on 27 January 2012
Wow! Once again James Luceno has confirmed my belief that he is the best Star Wars author. I loved how the plot synced with other novels e.g Cloak of Deception, where an event that is taking place in another novel is being referenced at the same time in this one. Loose ends, such as Sifo-Dyas and the clone army, and character expansions, such as Darth Maul and King Veruna, will greatly interest Star Wars fans.
It was refreshing to read from the point of view of the Sith for a change. Darth Plagueis was a most intriguing character. The machinations of the Sith were complex and how they turned out was riveting to read.
Definitely one of my favourite Star Wars books, if not THE favourite.
on 26 September 2013
Over the last decade I have had a love/hate relationship with James Luceno's writing. At times I have found his work to be brilliant, and at other times I have found his writing to be uninspired and muddled. Upon reading the beginning of this book I was quite taken by just how well written an imaginative the story surrounding Plagueis was. I was surprised how well Luceno had laid out the character and how well the story had worked in a linear telling, something Luceno rarely does in his books. But as the story progressed, and after Palpatine was introduced, I was shocked on just how quickly the books solid story turned into sand and flowed through my fingers.
After Plagueis found Palpatine, a telling that was thin at best, Luceno parts from Plagueis's story to focus on the larger plan, a larger plan that centers around Palpatine. Little time is spent as to how Palpatine learns the Force from Plaqueis, and even less time is spent on grasping the connection the two men have to each other. In my opinion Luceno fails in bringing light to the wisdom and experience that Plagueis has to offer as both a Master and a teacher. Instead, we as readers, are exposed to a more simplistic telling of Palpatine's rise to political power.
The main bulk of this book focuses on the study of how Palpatine fits into the world around him. Every once and a great while we are exposed to scenes that ring familiar to what we know of other Sith stories but, for the most part neither Sidious nor Plagueis are great examples of the Sith we know and love. Darth Bane, and the teachings left by his reign, are spoken too often, however, neither of our Sith Lords completely fall into the Sith mold. As I read this book I often thought of both Lords as book smart but never street smart. Rarely are we exposed to either of them being mad or even taken by the power of the dark side. Rarely do either lash out when failure rises. Rarely do either bathe in the power of the dark side.
In the end the book's true purpose is to wrap up threads left from stories past. Scenes read like cliff notes as grand story arcs from other books and comics are horribly skipped over without either a brief description of events that happened, or the impact those stories had.
With all this considered the book reads as a long winded diatribe of internal analysis and shallow plotting. The characters, formed by experiences that are not addressed in this book, read like paper tigers as their power seems convenient and contrived. With scenes missing only Star Wars fans that have a vast understanding of the larger EU library will be able to follow the scenes skipped over. New fans, or those who haven't read that many books or comics, will be lost and confused. I, myself, have a good understanding of stories past and was able to process most of the plot points addressed, but even I still walked away from this book bitterly disappointed.
In conclusion, I feel that this book was overly hyped and under delivered. The classic feel gained by the Darth Bane chronicles was left void after the first fifteen percent of this book. Characters were left dangling in the wind blown by stories long since past. And after three-hundred pages the main characters of the book were left void of any real lasting impact.
Perhaps this book's only silver lining as that the audiobook's narrator has enough talent to deliver a better telling. But in the end the book lacks entertainment, enjoyment, and a competent ability to stand on its own.
on 30 August 2014
How many times has a science-fiction or fantasy series failed utterly and completely to paint a good portrayal of a characters backstory, let alone that of a major hero or antagonist? Any reader will have encountered disappointing backstories of these sort in one book or another, and it is the sort of thing that can completely break a book. When James Luceno’s ‘Darth Plagueis’ was announced, despite the expectation it created by what it would be based on, there was a definite sense of fear that it would suffer from this. After all, it could paint Darth Sidious and Darth Plagueis in a too-humanising light, or perhaps worse, in the traditional two dimensional way in which antagonist are depicted.
Does James Luceno’s ‘Darth Plagueis’ fall in this trap? Definitely not. On the contrary, it excels on it without falling into any of the traps other similar works have fallen in. It paints a beautiful picture of the characters, depicting them accurately and effectively bringing them to life, excelling in its way of revealing the story and avoiding a false sense of suspense.
Without giving away most of the plot, ‘Star Wars: Darth Plagueis’ is not just the story of Palpatine’s master, but also the story of the rise to power of his apprentice, Darth Sidious. The plot is mainly composed of a political thriller and serves as a backstory for the movies. Despite what one might expect from other titles, it doesn’t just throw in blaster and lightsabers, and instead it focuses on the machinations of Plagueis and Sidious to carry out the Sith grand plan. Of the action scenes it throws in, they are emotionally intense and bloodcurdling, and reveal a lot about the characters. Outright amazing. In a way, it is reminiscent of The Count of Monte Christo in how it develops.
Something I would like to note is how Luceno’s writing is how he adds and plays with all of the Star Wars history that the reader might now without creating a false sense of suspense. We know from the events of the movies that Plagueis was killed in the end as well as by who; so instead of making the reader falsely wonder what will happen, the question is rather how and when events take place. It fills many of the holes made by the movies and shines light on a lot of other events and Star Wars history that weren’t that well developed or depicted in other titles, and shows magnificently just the amount of planning and care the Sith put behind these events (I finally understand the events behind Episodes I and II, which is a welcome feeling).
The narrative develops well despite the changes in location and of characters, making it seem completely natural and avoiding to intrude in other storylines which don’t belong. The writing style fits perfectly with the plot of the novel, and just makes it all the better. It isn’t often that one encounters a novel written with this amount of care, and the tone suits the book really well. The narrator provides a lot of physical details which help to envision the characters and scene without this seeming overbearing, and it just makes the book delightful to read.
The characters were well built and developed, and I thurroughly enjoyed reading this book. So much, in fact, that the fact that I had to continue and finish it was both a blessing and a curse. Darth Plagueis and Sidious are wonderfully constructed, compelling, and three-dimensional. Their psychology and reasons for being how they are fit perfectly with both later events and those taking place in the book. I can only say concerning the characters just how good of a job Luceno has done, not only as someone interested in them and the Sith, but also as a great Star Wars fan. I have no complaints in this section.
Perhaps, what I liked most of all about this book was how well it read and how it fitted in perfectly with its plot the way of being of the Sith. Luceno does a great job at depicting these, and it is slightly had to put exactly into words just how much I enjoyed Star Wars: Darth Plagueis. The fact that Plagueis is a Muun is also handled really well, without falling into any unnecessary stereotyping that the Star Wars universe has tended to have in the past. The way he manipulates and trains Sidious is fascinating, as is Sidious’ development throughout the years. The way it also links with pre-Episode events, Episode events, and other works is also amazing. Luceno takes all of the Star Wars canon and handles it in the best of ways.
As such, what could I possibly conclude about ‘Star Wars: Darth Plagueis’? Putting into words just how much I enjoyed reading this book is quite hard. It isn’t often that I encounter such a well-crafted work which is such a pleasure to read. It certainly has become one of my favourite books, and I can’t wait to read it again. Luceno draws the reader in and doesn’t let go. Star Wars: Darth Plagueis is a wonderful addition to the Star Wars extended universe, and definitely a must-read for all fans of it and the movies, along with any other science-fiction fan. It is, by all means, awesometacular, and definitely one of the great works of this genre. I give it the highest rating, with a very strong recommendation. It will not let you down, and is a more than worthy addition to any library and collection.
on 20 January 2012
So after the disaster that was Revan, we get Plagueius and what vast vast improvement. This Story captivates you immerses you in a period of the star wars history that has always held an interest in that it delves so deeply into the man that trained Palpatine and Palpatine himself answering some long asked questions.
This Book is a fantastic story it is everything that can be when a star wars author gets it right, and is a stark contrast to Revan, yes the book still has preview chapters of other novels but unlike in Revan where the story cam to an abrupt end there is no feeling of being cheated but the rather a one of satisfaction.
The Author of course wrote the fantastic sequel to Revenge of the Sith which was also a great book, and he does not disappoint here as gets Palpatine so right to the point you the reader can not sometimes see Palpatine manipiulations or rather you don't realize until later that Palpatine has engineered what is taking place. This book is highly recommendable to all star wars fan but especially those let down by the Revan novel. Just brillant
on 21 January 2013
This book had a tendency to go from amazing to really boring within chapters. The lengthy political aspects, which were necessary in some parts, needed to be heavily reduced. The book did however manage to link gaps of the prequel trilogy films nicely and fill in some interesting details. I would have also liked to have seen less of Palpatine and more of Plagueis towards the end of the book, after all the book is named after him. All in all I enjoyed most of this book but wouldn't recommend it to readers who don't enjoy the political star wars plots.
on 20 May 2012
I always enjoy James Luceno's work, but he's reached a new level with this book. Dark, menacing, plotting, twisted, this book exposes Sidious and Plagues as manipulators extraordinaire and discloses some pre-episode one info beautifully. A really excellent read and exceeded every expectation I had.
on 13 February 2015
This is a fantastic book for any Star Wars fan. It doesn't require any preivous knowldge except that you've seem the films (particularly Star Wars Episodes, 1, 2 and 3), so it's a great place to start dipping into the wider Star Wars Universe. That said, as a long-time Star Wars fan familiar with lots of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now called Star Wars Legends), I loved it too. The book is very well written. The story begins with Darth Plagueis and his Master and goes on to tell the story of how Palpatine becomes a Sith and plans his rise to power. Palpatine is such an interesting and pivotal character in the Star Wars stories, it is brilliant to learn so much more about him.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Star Wars.
on 3 January 2016
I think this will work for some, but not others.
On the one hand, the book has many revelations that explain many of the mysteries left in the wake of the prequels. We learn about Palpatine's past, and how he came to learn the ways of the sith. It also explained about things like the creation of the clone army, how Palpatine got into galactic politics and how he remained hidden in plain sight from the jedi, the origins of Count Dooku and Darth maul, and just who on earth master Sifo-Dyas was and how he instigated the creation of the clones, just to name a few.
So I found it interesting and insightful that way. It fleshed out the prequels a bit more.
On the other hand, it did feel quite bogged down in politics, sometimes political jargon filling entire chapters. It wasn't always plain boring, but sometimes felt like it served little purpose other than filler. That wasn't really the case but a lot of people could feel that way when reading it.
The story was also somewhat dis-connected. Spanning about 30 years or so, it felt like a series of events strung together to form a loose story with a somewhat anti-climatic or even rushed ending.
All-in-all, I feel that this will be right up some people's alley, but will leave others a bit confused.
on 17 May 2015
An exceptionally written book, following the life of dearth plagueis the wise and his aspiring apprentice dearth sideous. This fills in the blanks off the run up to Star Wars the phantom menace, a truly revealing and enlightening look into the rule of 2, from master to apprentice. And the beginning of their master plan, to take over the senate, the galaxy. This book paints an exact picture of how the masters of the sith sowed small seeds of doubt, destruction and chaos to eventually full fill their birth rite, their destiny. To control the galaxy as master and apprentice............
on 7 December 2014
Darth Plagueis is one of the better entries in the Star Wars mythology, but it is marred by the author's seemingly irresistible desire to prove how clever he is by littering his text with needlessly complex wordage. To be fair, this is a common fault with all James Luceno's work, and not restricted to this novel.
For example, he can't write 'dying', he has to say 'moribund', and 'native' isn't good enough; he has to replace it with 'indigine'. Where you or I may write 'inescapable', Luceno opts for 'ineluctable', and he can't say 'strip', he has to go with 'denude'.
These needless flosculations (see James? I can do it too) are the height of literary snobbery, and add nothing of value.
As for the story itself, Darth Plagueis is a (mostly) coherent and well-structured read, though it does occasionally linger too long on dreary politics - a topic Luceno have never written about in an interesting or engaging fashion.
In summation, this novel is fairly decent. You probably won't be bored, but you might find yourself becoming frustrated with Luceno's patronising writing style.