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a broad introduction to the wider Star Wars universe
on 1 February 2017
Opinion regarding Star Wars Episode 1 "The Phantom Menace" is highly divided. Personally, I enjoyed the cinematic experience of watching the film - although I don't consider it one of the best entries in the saga. I was sufficiently entertained as to order the novelisation of the movie - and, fortunately, it's an enjoyable read. This is a well-written book which provides added depth and detail - both in terms of characters and the broader events they're caught-up in - as compared to the film. If you're a fan of the Star Wars novels then I recommend this item.
The story focuses on two key elements. On the one hand, it's about the setting into motion of the final plans of the Sith lord Darth Sidious - who instigates a trade blockade of a remote planet within the Galactic Republic. This blockade constitutes the central reason for the election of Palpatine as Chancellor. On the other hand, the plot concerns the character of young Anakin Skywalker - who demonstrates such Force potential that he's allowed to join the Jedi Order. Anyone who's seen the original Star Wars trilogy knows that Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, and that Palpatine becomes the Emperor. As such, this is a story of origins ...
There's a lot of political intrigue in the plot. Things are going on that aren't directly covered in the storyline. And the events that we do witness are not as they appear. Yes, there's a "menace" - but the real threat isn't the trade blockade but the mastermind who's controlling everything. As such, what the Jedi get involved in is merely a "phantom" - an set of illusory circumstances that, ultimately, will lead to their downfall. This, then, is a complex narrative - and certainly not the standard stuff of sci-fi. Personally, I enjoyed this deeper meaning to the story. But I can understand how it might put some readers off.
Overall, this book serves to provide a broad introduction to the wider Star Wars universe. It's rather different than one might imagine, if you're only familiar with the original trilogy of films. If you're willing to embrace this larger reality then I think you'll enjoy this novel.
Note: I ordered a hardback edition and received a paperback copy. If you're after hardback then I suggest contacting the seller and ensuring that you'll receive the correct version.