On Star Wars books – Part II: Birth of the Galactic Empire

After the Old Republic and the Bane trilogy time has come to review something from the clone wars end to the very beginnings of the great Galactic Empire. From Plagueis to Vader…

Darth Plagueis

This is the book that most fans were curious about in the past few years and it was hyped up basically to no end. Is it really a masterpiece some proclaimed it to be be? Well… No. It sure is very good book to read but it’s not for everyone. If you enjoy intrigues and “games of chess” in beauracracy and politics then great, if not, you may not like it nearly as much as other people. The politics in the book is nearly interesting as in The Phantom Menace. Sure, it has some great details and events that shaped the future of the Sith and the whole universe but they are quickly overshadowed by bunch of secondary characters, references and plots that are simply not nearly as interesting. It is like when a movie script turns to a tv series and the “fillers” are obviously less appealing than the rest of the main plot. It is a good thing though, that alot of the expanded universe is covered in this one. It really works and feels like a part of the universe, much more so than some other books.

“The Force tries to resist the callings of ravenous spirits; therefore it must be broken and made a beast of burden. It must be made to answer to one’s will.” – One of the Sith philosophies

Alongside with Midichlorian tales, Plagueis and Sidious’s manipulations and schemes in the very heart of the republic there is also the whole story about Darth Maul for example, so it seems that the book possibly took more ground that it can genuinely cover. While it surely is not the easy going book for the newcomers, serious fans will appreciate it for all the answers that just had to be answered ever since the Revenge of the Sith. As for the “Sith standards” it is a weaker insight into the dark side of the force than Darth Bane trilogy or Deceived novel, and this is it’s biggest letdown for me. Definitely overhyped but still a good book in it’s own right.

The Dark Lord Trilogy

This set of books revolves around Anakin Skywalker and his sudden but inevitable betrayal which in the series of events transform him into legendary but notorious villain – Darth Vader. From the flames of the clone wars a new kind of chaos will arise and with it the great Galactic Empire, dreaded by the Jedi, ruled by the Sith.

As a trilogy it seems quite strange, with a Labyrinth of Evil as an obvious intruder (or a black sheep if you prefer). As duology it makes more sense, even without latest Skywalker adventures in The Clone Wars. If you want best possible insight on the early beginnings of Anakin’s downfall, look up the last two seasons of The Clone Wars series. Better yet – It’s a canon! Revenge of the Sith, although not perfect is still a great read and ties with Dark Lord: Rise of Darth Vader in a way that surely do Anakin/Vader more justice than the movies ever did.

Labyrinth of Evil

One thing this book got right is it’s title. It is the labyrinth of plots, labyrinth of characters and the labyrinth of direction. That being said it can be quite confusing, even for it’s short length. It is like a middle piece that lacks the beginning and the end, while it’s content isn’t particularly presented very interesting. It sure is a read and a setting to cover but to be honest I could have imagined a better intro into Revenge of the Sith.

Revenge of the Sith

It is strange to read this one after seeing the movie because it has both – different tone and feel to it. The book likes to go forward and back again in it’s narrative but it is a good thing, it doesn’t shy from going away from the barriers of the plot in the movie in order to tell a story in more detailed or simply better and more cohesive way. It provides many of things you may miss in the movie, plus more insights into the scenes that seemed sloppy and illogical or that you may have overlooked in the movie. Still there are some scenes that are actually better and more epic in the movie than the book because in some cases “less is more” and “show, don’t tell” is a better way after all. That being said the book has couple of these “hit & miss” moments and it could depend on the perspective whether you’ll like them or not.

Young Vader and “his Empire”

Overall, it’s a great book that every fan should read, especially if they’re in a search for a “prequels fix”. Be warned however, there are still some things that even God almighty couldn’t fix. Thankfully they are few in this great piece.

The Rise of Darth Vader
Where previous book was more about true beginning of the Empire, this one is more about true Darth Vader. Although there is no doubt that in the end of “Revenge” Anakin was covered completely in dark and has commited most of attrocities, there was still a conflict in between the bursts of madness and chaos of emotions. Still an insane Anakin that only begins to embrace what will shape him into a true Sith Lord. It is here where we starting to see that brutal, cold and calculative Darth Vader that we know from the Original Trilogy. There is a whole series of scenes that go into the process of thinking inside Vader’s mind in great detail. Where Anakin slowly but surely loses every argument against both; Vader and the Emperor. This is where truly Anakin goes away and Darth Vader takes over. The struggle within ends and Vader emerges victorious . Darth Vader, the great betrayer, imperial terminator, the unstoppable hate machine of destruction, the destroyer of worlds.

Three faces of Vader

The fate of the Jedi has been twisted and there is no turning back. The book also revolves around their survival and simply dealing with the shock around the consequences of the dreaded Order 66 – on both sides, between some clone troopers and the remaining Jedi. Those characters are also very well written, cohesive and quite different. They also occupy a good portion of the book, perhaps too good if you ask me. After all, they’re not as engaging as Aryn and Zeerid from Deceived for example, but still good characters nevertheless. Same goes for the book, while not on the highest level as Deceived it is still a great book and thankfully the newest one, Lords of the Sith will complete or improve on every aspect this one may lacked. After so many years, the Vader storyline finally coming to full circle.

This article is also available on Croatian in the Extended Version on the following link: Eydis, SF & Fantasy – Star Wars knjige: Postanak i uspon Galaktičkog Carstva


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