Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Labyrinth of Evil
Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
Del Rey Books
With the The Clone Wars drawing to a close, and the books therein only covering a tiny portion of what the new animated series will endeavor to open up, Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith managed to finally bridge that gap between the impetuous Anakin and the evil black-clad Anakin, aka, Darth Vader. With the movie, naturally, came the novelization. But in addition there were two books, one prior and one following the movie, which make up this week’s Countdown.
The novelization of the movie was written by Matthew Stover and unlike many novelizations, was actually able to add a certain modicum depth to certain scenes, in particular the beginning of the Jedi Purge in the Temple itself. Certain characters which have been alluded to in other novels were made known.
But the two books on which I want to focus are both written by James Luceno: Labyrinth of Evil and Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader.
As I began to read both books I realized that I had actually previously read both books sometime earlier. Vague moments of dÃ©jÃ vu continued to pop up as I turned page after page. And though it halted my reading of Labyrinth, it only reminded me how much I loved Dark Lord.
The first one is a story that, according to Wikipedia, “”¦occur just before Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, overlapping with the events of the second season of Star Wars: Clone Wars.” It follows Obi-Wan and Anakin as they attempt to capture Nute Gunray, fail, but get his techno walking chair. This leads the pair on a long search for various people in an attempt to get a lead on Darth Sidious. Meanwhile another story pops up on Coruscant, involving Mace Windu and Shaak Ti.
Though written well enough, Luceno was never going to write a book that really gripped me. Before him were stories told about, for example, Mace Windu or Master Yoda — about characters that we rarely focused on and thus where we can learn new things. In focusing once again on Obi-Wan and Anakin, especially so close to where we pick up in Episode III and the animated series, there is nothing new to learn, no peril or danger they can face without us knowing they make it out safely.
On the other hand, stepping onto the other side of the movie, we have Dark Lord, which manages to focus not only on people we do not know, and thus do not know their outcome, but also provide details on Vader, a character that, despite a penchant for Force choking everyone in sight, little is known about.
Luceno writes with a sure hand and grasp of the story he is telling, and even though I had read Dark Lord before, it did not dampen my enjoyment of this book second time around. The characters of Olee Starstone and Roan Shryne are immediate favorites, and a lot of emotion is built up in these two characters alone.
The author also manages to impart various factoids for us, like what the galaxy thinks of the Jedi now, Vader’s role and his relationship with Moff Tarkin, as well as a wonderful little cue to the latter which will eventually lead to the destruction of Alderaan.
Labyrinth of Evil ranks 5 out of 10, and Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader get an 8. Definitely get your hands on the latter, and only get the former if you are lost for anything else to read.
Make sure to check out the Amazon List for all the books so far involved in my Countdown series.