I'm not a big fan of the Star Wars "Expanded Universe" novels. A lot of them tend to lack to real spirit and the feel of George Lucas' universe, and some authors even try to turn them into science fiction novels, which is not what Star Wars should be about. James Luceno is different - he seems to truly understand the Star Wars universe, and his novels capture the spirit of the movies. "Cloak of Deception" was an excellent novel, perfectly setting things up for "Episode I: The Phantom Menace", and adding further depth to the already complex and ingenious political exploits of Palpatine. "Labyrinth of Evil" is even better - in fact, it's by far the best Star Wars novel I've ever read. The story is set three years after the end of "Episode II: Attack of the Clones". The Clone Wars appear to be coming to their conclusion, with Count Dooku's Separatist forces being pushed back to the edge of the galaxy. On Coruscant, Palpatine has used the war as an excuse for gaining further powers. In a chilling parallel with current American politics, he intends to change the Constitution for his own policies; he labels insignificant planets as an "axis of evil" that need to be invaded; and his State of the Republic speeches are interrupted by constant standing ovations. Perhaps we should expect George W Bush to appear wearing a black cloak and hood next. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker (who seems to be growing closer to the Dark Side with every page) find themselves hunting down Darth Sidious, the evil mastermind behind the whole war, while Mace Windu leads the search for Sidious on Coruscant, and Yoda finds himself contemplating the nature of the Force, with help from an old friend, long gone ... The novel ends with a catastrophe that will lead us directly into the opening of "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith". What makes this book work so well is the way it keeps the spirit of the Star Wars movies themselves - you can almost see the movie playing in front of your eyes, and it FEELS like a George Lucas Star Wars movie. The story is fast paced, and action scenes are littered throughout, just the right amount and in just the right places. The story jumps about, with four or five parallel stories all going on at once, but Luceno does this in such a way that you never lose track of what is happening in each. There is wonderfully cheesy dialogue, as you expect from a Star Wars movie, and the nature of the Force is explored further - expect this to be delved into even more in "Episode III". Everyone is wonderfully in-character, and there are lots of little nudges and winks to events that take place in "Episode IV: A New Hope". The ending is a complete cliffhanger, and leaves you desparate to watch "Episode III" and find out what happens. The general tone of the novel is perfect - the mysteries of "Episode II" are further explored, many of them explained (if you want to know what really went on with Sifo-Dyas, the clone army and the missing data from the Jedi Archives, this is the book you need to read), and there is a general forboding throughout the novel - things are getting darker and darker, and you know it's not going to have a happy ending. Not until after another four episodes, anyway. ;) Overall, this is the best Star Wars novel I've ever read, and would recommend it to anyone interested in delving deeper into the mysteries of the prequel movies in particular. It makes me even more excited to see how the circle will be complete - just four months to go now!
This book is easily in the top five of all Star Wars books ever written. It's almost-if not as good as- The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn. It moves at such a pace that you can't help but be blown away by everything that unfolds before you.
The book unfolds, and is layered masterfully, as the plot thickens, gathers pace and comes together effortlessly. You're never left feeling disappointed.
The characters are exactly as they should be, and this book benefits from having a whole host of them in starring roles, including: Yoda, Mace Windu, Palpatine, Amidala, Bail Organa, General Greivous, Count Dooku and of Course Anakin and Obi-Wan.
Real depth is given to the character of Anakin and we come to appreciate the anguish he feels. We get to see just how much he feels let down by the council, just how much he fears for Padme's life; and crucially just how easily Palpatine can manipulate him. It's brilliant because we can see exactly where his downfalls occur and all his flaws are laid out to see.
The relationship between him and Obi-Wan is brilliantly crafted and adds further to Lucas's interpretation of it. The banter is excellent, the understanding is there too.....but Anakin can never really be honest with Obi-Wan and it obviously pains him. Their relationship changes from Father and Son, to brothers to Uncle and Nephew. It really is very well done by Luceno.
The pace of the book, as mentioned earlier, is brilliant. From exhilirating snow-speeder chases to battles in Neimodian palaces to an epic series of clashes on Coruscant, the book will leave you wanting much more. But don't go on to read Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader. That's just rubbish.
where do i begin firstly i brought this book out of pure curiosity which was due to the banner at the top of cover which says 'prequal to episode 3'and my first asumption was 'yeah ok whatever' but the moment i started reading it it just blew me away from the first page its action all the way from cover to cover.you learn all sorts of interesting deatails like 'who deleated kamino from the jedi archives' to who sifo dyas was and the best is you can see anakin slowly but surely making the choices which will bring him to the ultimate end.i caanot rate this book high enough especially the end which will bring you to the beginning of episode 3.i really reccommend this book in every aspect truely worth a place in any star wars fans bookshelf
Have just finished reading this novel and can highly recommend it to all Star Wars fans. Our three year wait is nearly over and anticipation regarding the final Star Wars movie release is increasing. This is an excellent thirst quencher. The story starts about 3 months and ends immediately before the opening scene of episode III. All the major characters are there with glimpses of new characters that will be seen in the movie. General Greivous (the new villain of episode III and precursor to Darth Vader) is penned out nicely with some interesting background info on him. If he looks and acts as good as he reads in the book then who wants to see Darth Vader! Only kidding...we all do of course! Bail Organa, Mon Mothma etc are there also but the focus of the story stays with the Jedi and Sith protagonists. Will not go into any more of the story... do not want to spoil it for you. What I will say is that having read James Luceno's other Star Wars efforts I was not expecting much from this book. However, he has had access to the shooting script of the film and has revelled in telling this tale. I found it hard to put down. STAR WARS FANS ..... ADD THIS TO YOUR EPISODE III PUBLICATION SHOPPING BASKET TODAY!
love how it sets up the seeds in anakin that will grow towards events of episode 3 and love grevius back story in this book. Great how they captured the humour bettween obi won and anikin so well in this story. There is only one issue |I have is the abduction of Palpertine the animated clone wars series has the events happen in such a different way only one can be considered correct and as during episode 3 grevious has breathing problems due to attack by Windu the clone wars series is the more correct one. Would have been good if he wrote it in a way that supported the show and happened at the same time. But besides that little flaw amazing book and so was Rise the sequel so get that to
Everything about this book is great, which is why fans are so annoyed at how the on-going clone wars series time line (both the animated version and the computer animated version) are screwing up the events of this novel. It is the perfect lead in the episode III.
From start to finish. Sets the scene for episode three so we'll - even if we know what is going to happen there! It starts off at a fair pace and just goes on gathering momentum. One thing though - who is supposed to know that sidious=Palpatine?