by James Luceno
Narrator: Jonathan Davis
Published by Random House Audio on November 15, 2016
Genres: Adult Science Fiction
Length: 11 hours and 15 minutes
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Lauded Star Wars author James Luceno returns to pen an intense tale of ambition and betrayal that sets the stage for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
War is tearing the galaxy apart. For years the Republic and the Separatists have battled across the stars, each building more and more deadly technology in an attempt to win the war. As a member of Chancellor Palpatine’s top secret Death Star project, Orson Krennic is determined to develop a superweapon before their enemies can. And an old friend of Krennic’s, the brilliant scientist Galen Erso, could be the key.
Galen’s energy-focused research has captured the attention of both Krennic and his foes, making the scientist a crucial pawn in the galactic conflict. But after Krennic rescues Galen, his wife, Lyra, and their young daughter, Jyn, from Separatist kidnappers, the Erso family is deeply in Krennic’s debt. Krennic then offers Galen an extraordinary opportunity: to continue his scientific studies with every resource put utterly at his disposal. While Galen and Lyra believe that his energy research will be used purely in altruistic ways, Krennic has other plans that will finally make the Death Star a reality. Trapped in their benefactor’s tightening grasp, the Ersos must untangle Krennic’s web of deception to save themselves and the galaxy itself.
Catalyst was an interesting prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story but I don’t think it is a “must read” as it is being marketed as. Catalyst wasn’t as exciting to me as Claudia Gray’s Bloodlines or Lost Stars.
Catalyst takes place during the construction of the Death Star and is an introduction to the main character of Rogue One Jyn Erso and her parents. Galen Erso is a brilliant scientist working on applying crystals as an energy source. As the Clone Wars continues Galen and his wife Lyra take a neutral position and focus on their research and the upcoming birth of their daughter. But the Empire has different plans for Galen’s research and his old friend Orson Krennic offers him a position with Celestial Power (codename for the Death Star weapon). As the years go by Galen becomes obsessed with his research and is blind to the possible use the Empire plans for his discovery. Lyra remains by his side but suspects Krennic is lying to them and voices her concerns to Galen. Overall I thought the main plot was predictable. Krennic is ambitious and will manipulate everyone to get what he wants. The side plots with Lyra, Jen and a smuggler Captain Has Obitt was the most interesting and exciting parts of this book. The first half of the book dealt with a lot of technical information to lay the grounds for understanding Galen’s research and it slowed the pace of the story. Until I watch Rogue One I don’t know if Catalyst will enhance my movie experience. Catalyst was good but not great.
4 Stars for Audiobook Performance
Even though I had problems with the writing I did enjoy the narrator Jonathan Davis. He makes distinct voices for the characters which always enhances the audiobook experience for me. He brought life to the story, even though some parts dragged for me. I will definitely look for more of his work.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Audiobook Challenge
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- 2016 Star Wars Book Reading Challenge