Review of 'Before the awakening' on 'Goodreads'
A set of longish, yet still somewhat perfunctory, short stories. I found Poe's story to be the most interesting, probably because we get less of his story in Episode VII. Nothing in Finn's backstory is terribly surprising, especially for anyone who has read or watched any canon stories about Imperial cadet training (e.g., [book: Lost Stars] or the Rebels episodes that address it). Rey's story was drawn out a bit too long – not unlike the hot, sandy deserts of Jakku, I suppose – and the ending was telegraphed from miles away.
I don't mean to say these are bad stories, they just aren't great. They're worth reading for the Star Wars completist, but you won't really find much new in them.