Movie/book spoilers abound. I’m kind of just disgorging rambling thoughts and impressions here.
On my scale of Star Wars New Canon Writers, Jason Fry rates a “Pretty Good” (it’s a very scientific scale – sorry for dazzling you with technical terms), and I think he did a pretty good job with this movie novelization. I enjoyed (most of) the movie even though I thought the pacing was kind of a mess and wished they could’ve found a better alternative to the whole Canto Bight sequence. The book unsurprisingly has the same problems, but nobody can blame Fry for that.
The timeline feels a bit shaky. Rey spends days on Ahch-To trying to get through to Luke. The space chase can’t have lasted much more than 12 hours from start to finish (the book states the Resistance Fleet will run out of fuel after 12-ish hours of flight time), but interspersing the space chase scenes with Ahch-To scenes makes the chase feel so much longer, even before the Canto Bight scenes are thrown in. It really screws with the sense of urgency and kills the tension extra dead in spots.
If you thought Poe was punchable in the movie, the book may have you howling for his blood. Seeing his thought process as he chooses to disobey direct orders, ignore chain of command, and incite a mutiny is a little on the excruciating side. A whole lot of people die unnecessarily in service to Poe’s character arc. Blargh.
Rose is still a damn delight, and Finn is a more interesting character when seen through her eyes, though I’m still not sure I buy her falling in love with him over the span of half a day.
I’m also still not sure if I buy Finn as the new Han Solo (and by that I mean his character arc is similar to Han’s, going from “this cause is stupid, all y’all gonna die” to “this cause is actually worth dying for, I’m all in” only in a fraction of the time). It . . . kind of works? I guess? He’s still figuring out who he is after a lifetime of First Order brainwashing, so I suppose I’ll forgive him a few super-abrupt swings in ideology.
All of the Rey and Kylo stuff was pretty good. The book offers a slightly deeper insight into each character, which helps explain motivations and reactions a bit better. Same with Luke. I loved these three in the movie, and I loved them in the book. (Well, I didn’t love love Kylo, but you know. I enjoyed his further descent into a whiny, entitled, evil man-baby with incredible Force powers.)
And lastly, in Pedantic Nitpicky Corner, I’m going to take a moment to complain about POV skews in third person close narratives. That first space battle above D’Qar is rife with POV skews, and I get wanting to show the chaos of battle and all that, but when you’re bouncing from character to character every paragraph or two with no sections breaks, at what point do you cross the line between daring but effective literary device and confusing, crappy writing?
I think I’m done rambling for now. If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here hoping against hope that Phasma isn’t dead and actually gets to DO something in Episode IX. I know, I know. *sigh*
Edit: I lied! One more thing! Luke's stupid alternate timeline dream in the prologue was a great way to set completely the wrong tone, so thanks to whoever thought that up. Thanks a lot.