this hilarious because back in the day, you could buy the novelization for a Star Wars movie and know the plot before you even saw it.
Before the Awakening is broken into three sections, one each for Finn, Rey and Poe. There are no made secrets to be found here, just three little character pieces that take place in the years leading up to the events of The Force Awakens. Finn struggles with fitting in as a Stormtrooper. Rey lives a lonely life out in the desert. And Poe, a member of the Republic's navy, is just beginning to learn what the Republic denies: that the First Order isn't just a sad remnant of a long-ago war, but a real and present threat.
After two stories that are fairly forgettable (Finn, Rey) the book really kicks it up a notch when we get to Poe's story. Just so much more action with it feeling like something actually happens! Either that or I'm a sucker for a story with a good old space dog-fight...
Finn: 2.5 Stormtroopers
Rey: 2 Scavengers
Poe: 4.5 X-Wings
Final overall rating, 3 Resistance Heroes out of 5 ;)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Finished this in one sitting. Quite interesting tales on the three main new characters in The Force Awakens. Think of it like a mini *ahem prequel to the blockbuster. Poe's story is really exciting, full of hyperspace jumps, TIEs and obviously, dogfights.
3 breves historias sobre los nuevos protagonistas del lado luminoso de Star Wars que aportan un poco más de visión sobre ellos. Especialmente clarificando ciertas cositas que en la peli, a los fans más quisquillosos, nos chirriaron. Curioso en ese aspecto, pero poco más.
Disfrute mucho de estas historias cortas, le dan contexto y mayor profundidad a los escenarios del comienzo de la película. Me encantó la historia de Poe. Uno nunca puede tener suficiente de Poe Dameron.
Short and entertaining. Star Wars: Before the Awakening gives us some background on The Force Awakens new stellar trio. The book is split in 3 different stories or novellas and each one focuses on one of the characters: Finn, Rey and Poe. If you liked the movie and loved the characters as much as I did (which was A LOT, seriosuly, I'm obsessed) I'm sure you'll enjoy this.
My favourite story has definitely been Poe's (I might be a little bit in love with him, ahem...) and it's the one with more ties to the movie. But Finn and Rey's (love them too, so sooo much) stories are really insightful too (despite not happening much) and I enjoyed knowing more about them.
It is refreshing to read a prequel to The Force Awakens that's almost like just a compilation of short stories focused on FN-2187, Rey, and Poe Dameron. The book features events that took place weeks or even months prior to the beginning of The Force Awakens. It makes you think about alternate routes or endings that ponders on the questions "What if Finn was just your typical Stormtrooper, fearless and ruthless with no sign of compassion at all?" or "What if Rey didn't get fucked over and really was able to sell that ship to Unkar?" or "What if Poe didn't accept General Organa's invitation to join the Resistance?"
Very enjoyable! The Finn section is about what you'd expect (and, accordingly, the shortest), but the Rey segment is a lovely portrait both of Rey's personality and of the kind of struggles she faced on Jakku. And the Poe segment feels like the pitch for a new X-Wing series, as well as providing the context for the political situation in The Force Awakens -- which, frankly, should have been included in the film itself. All in all, if you enjoyed TFA, this book is well worth your time and money.
"First of all, this is a volunteer mission. You want to take a pass, it will most definitely not be held against you. I will probably think even more highly of you if you say no. It verges on crazy. It is entirely unofficial." "I love it when he talks like this. You always know it's going to be something good when he talks like this."
A magnificent companion novel to the new film. It does give away some spoilers, so I do suggest that you see the film first before you read this. Gives great detail and a back story to Finn, Rey and Poe. And why they chose to do what they do in the film. And may the force be with you!!