Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel (Star Wars)” as Want to Read:
Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel (Star Wars)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel

(Star Wars Disney Canon Novel)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  14,378 ratings  ·  1,622 reviews
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 brillian ...more
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by Del Rey
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Catalyst, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Pol Ó Muireadhaigh No Its Essential Reading BEFORE you see the movie.
No Its Essential Reading BEFORE you see the movie.
Eric It is technically an adult-level book, but a smart kid would be able to read this. There is a lot of mathematical jargon early on, but none of it is n…moreIt is technically an adult-level book, but a smart kid would be able to read this. There is a lot of mathematical jargon early on, but none of it is necessary for the plot.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,378 ratings  ·  1,622 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel (Star Wars)
Pointless prelude to “Rogue One”.


Without a quick victory, the galaxy could die a slow death.

This canon novel is the prelude to the events in the Rogue One incoming film.

The story is set in the last days of the Clone Wars.

Here, you meet for the first time some of the characters:

Galen Erso: A brilliant civilian scientist and the leading one in the investigation about appliance of crystals into energy sources. He is pacifist and doesn’t support any side the Clone
Sean Barrs
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: super fans and not those wanting a slice of Star Wars action
Shelves: sci-fi, 3-star-reads
I’m going to see the new Star Wars film tomorrow (Yay!) so I’ve been storming through this to get myself ready for it. Has anyone seen it yet? Is it any good?

Here, though, James Luceno has done wonders at situating the film in relation to the Star Wars timeline. This book tells the lives of the characters from it, depicting the events leading up from the Clone Wars up until the events of the film- just before A New Hope. So it’s very much a prequel that allows us to see where these characters h
Admittedly not my favorite, but still good. I can appreciate all the fine details this story adds to the larger picture.

It's probably my fault for picking this up directly after, Dark Disciple, which I loved!!!

Full review to come...stay tuned!!!
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
How to make a Death star : The Beginning

A prequel novel to the prequel movie to the original star wars trilogy... Wait, what?
“Science doesn’t take sides"

The science behind everyone's favorite weapon of mass destruction was originally conceived for an energy project by a brilliant scientist, Galen Erso. This is the story of deception and recruitment of him and his family by emperor's finest, Lieutenant Commander Orson Krennic.

This is a well written as well as a character driven stor
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

It’s no secret I’m very excited for Rogue One this winter. While the movie can’t come soon enough, in the meantime I thought I would whet my appetite with the prequel novel that’s meant to portray events that take place in the preceding years. In case you’re wondering whether you need to read Rogue One: Catalyst before seeing the movie though, the answer is: Only if you want to. Like most Star Wars novels in the expanded
TS Chan
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
Update: I really liked the movie. It's thematically appropriate and makes A New Hope and the Battle of Yavin so much more meaningful and poignant.

Good enough to warrant a ‘like’ from a Star Wars fan, Catalyst is a background story to Rogue One which mainly focussed on the characters of Galen Erso and Orson Krennic. One being a victim of his prodigious mind and the other of his prodigious ambition (this dude actually thought he can take on Tarkin and Darth Vader
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lyra Erso is the hero we all deserve and someone should just stab Krennic.

Full review on Tosche Station:
Jessica Halleck
Imagine, if you will, a movie comprised mostly of scenes that start in some present moment, a Now, and skip from Now moment to Now moment, relying on either dialogue between characters in the Now to explain the events that led up to the Now--moments that the film hopped right over and sound like they might have been exciting to experience in real time--or some disembodied third person POV narrator to summarize while the Now action sits on pause. Then resumes. Then ends and hops a day, a week, ev ...more
Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This turned out to be an OK prequel to the Rogue One movie. It set the scene for the movie and provided a bit of background for characters like Orson Krennic and Jyn's parents. It also did a great job of telling the story of how the Death Star came to fruition and what life was like for people in the days of the war between the Republic and Separatist forces and then into the early days of the Empire.

Luceno has a talent for writing background histories and intrigue. The problem with his writing
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it
In preparation for the movie, I decided to check this book out. This book is primarily about the construction of the Death Star and the engineering behind a key system in this battle station. There is a lot of information in this book on kyber crystals, which the Jedi used to power their lightsabers. Galen Erso is researching these crystals in an effort to develop an energy source for the galaxy. Galen is a brilliant guy, whose math and engineering ideas are way above the heads of even his peers ...more
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4+ stars

Review written for Star Wars News Net.

Review contains spoilers.

Catalyst has already been labeled by others as “essential reading” for those planning to see Rogue One in theaters next month. That being said, the first thing you need to know about James Luceno’s Catalyst (as with all of the Star Wars novels) is that you won’t need to have read the book to enjoy Rogue One, nor would reading the book or this review spoil the film for you. It is my estimate that the novel would greatly enrich
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Focuses on Galen Erso and his family while filling in the gaps between the Clone Wars and Rogue One. We also see how Orson Krennic manipulates everyone over the course of several years to get the Death Star built. This is not an action oriented book at all but still worth a read for fans of the EU.
This is probably half me, half the book. Not in the mood for this right now, also it wasn’t great. There’s nothing objectionable about it. I just did not care. Not the outcome I was hoping for, especially since I’ve liked all the rest of the books so far in the new Star Wars canon. I suppose this was going to happen eventually, statistically speaking. Ah, well. No harm done. Moving on with my life.

I don’t recommend this book for anyone who isn’t more than a casual Star Wars fan. Casuals, move al
RJ from the LBC
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Serving as a prologue to the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, this book expands on the characters of Galen Erso, his wife Lyra Erso, and Galen's friend/colleague/boss/adversary Orson Krennic. The book feels as though it was written in a hurry and not thoroughly re-written. The 330 page length actually feels too long, and much of the story feels like filler with unforgivably dull stretches lurking around every corner. Still, as a Star Wars fan, I did enjoy the parts of the book that enhanced t ...more
Michael *Windrunner*
Read in anticipation of Rogue One. The movie was awesome, this book was... fine. Naturally, you don't need this book to provide context for Rogue One. But I do think it helps to show the relationship between Krennic and Galen and Krennic and Tarkin. Also, Lyra is a highlight.
Paz R.M.
3.5 Stars
Meaningless prequel to Rogue One? No, not at all.
Listen, I'm here reviewing this book after watching Rogue One for the first time (don't worry, no spoilers for the movie) and I gotta say, I so underestimated the value of this book. After finishing it, it was barely a 3 stars read for me. I didn't think it provided much to the backstory, because well... we knew the plot of the movie, right? Consequently, we knew exactly what this book was about. (Please tell me you're one of the people w
Holly (The Grimdragon)
I'm encouraged to learn that your brain remains in working order.

Okay. OKAY. As if I wasn't excited enough already for Rogue One, then you have to throw in a novel that just so happens to be the prequel to said soon-to-be-badass-new canon-anthology Star Wars movie? Released prior to the movie coming out? YOU MEAN WE GET ACTUAL SOLID BACKSTORY BEFORE SEEING THE EVENTS UNFOLD ON THE BIG SCREEN?! TAKE ALL MY MONEY! This is not necessary to read ahead of time, but it certainly helps to set the stage
Dec 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
The author makes a fatal mistake at the beginning: he assumes we know his characters already and are invested in their struggle, as if they've been the heroes of books, comics or movies all along. That's something that can go a long way in the author's favor with established, franchised characters. But not when you are tasked with introducing new faces and stories to the series and giving them meaning. This book is supposed to lay the groundwork for the upcoming movie Rogue One but man, this alm ...more
Maria Dimitrova
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Buddy read with Michael *Windrunner*

I though a lot about how many stars to give this book. I'm honestly unsure whether I liked it. Most of the times I was extremely bored. The book is basically pointless. Sure it gives some dept to the Ersos and Krennic but I personally would have preferred if the story was told in another format. A collection of short stories would have been best. Because there was so much filler. Even a hard core fan like me would find most of the book redundant. It basically
Shane Phillips
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Listen don't read this book. Every Star Wars book has fantastic sound effects. Do the audiobook with headphones to get the most out of them. Catalyst is a great prelude to the movie, opening Dec 16, 2016. I can't wait.
Holden Johnson
Dec 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-wars
Great prequel novel to Rogue One the movie. James Luceno is a master at writing in the star wars universe.

My rating of 4/5 stars is solely for two reasons. The writing and characters. The story itself is all but assumed and known by everyone. We all know what happens. The death star was built and though this book points out some small details and the leading up to it, I felt that it was unecessary. Some of these new Canon novels just feel entirely filler. I understand there are small stories th
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I much prefer the original Expanded Universe, thank you.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
Sci-fi is my jam. <3 ...more
Neil R. Coulter
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every Star Wars fan
Shelves: star-wars, fiction
(There are some spoilers in this review. The short version: This is a really excellent Star Wars novel, which is a rare thing.)

I've read all of the new Star Wars canon novels, and most of the graphic novels. For the most part, they are disappointing. The two bright spots are James Luceno and Alexander Freed, the only authors who seem completely comfortable writing in the Star Wars universe, and who are also capable of writing fiction that is not embarrassing for a grown-up to read. So I've been
Ryan Michael
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This book wasn't by any means bad, but it wasn't quite what I thought it could have been. Don't get me wrong, I am stupid excited to see "Rogue One" (so crazy that I was one of those people who was Fandango at 12:01am on Monday morning waiting for the site to un-crash so I could buy tickets to the first viewing in a few weeks). However, I thought this book would be a little more than, what seemed to me to be, a purely background story leading up to the film.

The writing is something that kept me
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I listened to the audio and I say this every time when I listen to a Star Wars audiobook (and I'll say it again).....I love the sound effects. This is kind of fun, even though most of sounds were of a ship powering up and down. This book is a prelude to Rogue One (the movie). I think there was a huge leap in what could/would be accomplished in 6 or so years. I liked the first half of this. I liked the way Lira was depicted in this book and not the stupid woman she was portrayed to be in the movi ...more
Michael of Solace
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it
It wasn't the action packed saga that we are all used to with Star Wars books and movies but more of a cerebral journey into a previously unknown facet of Star Wars lore. Not the best book I've ever read but definitely a good into for Rogue One.
Scott Rhee
Dec 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Without giving a rather lengthy explanation, I have not seen “Rogue One” yet. I have every intention to see it in theaters, but I simply haven’t had the opportunity: I'll just leave it at that. So shut up about it already. Yes, I have heard it is the best of the “Star Wars” films. Yes, I am aware of the surprise cameos, which, by the way, cease to be surprises when you tell me about them. You do realize that’s why they call them “spoilers”?

In the meantime, I was excited to read James Luceno’s co
Michael Hicks
Catalyst, a prequel novel to the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One film, is a tightly-focused character piece revolving around the dreaded Empire's initial steps in constructing the moon-sized weapons platform, the Death Star (Note: that's no moon!).

James Luceno focuses his narrative on the Erso family and the Empire's engineer Orson Krennic. After Galen Erso and his wife, Lyra (pregnant with their baby girl, Jyn, who will be the all-grown-up lead heroine in Rogue One), are jailed, Krennic begins a
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This book I think suffers from the curse of the prequel. I think James Luceno was given the brief of writing this book without giving anything away from the upcoming movie. Which is difficult enough proposition however I think this book would have benefited from a good injection of action. There are that many battles in this book, but it is almost the read like it is really the battle of for a mans soul. This part of the book is done quite well. As part of a safeguarding team we are shown differ ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Star Wars: Catalyst 8 22 Nov 17, 2018 05:16AM  
Star Wars Bookwor...: Reading the book? Thoughts so far 16 86 Apr 06, 2017 07:29PM  
Star Wars Bookwor...: Finished the book? Spoiler filled discussion 27 107 Feb 22, 2017 08:24AM  
Star Wars Book Club: Countdown to Rogue One 1 15 Dec 09, 2016 07:17AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Rebel Rising (Star Wars)
  • Dark Disciple (Star Wars)
  • Lords of the Sith (Star Wars)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Star Wars: Novelizations, #3.5)
  • Ahsoka (Star Wars)
  • Master and Apprentice (Star Wars)
  • A New Dawn (Star Wars)
  • Bloodline (Star Wars)
  • Queen's Shadow (Star Wars)
  • Aftermath (Star Wars: Aftermath, #1)
  • Dooku: Jedi Lost (Star Wars)
  • Empire's End (Star Wars: Aftermath, #3)
  • Thrawn (Star Wars: Thrawn, #1)
  • Twilight Company (Star Wars: Battlefront, #1)
  • Life Debt (Star Wars: Aftermath, #2)
  • Lost Stars (Star Wars)
  • Leia: Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, #3)
  • Phasma (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, #2)
See similar books…
James Luceno co-wrote a lot of books with Brian Daley as Jack McKinney.

He is a New York Times Best-Selling author currently living in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife and youngest child.

Other books in the series

Star Wars Disney Canon Novel (1 - 10 of 52 books)
  • Light of the Jedi (Star Wars: The High Republic)
  • Into the Dark (Star Wars: The High Republic)
  • Master and Apprentice (Star Wars)
  • Dooku: Jedi Lost (Star Wars)
  • Queen's Peril (Star Wars)
  • The Phantom Menace (Star Wars: Novelizations, #1)
  • Queen's Shadow (Star Wars)
  • Attack of the Clones (Star Wars: Novelizations, #2)
  • The Clone Wars (Star Wars: Novelizations, #2.1)
  • Chaos Rising (Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy, #1)

Related Articles

If you love the fantasy genre, this is the season for you! Some of the biggest books out this fall promise to be epics full of magic, adventure,...
167 likes · 43 comments
“There is no one truth.” 3 likes
“The Jedi were certainly aware of the tremendous potential, but they restrained themselves.”
“Precisely what they did with the Force, as some have said. If they had made use of their full powers, the war would have ended in a heartbeat. And the galaxy would be in a different state entirely. For all their purported objectivity, they weren’t scientists, they were mystics. For a thousand generations that sufficed. Notions of right and wrong can no longer be dictated by a select group to safeguard some personal vision of the truth.”
More quotes…