Audiobook Review – Star Wars: Catalyst (A Rogue One Novel)

Posted December 5, 2016 by Kathy in 3 Stars, Audiobook Review, Book Review / 2 Comments

Audiobook Review – Star Wars: Catalyst (A Rogue One Novel)Star Wars: Catalyst (A Rogue One Novel) Series: Star Wars Canon
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
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBarnes & 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.

Rating Report
Audiobook Performance
Overall: three-stars

About James Luceno

James Luceno is the New York Times bestselling author of the Star Wars novels Darth Plagueis, Millennium Falcon, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, Cloak of Deception, and Labyrinth of Evil, as well as the New Jedi Order novels Agents of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial and Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse, The Unifying Force, and the eBook “Darth Maul: Saboteur.” He lives with his wife in Annapolis, Maryland.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Audiobook Challenge
  • 2016 New Release Challenge
  • 2016 Star Wars Book Reading Challenge


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2 responses to “Audiobook Review – Star Wars: Catalyst (A Rogue One Novel)

  1. I wasn’t a big fan of this one. It wasn’t bad per se, it just didn’t wow me and for being marketed as an “essential” lead in (I know it’s hype, but still) it just didn’t feel that essential. I think (not having seen Rogue One) that it will be perfectly viewable without all this background, although it might be nice to know things I think just knowing Galen and Krennic have a history pretty much tells you what you need to know. I guess I’ll see after Rogue One. I did like Lyra the most. And the smuggler wasn’t bad.

    Another blogger who’s read this author says his writing style is dry, so maybe it just doesn’t work for me. I agree though Claudia Gray’s books were much more exciting.

    Greg recently posted: Sunday Post #173
    • Kathy

      There wasn’t much excitement in this book but it was interesting to see the construction of the Death Star. But I agree that this wasn’t an essential reading before seeing the movie. I haven’t watched it yet but I think we would have got the gist of the story in a summary lol. I hope Claudia Gray writes more Star Wars books and I need to read her other series. Thanks Greg!