Star Wars, Episode I - The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Any review of this book has to take into consideration that the author did not write the main story here, but instead was told the story and simply had to flesh it out. With that in mind, I'm going to do my best to limit my criticisms to the book and not to the story, which has its own problems as we know.
This is not the first time I have read this book. After watching a midnight showing of the movie the night it was released I had the next day off of school [I actually had it off, we had a program where if you had a certain GPA you could take one personal day off per quarter- I probably qualified for it 10-12 of the 16 quarters I had in I school, but this was the only time I took advantage of it]. After sleeping in, I drove to the next town over where there was the only bookstore [without my parent's permission because I was using their car] to buy a copy of the book [I'm such a rebel], which had been released about two weeks before the movie. The book was originally released with multiple different covers and I remember debating long and hard about which version to buy, but in the end settled on the same cover as this audiobook, despite Jar Jar being on the back, because it featured Queen Hubba Hubba. I started reading it that afternoon and later listened to the audiobook a few times. In fact, I think that it was probably the first audiobook that I listened to on CD, the first time I saw a dual release of cassette and CD audiobooks [I've been an audiobook fan for a long time], and also the first time I listened to an unabridged audiobook [I remember in the past wondering how I would find the time to listen to so many books if I had to listen to the full-length versions- what a failure of imagination]. Anyway, enough about me and my experiences with the novel and on to the novel itself.
Of all the prequel novels, this one is the truest to the movie. Maybe because this was Terry Brooks's first foray into the Star Wars Universe he chose to not take liberties, or maybe because the story was so different that the past and was somewhat distasteful he decided to just get it done and over with, but overall there are a few side facts added and two extra scenes that were not in the movie or the original screenplay . The book just doesn't add a lot to the movie and so although it is a pleasant read, this is one of the rare times where the movie is better than the book.
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