Attack of the Clones
is the inevitable novelisation of the new Star Wars
movie, and fantasy author RA Salvatore does his best with a script which relies heavily on spectacular visual effects.
Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi has a hard time with his apprentice Anakin Skywalker, now 20 but lapsing frequently into teenage bad attitude. Master Yoda backward speaking still is, and disturbance great in the Force as always senses. Lovable droids R2D2 and C3PO remain terminally cute. Princess Padme Amidala is now a hot babe, a Senator of the Republic and highly disturbing to Anakin's hormonal Force. Jar Jar Binks retains his irritating accent even in print: "Mesa so smilen to see'en yousa! Wahoooo!" Political supremo Palpatine makes diplomatic noises, but we suspect he's up to no good...
When someone tries to fix a big Senate vote by assassinating Amidala, much action follows--an aerial car chase which must be hair-raising in the movie, and interstellar pursuit including a spaceship dogfight in a crowded asteroid belt. Obi-Wan discovers a lost world that's grown a warrior-clone army for mysterious reasons and another world's heavy industry is cranking out innumerable battle droids. Can the renegade Jedi with the majestic name Dooku be responsible?
Meanwhile, following orders to protect Padme by staying very close to her, Anakin sulks a lot, finds his Jedi vows of chastity dissolving fast, and is temporarily saved by a bid to rescue his mother from sadistic kidnappers on planet Tattooine.
Now, the climax: "Take them to the arena!" Our favourite characters are duly chained up as a snack for unspeakably horrible CGI beasties, but they have some tricks left--and practically everything else in the plot is converging on that arena for the mother of all special-effects battles. Many, many light-sabres come into it.
All rather silly, really: not so much a serious novel as a memento of the film, something to jog memories until the DVD release. Every hardcore Star Wars fan will want a copy. --David Langford
Despite the lacklustre quality of the film itself, Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace was the kind of phenomenal success that everyone expected, and there is no question that this second film will do equally well. Salvatore is an old hand at novelisations, and imparts a true professionalism along with the imagination required to reinvent a tale designed for one medium into another. Attack tells the story of the downfall of Anakin Skywalker, the young Jedi who became Darth Vader. In this book (which takes place 10 years after the events of The Phantom Menace) the 19-year-old Anakin is torn between his own dreams and his responsibilities as a Jedi as he and his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, struggle to deal with the machiavellian plotting that is slowly tearing the Republic apart.