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Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace Hardcover – April 21, 1999
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"Fans expecting a typical movie novelization--one that simply parrots the screenplay for Episode I--will be pleasantly surprised. Brooks, with Lucas' cooperation, has created something else altogether; a larger story that includes all of what you've seen onscreen, but also delves deeply into the history of the galaxy and the life and mind of Anakin Skywalker."
--The Star Wars Insider
"BREATHLESS . . . FILLED WITH ACTION FROM PAGE ONE."
--The New York Post
From the Paperback edition.
About the Author
A writer since high school, Terry Brooks published his first novel, The Sword of Shannara, in 1977. It was a New York Times bestseller for more than five months. He has published fourteen consecutive bestselling novels since.
The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.
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There is a good pace to the book and I found it enjoyable.
This edition also has a short story Darth Maul: End Game. This expands Darth Mauls' backstory and fills in gaps in the film with what he was doing 'offscrene'. In this story we see more of Dath Sidious and what he expects from Darth Maul.
This is also an enjoyable story
The biggest problem I had was the dialogue; nearly every spoken line was taken directly from the film. Read: cringeworthy (Anakin’s especially, just as in the movie). I will admit that it was better to read it than hear it, so maybe that’s why I was able to not roll my eyes as much. The book also suffers from repetitive descriptions. Do we really need to be told every other page that Panaka and Windu are dark-skinned? Or that Jar Jar has a “billed face”? Or be reminded of the characters’ full names each time the scene changes?
I may be speaking out of bias (because I’ve come to adore Qui-Gon and Padme), but I also felt that a few key scenes were glossed over too quickly. The rift between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan when the Master decided to train Anakin, Qui-Gon’s death and its impact on Obi-Wan and Anakin, and Anakin’s separation from the mother he loved so fiercely; both were extremely important, yet with a few words they were over and done with, each character seemingly fine with life mere moments after the events. Obi-Wan at this point is still very much a slave to his emotions and that feeling of betrayal was something significant for him, even when Qui-Gon explained that he thought his Padawan ready to become a Knight. It also would have been nice to have seen Obi-Wan have more time to get a handle on his rage and grief at losing his Master and life-long friend, or to give Anakin a few paragraphs of struggling to overcome his separation anxiety from the only life he’d ever known and the only person he’d ever loved.
Speaking of moving too quickly, I still don’t like how fast Anakin’s and Padme’s relationship developed. Paralleling Rose and the Doctor’s shift in affections changed in Doctor Who, one moment Anakin and Padme are friends, the next they’re in love? I understand the love-at-first-sight motif and the love-stronger-than-anything device and their prevalence within Anakin’s life story, but this book did nothing to ease that transition that made me scratch my head during the film.
Although I do have several complaints, there are a few good things that I did like. My dislike of Jar Jar was lessened thanks to Brooks going deeper into his emotions and insecurities. I also greatly enjoyed Maul’s appearances, brief as they were, because of the further insight afforded to him; I never really felt connected to him during the movie, so it’s through the books that I’ve come to like him. Brooks didn’t disappoint me on that front.
Overall I felt that this particular attempt at a novelization fell short of what it could have been. If it had been given twenty additional pages of insight into the various characters and the emotional trauma they were subjected to throughout the story I would have rated it higher. I don’t know how much of that was because of contractual obligations or simply Brooks’ style, but in the end it doesn’t matter; this was a mediocre adaptation at best, sad to say.