To celebrate the release of The Force Awakens (TFA) in China, here is some information on supplementary literature.
On April 5, fans will be get to read about the events of TFA from Rey’s point of view in this short novel for young readers, called Star Wars The Force Awakens Chapter Book: Rey’s story, by Jason Fry, available for preorder on Amazon:
The same day will see the release of another adaptation for even younger readers, Star Wars The Force Awakens Storybook currently credited to “Disney Book Group”: www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Force-Awakens-Storybook/dp/1484705580
The cover art, by Brian Rood, can be considered mild spoilers regarding who will fight whom in the movie’s climax — it was kept out of the trailers, after all. It’s very lovely art, though my first thought was that the blue lightsaber is held rather awkwardly. I would love to hear about some of the artistic technique used (a question for another day).
Already available is a set of three stories that take place immediately before TFA, each from the point of view of Poe Dameron, Finn, and Rey. It’s called Before the Awakening, by Greg Rucka and illustarted by Phil Noto. Among other things, it lends insight as to why Finn would defect from the First Order; Poe’s story is more or less a sequel to the Shattered Empire comic, which feature his parents (who are brand-new characters): http://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens/dp/148472822X
Also worth a look for the artistically inclined are:
TFA’s visual dictionary, which explains even more background (example: put together with Before the Awakening, you learn why Finn cared so much about the stormtrooper who left the blood on his helmet): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1465438165/
And, The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which includes concept art and huge paintings showing the incredible amount of work that goes into planning this movie: www.amazon.com/gp/product/1419717804
Major spoilers contained in the link that follows:
Saw the movie but don’t have time to read the official TFA novelization, or not sure if you want to? James Whitbrook at io9 lists of some of the different material in the book not seen in the movie. Remember that the novel was based off of the movie script and finished before the movie was edited, so there is a good amount of content that didn’t make it or was simply cut from the film: http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-11-biggest-differences-between-the-book-and-movie-v-1749329046
My commentary on the movie itself is forthcoming.