How did people convince themselves to act against their nature; to do something entirely out of keeping with who they imagined themselves to be?
If you’ve ever asked yourself this selfsame question, Catalyst is the book for you. Billed as a lead-up to the Rogue One movie, it’s a comprehensive how-to in manipulating a peace-loving scientific genius into aiding research and development of planet-killing super weapons. It’s a well written, thoughtful book, and yet I didn’t find it very engaging. I was in the mood for some good ol’ Star Wars pew pew, but good ol’ Star Wars political commentary took center stage here. When I’m in the mood for pew pew, quieter books like this can seem a bit boring, so take my mild disappointment with a grain of salt.
Edit: Reading back over my review, it feels a bit too lukewarm. Though I was a little bored, this book is still worth reading and has a lot to offer. It starts out I think a year after Ep. II and encompasses the Clone Wars and the shift from Republic to Empire. It ties together elements from the prequels, introduces some great new characters, and I think my Rogue One experience will be enriched for having read it. Knowing the background of the Erso family and what they went through together and the friends and enemies they made along the way probably isn’t essential to enjoying the movie, but it certainly can’t hurt.
Edit 2: After seeing the movie, I heartily recommend reading this book first. It's not necessary to get what's going on in the story, but it adds layers upon layers to the Ersos' plight and to the interplay between Tarkin and Krennic.