Sunday, October 29, 2006

Star Wars: Dark Lord - The Rise of Darth Vader Review

After going through Star Wars: Labyrinth of Evil, I then moved on to the novelized sequel of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: Dark Lord - The Rise of Darth Vader (and why must all these Star Wars titles have such long names?).

In a word, this novel is great. Not only does it deal with the further solidification of the Empire and the beginnings of its oppression across the galaxy, but it also deals with a great many psychological fronts, both Jedi and Sith.

It appears that Vader is not as focused and calculating as we thought he was at the end of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, in fact he is quite the opposite. Vader is lost and confused. He hates the remaining Jedi, loathes Palpatine for using him as a tool, and is grieved by the loss of his wife. With the new cybernetic attachments to his body he no longer feels fully human, fully alive, and when it comes right down to it, Vader does not know who he is anymore. As he is further manipulated by Palpatine and ultimately tasked with hunting down a group of surviving Jedi, what little is left of Anakin Skywalker becomes consumed by the cold purpose of Lord Vader.

On the flip-side we have these surviving Jedi. The novel starts out at the end of the Clone Wars as Jedi Master Shryne and several other Jedi lead an assault on the Separatist world of Murkhana. Shortly after the invasion begins, Order 66 is given and most of the Jedi are whipped out by the Clone Troopers aside from Shryne, Jedi Master Chatak, and Padawan Starstone. Shortly afterwards Vader appears as the Emperor's agent, and not only are the Jedi faced with the immensely difficult task of survival, but also of trying to unravel the mystery of who Darth Vader is.

The novel also contains a great deal of military sci-fi action with the clone troopers (ultimately re-named Stormtroopers) as well as some Republic Commandos. Oh, and there's a shit-load of Wookies as well and Wookies go "rawarrrrr...." 'cause that's what Wookies do.

Star Wars: Dark Lord - The Rise of Darth Vader is an excellent continuation of the last film, and it really goes into the mentality of Vader and the psychological changes he goes through as he rediscovers and reinvents his own identity. You don't have to be a hardcore Star Wars fan to enjoy the novel. If you have a passing interest in Darth Vader, I recommend you pick this one up.

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