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Audiobook Review: ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Junior Novelization by Michael Kogge, Narrated by Jessica Almasy

Audiobook Review: ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Junior Novelization by Michael Kogge, Narrated by Jessica Almasy

This is a review of the unabridged audiobook presentation of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel  written by Michael Kogge, with narration by Jessica Almasy.

Synopsis

Something has awakened.

Every generation has a legend.

Nobody's every really gone. The conclusion of the Skywalker Saga is finally here. This junior novel retelling of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, contains deleted and extended scenes, including exclusive scenes you won't find anywhere else!

This is the second review I've written for media tie-ins to The Rise of Skywalker. (My combined review for the novelization by Rae Carson and the accompanying audiobook can be found here.) As much as I enjoyed both of those, I had a ton of fun listening to the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel audiobook! And it's made me want to read the print edition of the junior novel, which is not necessarily something I do during the normal course of things.

The audiobook presentation of The Rise of Skywalker novelization was outstanding, so I'm not pitting versions against each other. Marc Thompson captured all the thrill of Star Wars handily in his narration. However, perhaps because it's an audio geared toward a younger audience, I found an ebullience in Jessica Almasy's narration that really hit home. Thinking on it now, it could also be the times we're living in at this moment. The narrative enthusiasm united with the inherent excitement of the story being told resonated with me in an exceptionally positive way, and was exactly what I needed.

As with Carson's novelization, the junior novelization by Michael Kogge (who also wrote the junior novels for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi) expands on the film with the inclusion of deleted and extended scenes, filling out The Rise of Skywalker in a meaningful way. One difference between the two versions is a truly wonderful prologue written for the junior novel. It's a bit of a brief history of the main players, and how they ended up where they are at the time of the events of the sequel trilogy — and it works wonderfully. It lent the audiobook a “once upon a time” vibe, which is fitting for timeless tales about princesses and wizards and mystical forces, and good versus evil.

Being a junior novel (with a targeted age range between 8-12 years old), some scenes and content from the film were tightened up or streamlined a bit, making it more age appropriate. Nothing crucial to the plot was lost in this, but a few smaller or more intimate moments I was anticipating were absent or shortened. Ultimately I was fine with that, since I understood I'm not the target audience.

Although written for a younger readers, nothing in the book feels “dumbed down” for kids. An adult could easily listen to this audiobook (or read the book) and take from it all that's necessary to appreciate it as complementary to the film.

As with the other Star Wars audiobooks I've listened to recently, the impeccable quality and attention to detail are top notch. You can tell these are crafted with affection for the subject matter, and respect for the listener. While physical books will always remain my preferred method of consuming these stories, I'm becoming increasingly fonder of having them told to me. That's a credit not only to the authors, such as the talented Michael Kogge, but also to the narrators. And Jessica Almasy is definitely someone I'd like to hear more from.

My rating: 5/5

You can purchase the unabridged audiobook of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel from Amazon now.

Thank you to Penguin Random House Audio for providing the audiobook for review purposes.

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