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!
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!
My son (11) says that he loved this book as it "talked about what the characters were thinking" and that he found this "even better than the movies". He continued - "I wish that the books also covered what happens in the movies because then I could hear what the characters were thinking too".
Well done James Luceno - you have a very happy 11 year old customer!
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
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.
I already read the book years ago, when I was a teenage and I remembered how I felt reading it. Well, that positive feeling is still there, many years later. The author perfectly transmits the movies' atmosphere and it is really a must-have for the Star Wars fans and those who always wanted to know more about the period of time between Episode III and IV.