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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 23 February 2010
I have to say that I am a big fan of James Luceno. He is probably one of my favourite authors and he once again does credit to the Expanded Universe. This has to be one of the best books I have read for a long time

I thought this book was an excellent sequal to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I thought it was a very well written book and I liked the way that James Luceno focused on how Darth vader struggled in the early days in the suit.

The only thing I didn't like about the book was the way that the main Jedi characters survived Order 66. Personally I think that he could have come up with a better plot than he did. I also found the Jedi characters a little week but not enough to spoil what was essentially a good read! Definately five stars for me!
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on 15 March 2014
This novel is set immediately after the events of Episode III Revenge of the Sith and from the outset to me it is a pity that Matthew Stover did not write both books. I say this because reading the novelisation of REVENGE OF THE SITH was one of the literary highlights of 2012 and it would have enhanced this story by the length of the Kessel run if it was written in the same style. In one sense the story of Anakin Skywalker ends on Mustafar and yet George Lucas himself has said that episodes 1 through 6 complete the story of his rise fall and eventual redemption (if such a thing is possible). So what I am saying from the outset is that the novelisation of ROTS and this one is really a two part story which would have been a better read if written by the same author.

(NOTE: I have come to realise that ROTS and this book are actually the final two thirds of THE DARK LORD TRILOGY so this criticism is clearly invalid. But I would like to leave this in my review as I refer to this paragraph later on. :-))

That out of the way, I can say that there are moments of pure star wars magic to be found in this book. This first one left me breathless early on in the novel when we entered the tormented mind of Vader as he begins to comprehend what has happened, what he is and what he has become. Regrets begin to form in his soul and rise to the surface of his consciousness when he remembers what he was and what he could have been. Little facts are raised in the book which are fascinating to some readers (me!) but possibly pointless trivia to others.

Part one of the book is compelling to say the least. We are on Murkhana when Order 66 is implemented and this is a well written but terrifying description of the mass murder of innocents under the guise of war. Part two - subtitled THE EMPEROR'S EMISSARY is when we are introduced to Vader for the first time in the book and this is where the heart of the reader really starts to pump. The story itself too jumps up a notch but in an attempt to humanise Vader it gets stuck in first gear for 50 pages or so. Anyway the heroes of this story become obvious given the context of what has gone before and it is easy to become attached emotionally to what is going on.

Part three begins on Imperial Centre and obviously is used to set the scene for what happens in the tumultuous and apocalyptic (for some) climax to this tale. Palpatine (Sidious) is still manipulating his new apprentice but at least we signs of development and independent thought processes begin to rise from Vader. Part four is based on KASHYYYK and is the highlight of the book in an emotional sense as well as from the storytelling perspective. A group of renegade Jedi and their support crew decide to use Kashyyyk as a temporary base and when Vader turns up with his support crew they refuse to surrender. A fantastic battle ensues with lots of action, fight scenes and truly moving events and dialogue to entertain and educate the reader. This part of the book is also significant in terms of Vader's development in the dark side and it is easy to close your eyes and see the book "happen" in front of you as you read each page.

With a deeply satisfying and equally emotional ending this book turned out to be one of the all time great EU novels. As I stated at the start of my review, the writing style is definitely different from that used by Stover in REVENGE OF THE SITH but looking back, that was definitely a good thing. I am not criticising Stover by saying this but even though the two books form the bulk of the same trilogy, they have to be sufficiently different in order to entertain and to give each writer his due. What Lucerno has achieved here is a classic star wars novel for the "new" star wars if you know what i mean. So in summary I give this book four stars out of five. The ending was awesome as I have said but held back by a minor lull in proceedings in part two. But definitely worth reading. The hard part now is to decide which SW book to read next!

BFN Greggorio!
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on 10 November 2013
I really enjoyed this book, and though it was lacking some grandeur I was expecting, finally it revealed itself well written and logically explained the transition period for new Sith Vader, and his relation to his suit.
If you like the character, it is a "must have", though I really preferred "shadows of the empire".
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on 6 May 2014
First off a minor criticism that may be leveled by some readers is that for a book entitled 'The Rise Of Darth Vader', he doesn't appear nearly as much as one might expect ( to be fair, he is in at least half the book, but if you're a Darth Vader-phile, you may wish for more ).
That said, when he is present, the author goes to great lengths to convey Vader's inner turmoil and the repercussions of his new state as someone now "more machine than man". There is some extraordinarily vivid writing by Luceno that really encapsulates the horror of Vader's new cyborg body, stripped of his flesh and blood self - his humanity. It's probably this part of the book that has stayed with me the most aside from the excellent climactic battle on Chewbacca's home planet ).

Whilst initially I was not particularity enamored with some of the new characters created especially for the novel, their story was eventually woven deftly into to the bigger plot. Appearances from characters such as Bail Organa, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca and others also added to the excitement and authenticity, and felt integral to the story, not just shoehorned in.

Indeed with Bail Organa's introduction, I felt more engaged and invested with the novel, and the dramatic tension Luceno had built up developed nicely as the story progressed ( I would have actually preferred it if Bail Organa had been the primary foil to Vader in this story instead of jedis I have never encountered before, but that would have defeated the point of the book I guess).

The novel culminates in the impressively action-packed battle on Kashyyyk, which was handled far more deftly than the other battle we saw onscreen in the lackluster 'Revenge of the Sith' movie.

This being my first James Luceno STAR WARS novel, I shall certainly be exploring some of his other works. An excellent and engaging read.
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on 27 March 2011
A great review of what happened in Vader's jedi purge. On how Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader will fight each other to finally show which one will remain in de big black-coated man's shell. On how the dark side finally consumes what remains of Ani...

A to-have sequel of episode III, with references to the way Darth Bane had opened 1000 years ago. Some references too to the Darth Sidious - Palpatine game behind the scene, and to the relations between Emperor, Vader and Tarkin.
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on 26 March 2015
For a book about Darth Vader it takes a long time for the Dark Lord to show up. The writer seems more interested in some random Jedi than the titular character. However when Vader does turn up it is well worth it and the writing is really good at showing the transition from the Anakin we know from the Prequels to the Vader we know in the original trilogy.
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on 4 May 2015
Almost got a refund on this, as the book is only barely about Darth Vader despite the jacket blurb. However, it is very well written, with believable characters and situations, very much in the genre style. And when the big man does appear, his characterisation is spot-on.
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on 16 April 2007
There are several problems with this book beginning with the sad fact that there is no real story, just a loosely woven collection of vignettes featuring a collection of minor characters that are best forgotten. Vader never develops as a result of any of the events depicted between this book's covers, although the author claims that Vader makes a major breakthrough in understanding the darkside. Unfortunately, we're never shown why, how, or what that possibly means.

Secondly, the book is populated with minor characters (Vader isn't introduced until nearly page 50) that are really nothing more than fodder for the Dark Lord, characters that are stood up only so they can be knocked down. Except for their names, they are indistinguishable.

Which speaks to the major shortcoming of this book, the very poor writing. I was never once "drawn" into any of the scenes or the lives of the characters. The writing was flat, the characters d.o.a., and the story missing in action.
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on 19 August 2014
A very good book taking place shortly after Revenge of the Sith, Darth Vader gets use to the idea of being Darth Sidious's apprentice and being a leader in the Empire. It also follows some Jedi who survived Order 66, who are attempting to evade the Empire. James Luceno does a good job of describing the relation between the characters especially Darth Vader and Darth Sidious
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on 11 July 2006
...or the worst. This book is a useful insight into - as the title suggests - the rise of darth vader. For the first time we can gauge the struggle Vader has within himself and his contempt for Sidious. However as a novel the story lacks any proper direction or plot. The end is very flat and the Jedi characters are both undeveloped and unappealing.

In short this book should (and will have already no doubt!) be read by only devout star wars fans, people who want an explosive gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope will be left unsatisfied.
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