Lit The JC Lit Reviews Special: DARTH PLAGUEIS (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. aalagartassle SWC Senate Chief of State

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    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
    one of the best reads in the last five years
    I really enjoyed the motives and the tie ins that were offered, though some of it was name dropping . Character of Damask was excellent. Political analysis was fantastic especially Valurom, Palpatine, Dooku. I only got a little annoyed at the indirect results of Plagueis experiments, it was not diffinative. I irked at the very end Prince XIXOR , iyt's supposed to be XIZOR. Gritty in most places. Could have done some more force powers/skills.
  2. MistrX Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2006
    star 4
    Is there a Star Wars author out there who does more EU research than James Luceno? I mean, wow, in the past it was always gratifying to get the references and connections he would sprinkle throughout his stories, bringing together this wider universe, though arguably making it a little too small at times. It happens again here, in this long awaited lead-in to the prequel era and this time it seems to be turned up to 11. Not only is it at a greater scale than before, though, but here it really works. In many ways, this is the story for which we have been waiting for some time and structurally, Luceno executes it really well. All of the buildup to Episode I novels, short stories, comics, and background material we have seen from various sources over the years are tied together so well, with, as we’ve suspected, Sidious and Plagueis having their hands all over it. It’s solidifying a mythology we have had the pleasure of piecing together in our own minds for years and seeing it all wrapped together. It’s as if we’re getting that long episode of The X-Files or Lost that not only explains everything, but has it make a sense that satisfies (something neither of those shows arguably did). And much of that is simply the last third of the book.

    Honestly, that final part was the strongest, IMO, with its greater focus on Sidious and the two Sith’s machinations that led to the events we see in and after Episode I. It provides an even greater complexity to the events we had seen unfold not only in that movie and what followed, but in the materials surrounding it. It even has its share of surprises. I, for one, had not expected Plagueis to be alive well into and nearly to the end of the events of TPM.

    The previous sections of the book, focusing on Plagueis forging his own path following his murder of his master and his early years meeting and training Palpatine, have their merits, but don’t have the movement of the story we later get. Looking back, it seems almost entirely as setup rather than a strong story all its own. My major issue with the first two sections, and particularly the first third of the book is the pacing. The plot kind of just plods along and it took me some time to gain momentum while reading it. To be sure, there are some complex and heady ideas in it, but it was hard for me to develop much interest in Plagueis himself. It’s interesting to some extent to see Plagueis’ considerable resources and the early indications of attitudes that would lead to actions taken by many of the players in Episode II, but I think the story dwells a little too long on some of the early backstory. It just seemed to me like the overall plot could have been a little tighter early in the book.

    Overall, though, the book is an impressive entry in the EU and a rich exploration of the rise of Star Wars’ greatest villain and his intriguing master. 7.8/10
    Charlemagne19 likes this.
  3. JackG Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    9/10
    The continuity in this novel was truly excellent, as we have come to expect from the master of continuity, James Luceno. The Yinchorri crisis (Jedi Council: Acts of War), Eriadu summit (Cloak of Deception) and the use and expansion of characters like Veruna (mentioned briefly in TPM) and Pestage (ESB deleted scenes) are all great examples of this. It just enhances the novel to have it full of great connections to the wider EU and makes the universe seem much, much fuller for what is a stand-alone novel. Some issues I had were the deluded belief that Damask thought Palpatine would really make him co-Chancellor. That just seemed like a plot convenience to me. Secondly the story, imo (many will disagree), waned a bit in the middle of the novel, though eventually got going again for an ending which I thought was brilliant. The Palpatine not appearing 'the master' Sith Lord and Maul being an self-important assassin issues were fine by me.
  4. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    star 7
  5. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    10/10

    The extent to which I love Darth Plagueis cannot be overstated. DP literally brought me back to the EU after a 6-month-long burnout. Luceno weaves a web of corruption, conspiracies, and continuity that ties together 30 years of lore and characters. While I at times wished that we got to see a bit more of Plagueis and his experiments, the way that this turned out to be the Palpatine novel actually mirrored the story- particularly the climax- itself, which is actually quite clever. Everything about this novel left me wanting more from Luceno, more on the Sith, more on Plagueis, more on Dooku, and I'm normally not even one of the Sith junkies around here. This novel could have easily gone very wrong- delving into Palpatine's backstory, using him as a point-of-view narrator, runs the risk of ruining the mystique and menace associated with the ultimate villain of the Star Wars universe. Instead, Luceno absolutely enhanced my perception of Palpatine, and revealed just how brilliant of a manipulator Sidious really was. I suspect that the whole co-chancellor thingy was a mandate from on high, and to be honest I wasn't too bothered by it. It's a shame that TCW has convinced Luceno to wait a while before even considering a Tyranus novel (per an interview with Roqoo Depot), because if Plagueis is any indication, Tyranus would blow my mind. In any case, DP was an incredible read that brought me back to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and I eagerly await Luceno's next outing.
  6. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    star 7
    Average score: 409.92/44 = 9.32
  7. Eternal_Hero Jedi Master

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    Sep 21, 2012
    star 1
    I've been watching some of the SW movies, out of sequence, in 40-ish minute "chapters" every evening to wind down. I just had AOTC on. Did this happen to anyone else? When it got to the reference to Sifo-Dyas, which I had kind of forgotten was even there, I laughed out loud! It dove-tails so perfectly with DP, Luceno has completely altered that scene, lending it a dark comic note. In my mind, once Plagueis was finished using Sifo-Dyas, he got rid of him somehow. The movie never says "he died in action" and I forget if there's anything abt him in the novelization; but in light of the book it seems all too likely that Palps devised some way to get rid of him. Anyway that was great & totally unexpected!
  8. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    Yeah, I know I'm not just late to the party, the party ended long ago and I just showed up. I think I should point out that I managed to remain almost completely unspoiled.

    This book is the epitome of Luceno's strengths and weaknesses. Luceno weaves a massive web of continuity orders of magnitude beyond what we've seen in any other novel. The sheer depth of detail is truly incredible. Unfortunately, the sheer mass of these references really weigh the story down and imo severely restricts the potential for storytelling. Luceno's consistently weak prose is unable to overcome this restriction.

    CHARACTERS:

    Darth Plagueis: I find him so disappointing, so uninteresting, so dull. The mad scientist part of him was an excellent idea, however the execution was never brilliant. I found him suitably powerful, but again the execution was weak. His action scenes were poorly described and his growing power in the dark side basically summarized instead of actually put into action. His philosophy was especially disappointing, there was never a profound moment of enlightenment for me, I never went "Wow, that's brilliant." His Grand Plan was full of solid Sith scheming, but kind of standard in a way, with no surprises, nothing I haven't seen before, nothing I didn't expect. I actually really liked that he was not omniscient, that he was caught off guard a few times, surprising the supposedly master planner was a great way to take him down a peg. His downfall absolutely makes sense with ROTS and is set up reasonably well by his occupation with the etheric world of the Force and blindness in the physical world, but unfortunately the foolishness he displayed mandated by ROTS was not particularly offset by moments of brilliance earlier in the book. Sadly, Darth Plagueis is not a character worthy of having his name stamped on the cover of a novel and falls far short of what I expect of Palpatine's master.

    Palpatine: I think Luceno's portrayal of him was very solid overall. Again I find Luceno's execution lacking, but I thought his origins and the murder of his family were strong choices. The charming manipulation was expected, his flirting however was a very nice surprise. His turn at the end wasn't really set up as well as it could have been, and I thought that moment was very weak, however it very much fits the character on a basic level.

    A few comments on minor characters.

    Darth Maul: Having him show up on Palpatine's door step in a basket was jarring. I actually approve of Maul's child/animal-like relationship with Palpatine, I prefer Maul to be nothing more than a mindless weapon, rather than a true Sith Lord in the waiting.

    Dooku: His portrayal was solid and a nice reminder of what I originally saw in the character in AOTC, but nothing extraordinary. Still, this is the Dooku I was looking for.

    Sifo-Dyas: He actually impressed me more than any other character in the book. His grounded perspective and foresight were both impressive and believable.

    Nute Gunray: A very minor character, but I'd like to point out a strange comment from Palpatine that said Gunray was "immune to intimidation".

    Darth Gravid, Darth Gean and the rest of Bane's line: Only a few mentions, but enough to make me want the rest of Bane's line fleshed out, Gravid and Gean especially.

    PLOT:
    Plagueis' near fatal mistakes, the results of the Force striking back, were badly needed moments of drama. Plagueis and Palpatine unbalancing the Force by meditating was lame and just mentioned as an afterthought. The Chosen One basically being Neo and the Force being the Matrix was also tacked on and is terribly frustrating. Luceno's political machinations were as delightfully Machiavellian as ever. However, I think this being a prequel to the prequels made the Grand Plan seem less than amazing because the endgame was a matter of common knowledge. The ending was really weak and even contradictory. The idea itself fits, but was terribly executed. The epilogue was a painfully obvious sledgehammer to the skull, I'm not sure why it was even included.

    PROSE:
    Plain. Flat. The nonstop references to other works, even his own, overwhelmed the book, preventing it from being a story of its own. I've already read most of the stuff Luceno referenced, I didn't need it summarized for me again but with Plagueis in the background. It's like Luceno just went "Hey, remember everything that happened before and leading into TPM? Yeah, Plagueis was there for all of it." The book is a collection of Wookieepedia pages, it's an encyclopedia, it's the Essential Chronology leading up to TPM. The obsessive compulsion to reference every bit of EU possible hurt this book far more than it helped, imo.

    For a character study, I found the lack of emotional content stunning. The intellectual aspects didn't go nearly as deep as I would have liked. The philosophy is something I really look forward to in these kinds of books, but I found it lacking.

    The Score:
    This was disappointing. Mind you my expectations probably weren't nearly as high as others, if they were I would have read this long ago. The first 150 pages or so were shockingly dull and the last 50 pages were a bit rushed, with HUGE moments brushed over. What a waste of pages. The only redeeming qualities were Luceno's "bad guy" politics (which are always a million times better than most of the good guy politics, which are usually nothing more than idealists giving sappy speeches) and epic use of continuity. Luceno really manages to make Star Wars feel like one cohesive story, but unfortunately that wasn't enough to make up for the lack of original work here. I would say that there's not a lot of "art" to this book, but I guess Luceno's mastery of continuity is an art form of its own.

    7.2/10

    This is the second time Luceno has let me down when given such a huge opportunity (the first being Dark Lord), it makes me question his status as the go-to writer for the Sith.
    Last edited by CT-867-5309, Feb 2, 2013
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  9. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I had trouble slogging through some of the prose even as someone who likes political intrigue. I had that same issue with Cloak of Deception.

    I liked Plagueis as the wealthy businessman who focuses on Naboo as a place to build his financial empire and milk more profit, and starts out by essentially buying the rulers there. Maybe I'm a cynic but I see far too many real-world parallels here. I also liked the idea that he was a good enough strategist to decide that the Sith would take over again, but in a way that the Jedi would never expect, by infiltrating the political system of the Republic. And he was able to sniff out Palpatine, the college student with the brilliant political mind, heavy resentments towards his family, and cynicism towards those currently in power on Naboo, and use him for his own ends.

    I really disliked the mad scientist angle with Venamis; the manipulating midichlorians to create life concept is one that I try to excise from my brain when I watch the PT anyway, and I couldn't really tell what the hell Plagueis was trying to do there: create life from cells in test tubes? Keep people alive when they are an inch from death--and if so, to what end? Keep himself alive?

    On Palpatine--I thought his character was done really well; I felt sorry for him in a couple of places but for the most part he really creeped me out, which I think is the intention. I wish Luceno had pursued why Palpatine only went by his last name though; I assume Lucas himself would have to give Palpatine a first name but that question was still left hanging. His Sith training by Plagueis was really horrifying, with Plagueis making him tell the story over and over again of how he killed his family; leads me to wonder if Palpatine did the same to Anakin, made him retell over and over how he killed the younglings in the Temple and the Separatists on Mustafar until he became as callous to the idea of killing as Vader was in ANH.

    To me the best part of this novel was how arrogant Plagueis was and how Palpatine out-manipulated him and beat him at his own game every step of the way. The appearance of Maul was one of those, with Palpatine secretly training him as a full Sith while pretending in front of Plagueis that he was only training him as an assassin.

    One of the best scenes, one in which I was LMAO, was the one with Dooku, Sifo-Dyas, and Qui-Gon, in which Qui-Gon embarrassed the hell out of Dooku by talking back to Plagueis. And the later scene when Plagueis went into completely ape**** panic mode upon learning that Qui-Gon had found the "Chosen One," and ordering Qui-Gon killed immediately, was also fantastic, as was Palpatine's reaction to that news: 'WTF? He spent the night at my place last night and I didn't sense anything.'

    I know it was left ambiguous as to whether Plagueis "accidentally" created Anakin, but I'm very thankful that Luceno didn't go the route of having Plagueis sneaking into Shmi's hovel and putting some embryonic Anakin science experiment into her uterus. I was afraid that he would.

    Other background characters: Was King Veruna a ****head or what? Rude personality? Including the Hutts into his political circle? I had felt sorry for him for getting assassinated before I read this novel but no more.

    Padme's parents running the Refugee Relief Movement: that was no surprise. It's too bad that they were so immune to Palpatine's manipulations but that's true of nearly every character in the next 40 years of the timeline. I thought it was creepy, although not surprising, that Palpatine almost singlehandedly manipulated Padme's ascension to the throne of Naboo.

    Ronhar Kim: I didn't think he gave a very good impression of the Jedi, made them look cold, and I felt sorry for his father.

    The ending: Maybe I'm a jerk but I thought it was hilarious. All that arrogance from Plagueis, his assumption that Palpatine was still under his thumb and that he would be Palpatine's Vice Chancellor and continue to tell him what to do behind the scenes--and Palpatine gets him completely wasted and then kills him. Dude, if you're familiar with the Sith Rule of Two, you might want to watch the alcohol consumption around your apprentice.

    Taking off one point for the prose and two points for the mad scientist angle. 7/10
    Charlemagne19 and Iron_lord like this.
  10. Zane the Reaper Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 1
    Reading this right now - 1st EU I've read in ages. LOVE IT and can't wait to come back to this thread to see what everyone else thinks, and to throw my two cents in. Thread followed. :)
  11. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

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    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
  12. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    star 7
    Average score: 424.12/46 = 9.22
  13. aalagartassle SWC Senate Chief of State

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    Jan 11, 2011
    star 4
    whoops, fogot to score. 9.5 out of 10
  14. darklordoftech Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 30, 2012
    star 5
    I just loved learning about Palpatine's backstory.
  15. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 433.62/47 = 9.23
  16. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    8 of 10 from me


    I like this book a lot which is a feat considering it is only about Force Users, but Luceon has such an awesome collection of diverse side characters and breaths lots of life into the world, the sad thing only is he overdoes it, especially with how much influence the Banking Clan is supposed to have, also it is somewhat takes away from the kind of genius at manipulation Palpatine is supposed to be that his Master was the one with the actual plan. Also this book is long, really long and a lot of it, like in Millennium Falcon is short stories that relate very little to the actually story.
  17. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    star 7
    Average score: 441.62/48 = 9.20
  18. Granek Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2012
    star 1
    9.5/10 this is a perfect a SW novel as there is! What I did like was Plagueis, throughout the novel I wanted Plagueis to live and Plapatine to be the one that died! Palpy's character came off as Haden as Anakin! The fact that Palpatine killed Plagueis like a pussy-cat and sucka was a direct affront to Banes rule of Two!
    Throughout the novel I felt it was Plagueis that was the more skilled, more powerful. Granted this is I hindsight since the movies were out but if Palpatine had kept from killing Plagueis the Rebellion never even starts, and/or perhaps he gets Anakin to kill him. I just would have given Palpatine more credit had he bested Plagueis ala Bane vs Zannah.

    The end were Palpatine states he did everything seem to be thrown in there so not to make Palpatine look too inept. When the novel switched to Palpatine POV he seems whinny and unsure of himself, perhaps that why he like Vader so much! Hahah!

    I for one HOPE Hego's character manages to stick around I the EU or perhaps films. Outside of Obi-Wan, Luke, Saba and Ben Skywalker my favorite SW character! Easily the most likable Sith Lord, Bane withstanding.
    VanishingReality likes this.
  19. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    star 7
    Average score: 451.12/49 = 9.21
  20. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

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    Jun 29, 2003
    star 6
    Havman, I don't typically review books, but I have a sudden urge to make a made dash through every single one of the old Lit Review threads and throw out grades. Just so you can obsessively compulse over the scoring.
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  21. VanishingReality Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2013
    star 3
    I give it a 8/10.

    Favorite parts: Everything Darth Plagueis says/does. I totally love that Muun. On top of being completely adorable, he's also badass. Vs Venamis was awesome, especially Plagueis' lines. "You've come a long way to challenge me, 'Darth'. Make a worthy effort!" I also loved Plagueis calling out Palaptine's faked 'remorse' for his family's death.

    I think Plagueis various flaws, added to his character. Like his naively wanting to get rid of the rule of two, accidentally causing the Force itself to backlash in his need to meddle, having social problems and only associating with his droid, having the split second of indecision that allowed him to be caught by the Maladians. It helped paint a powerful being that was still fallible.

    Least Favorite Parts: That Plagueis had to die. WHY must this happen to all my favorite characters. I agree that his death just seemed anti-climatic and out of nowhere, although that could be an ironic way to reference Darth Sidious' demise.


    Also, there were various missed moments of awesome, like the two Sith being in the same room as Jorus Cao'both, I was hoping to see that interaction- maybe hint that they turned him to the dark side, but nothing came of it. It bugged me when they don't really explain why the 'Force' tells Plagueis not to use Jabba instead of Maul, despite establishing that Plagueis pretty much owns Jabba and by extension Tattooine. The entire ending just seemed rushed to me.
  22. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    star 7
    Average score: 459.12/50 = 9.18
  23. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    “Reflect back on even the past few years-assuming you have the capacity. Yincorr, Dorvalla, Eriadu, Maul, the Nemoidians, Naboo, and army of clones, the fallen Jedi Dooku...You think these were your ideas, when in fact they were mine”

    This scene, essentially the real finale of the book, is something that the story lives or dies with as a whole. It reminds me of the film the Usual Suspects where Verbal strings along the police investigator with half truths and fiction, hiding beneath his assumed form. Then we learn where Verbal was gathering his story from and boom, a shocking good plot twist presents itself in a brilliant manner and everyone smiles.

    Palpatine in Darth Plagueis reminds me of that film, without the twist of the office full of information to have the story make sense. The entire novel positions itself for that moment, everything is building towards that conclusion - and in the end it falls flat on its face.

    Palpatine tells Plagueis his list of manipulative moves as he readies to kill his former master - but very little that Palpatine lists off matches up with the POV’s and narrative of the novel in any way, shape or form. One can go back through the novel and check them off. Yincorr was Plagueis, Trade Federation was Plagueis, Naboo was Plagueis. Army of clones? Plagueis. Dooku? Plagueis. All Darth Plagueis.

    The book, despite Palpatine’s inaccurate ramblings at the end, ends up being a love letter to the brilliance of Darth Plagueis and the oppurtunism of Darth Sidious. Yes, Palpatine is responsible for the failure that is Darth Maul - great bit for a resume there. Past that I can’t really single out an accomplishment he makes - something that was his and his alone.

    Ultimately that is what kills the novel for me. It takes everything that we may have assumed Palpatine has done and tells us that really he had very little to do with any of it, other than being more or less in the right place at the right time.

    The continuity work in the book is great as always with Luceno, to a point where I have to question if there wasn’t maybe a little bit too much continuity and dot connecting that came at the expense of the story. The cameos are endless, from Ko Sai to Qui Gon Jinn, to Sate Pestage - but how important was it really that we saw all these characters? How did having Dooku in the book add to the overall story other than giving us a slight look behind the scenes? Did we really need scenes between Palpatine & Anakin here when the film gave us all we needed to see?

    Also the idea that Plagueis was still around all through Episode 1, all of its comics and novels and such - that is almost a disservice to continuity. We needed Plagueis dead in 52 bby, not 32 bby. I would have liked to have the novel show us that Palpatine did something besides steal ideas and take credit for things he really didn’t accomplish.

    There are decent moments, particularly in the first third of the book, but they read more like an essential guide would than a novel should. Plagueis and his creepy horror show type experimentation are some of the best moments, characteristics that really make him stand apart from the other modern Sith we know. I like Plagueis’s backstory from Mygeeto to Muunilinst and even his planned meeting with Palpatine. Once the first act ends, while it still may be an excellent collections of snapshots of the galaxy, and some of the key players of that era, there just really isn’t enough there to give me any fondness towards this book.


    3/10
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  24. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    star 7
    Average score: 462.12/51 = 9.06
  25. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    "Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the dark side, he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying."
    ―Palpatine.

    This mysterious reference made during Revenge of the Sith is the basis for the novel which I just finished. Despite the title, however, the novel isn't really about Darth Plagueis. It's, instead, as close as we're going to get for an Emperor Palpatine biography. It tells us where he came from, what his goals were, and how he became corrupted to the Dark Side.

    As always, James Luceno is a master of interweaving the Star Wars Expanded Universe into the narrative in such a way as to not overwhelm new readers. Someone who has never picked up a Star Wars book in their life could read and enjoy Darth Plagueis.

    One interesting element of the book is that Darth Plagueis continues to exist alongside Palpatine long after you'd think the later would have killed him. Indeed, at the risk of spoilers, Plagueis' fate as revealed in Revenge of the Sith doesn't occur until right before the beginning of the movies. This means Darth Maul existed very clearly in violation of the Rule of Two. The book addresses this but not in a manner I like. I'll cover more on that later.

    Overall, I liked this novel. It's interesting to get into the heads of other Sith and it's nice to meet one who isn't pure malevolence all the time. James Luceno does an excellent job of making Darth Plagueis evil while making it clear he's not nearly in the same league of evil as his apprentice. Indeed, Darth Plagueis has the dream of ending the Rule of Two because he thinks it's idiotic and wasteful.

    Palpatine, by contrast, is pretty much what I imagine what Damien Thorne from the Omen movies would be if he grew up in the Star Wars universe. He's a high-functioning psychopath who Darth Plagueis nurtures and molds into something infinitely more dangerous than himself. There's references to the Sith'ari prophecy and I'm inclined to believe that while Darth Bane destroyed the Sith to make them stronger, it was Darth Sidious who transcended all limits.

    The treatment of Darth Maul is one I'm not fond of, however. James Luceno has an obvious disdain for the Dark Lord and the book refers to him as a False Apprentice. Darth Maul is repeatedly criticized by Sidious and Plagueis as being a mindless brute with no subtlety. There's even an enormous take-that at his previous appearance in Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter. It's kind of shocking after The Clone Wars depicts Maul as every bit as intelligent as a Sith Lord should be and twice as manipulative. I think I prefer The Clone Wars version, to be honest.

    I'm also not too fond of Count Dooku's depiction in Darth Plagueis. Contrary to the idea he was a good Jedi knight and political idealist corrupted to the Dark Side by Darth Sidious, Dooku more or less corrupts himself in this book. He's eager to learn about the Dark Side, dismissive of its dangers, and all-too-eager to tear down the Republic with war. His comments about the newly-found Chosen One are particularly dismissive but reference an obscure bit of lore found in the Star Wars D20 tabletop game.

    The meat of the books is the Old Republic's politics and Darth Sidious' manipulations. Plagueis is no slouch in this department but I give kudos to Luceno for showing the difference in skill level between two masters. Darth Sidious' finest moment is when he's causally having lunch with a colleague only to watch him discover his entire family has been killed. All just so Sidious could gain a minor boost to his plans.

    I also appreciated how Darth Sidious and Plagueis were retconned into being responsible for a number of the more questionable aspects of the Prequel's storytelling. How does a Jedi Master get enough money to pay for a clone army? How does a fourteen-year-old girl get to be elected head of a planetary government? Luceno also makes the issue of trade taxation and how they relate to blockading Naboo crystal clear.

    Darth Plagueis' experiments with the midiclorians encompass a reasonable part of the book, though Luceno takes time to separate them from the Force's mysticism. We also get a semi-answer as to the nature of Anakin Skywalker's divine birth, which I won't spoil here. I'll call it satisfying and leave it at that. There's only so much you can do with a premise which is, simply put, deeply flawed.

    In conclusion, I really liked Darth Plagueis and recommend Star Wars fans pick it up. Sadly, I'll say that the book is a little dry at times and watching the villains pull puppet strings can be a little boring. I'm pleased with my purchase, though, and think any diehard Star Wars fans will love it.

    9.5/10
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