Novelisation of films can sometimes lead to some extra information being given, or describe scenes that were cut from the film at the last minute. They can sometimes explain in more clarity what a character was possibly thinking when they performed a specific action. They also help with dialog that might have been a little obscure in the movie.
With that in mind, i purchased the Audiobook for The Force Awakens a little after i watched the film at the cinema. Alan Dean Foster has done many novelisations in the past, including Star Trek, Aliens, Transformers, Last Star Fighter, Krull as well as Star Wars. He has been writing these for many 4 decades. While they are never going to win any writing awards, i find the writing solid and enjoyable and fairly concise.
The audiobook was narrated by Marc Thompson, who has narrated a large proportion of the Star Wars books in the Expanded Universe, as well as the new canon. He is a voice actor that has a wide range of vocals for different types of characters. He portrayal of the different characters within the book, based on the film, was very good. He is clear, but gets animated with reading, when there is action happening on the page. For example, he will speed up the reading if there is some fast paced action happening. This all leads to some of the best listening experiences i have ever heard. There has been critism of his ability to do an English accent, but
The audiobooks are filled with special effects as well, which i know a number of listeners do not like. I love them, as they add an extra element to the listening experience for me. To be honest, when i am reading a book on my Kindle, i sometimes imagine the sound effects happening. The audiobook was highly produced and the quality and pacing was excellent. I know there has been some criticism about Marc's ability to do English accents, but i didn't really notice this (or really care about it). I place this is the same category as trying to get a narrator to do the opposite sex voice - something that is very noticeable.
So, anything different in the books?
Sadly, the quick answer is no. I know there were stories about certain scenes being cut and re-shot, and i was hoping that some may have survived into the novel. I know it takes a while to edit a book, get it proof read, and printed ready for release. Looks like there was a huge effort to keep everything in line with the film story.
That being said, there were a couple of areas where some inner dialogue explained a couple of scenes a little better, and a scene or two was slightly expanded, but nothing that would have provided anything extra to the story.
All in all, this was a good audiobook, but i can only really recommend it to people who enjoy the listening experience. It adds nothing to the story if you have already watched the film.