When you see this book cover in every book store’s window, on all websites and bestseller lists … mhm, yes, me too. Of course I just saw Star Wars, Rogue One and had to download that thing onto my ebook reader, which is not a Kindle btw. but that’s not the topic here. And I have been tricked. 😮
As it turned out Catalyst isn’t the novelisation of the Rogue One movie but a prequel. 😦 It’s about the pretty boring story of Galen and Lyra Erso being caught up in the machinations of imperial power politics, particularly the rivalry beetween Tarkin and Krennic. Our heroine, Jyn Erso, is only born in this story and about 3-6 years old when it ends.
What Catalyst lacks, among other things, is all the action and broohaha we loved in the movie. And even the badly introduced and characterized figures of Jyn’s litte band of rebels would’ve been a welcome relief. But no, apart from Saw Gerrera, who makes a minor minor appearance, and of course the three Ersos’s plus Tarkin and Krennic, no personnel of the movie appears in this lame-ass novel.
So, yes, you guessed correctly, Catalyst is another lame attempt to create a profit from nothing. And James Lucerno (if that’s even his real name) meanwhile makes every possible mistake a novelist can make. Not only is he repetitive, he repeats all the boring and insignificant shit, technical and fantasy physics stuff, and more or less ignores the main protagonist of Catalyst, which is Lyra Erso, Jyn’s mother. She’s the driving force behind the very little action (not action in the b00m bang! Kapow! sense but more like driving the plot forward), she’s the one getting into Orson Krennic’s crosshairs and gets her super boring and passive husband to finally open his eyes to the goals of his Kyber crystals science and what the Empire attempts to use it for.
So even in a rather slow and more or less psychological thriller Lucerno should have tansplanted us into Lyra’s mind, instead of the fucked up power hungry brains of Tarkin and Krennic. If the task were on me to write this story, I’d tell it exclusively from Lyra’s perspective, for the best of the resulting novel.
But the most disappointing factor of Catalyst is Lucerno’s writing style. If I was his agent I’d send this manuscript back, not even mentioning how anaemic and unemotional and boring it was but I’d just comment with one single sentence: Show don’t tell, James! This is the first and most important rule for every attempting newcomer writer. Show us what’s going on, don’t let your all-knowing narrator tell us about it. FFS man, you’re already a published writer, a fukn New York Times Bestselling Author and really should know better.
Yes, I know Star Wars novels (of which I read some, I’ve gotta admit) have never been of great literary value but at least they mostly were entertaining, fast paced and competently written. Some of them were even pageturners, novels you couldn’t just lay aside but had to read only one page more … one page more … ok, after the next page I shut down the light and try to sleep … You know those books.
Well, I can tell you Catalyst – A Rogue One Novel ain’t one of those.
And then, after 288 ebook pages of slowly getting more and more angry we find the announcement of the real Rogue One novel. 😮 Whaaaaaaaaaat? Why ain’t that one in the book stores? And dafuq was I reading?