Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
I hadn't paid attention to the books, before I went to see the movie. I don't know why, they just weren't on my radar, despite following the Expanded Universe throughout the 90's. But as soon as I had seen the movie, this was the book I ran for, and the only one I actually bought. And it was worth it. I think my enjoyment of the book isn't necessarily in proportion to its quality, though don't get me wrong, this is a good book! Divided into three short stories, it follow each of the "new trio" in immediate prequels to their stories in the film.
Finn: 4 stars
I loved this. I loved the look into Finn's life as a soldier, and especially the addition of the stereotype breaking characterization of him as the ideal soldier. Fantastic at simulations, Phasma's favorite, he discovers a fatal flaw in his own empathy, and then in his ability to kill on command. My only complaint is that this reads more like exposition than it does a story; I felt like I'd just had a bunch of characterization dumped on me without a real plot. But it's a great lead-in into the movie.
Rey: 3 stars
I generally differ from other reviewers here, as I liked her story the least. And this one does have a plot,but it ties in less with the movie, and doesn't show us anything we don't really already know about Rey as a character. In fact, it felt shallow, without showing us any of her dreams or what's going on in her own imagination. It tells us that she has neither of these things, which I felt the movie itself contradicted. And, as for the plot, things end up exactly the same as they were before it started, so... eh. Heartbreaking, but in a way unnecessary.
Poe: 5 stars
The best, by far, for story, character development and tying into the movie, encompassing his recruitment by the Resistance (complete with an explanation of his uniquely black X-Wing), relationship with Leia, a bit of his childhood, and ultimately the knowledge that a map to Luke might exist. They saved the best for last, that's all I can say.
Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fantastic artwork by Phil Noto. A lovely addition to the text! Can't wait for his Poe Dameron comic in April!