The JC Lit Reviews Special: DARK LORD: THE RISE OF DARTH VADER (spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Mastadge, Oct 31, 2005.

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  1. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    And in a rare turn of events, a SW novel comes out in the UK before the US. But out it is, so here's the review thread for Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno.

    You know how it works: rate Dark Lord on a scale of 1 to 10, supplementing your rating with a review if you feel like it. But please do not rate the book until after you've read the whole thing. Thank you.

    Links to previous threads:

    Republic Commando: Hard Contact, by Karen Traviss - 9.26 (53)
    Shatterpoint, by Matthew Stover - 8.79 (78)
    The Cestus Deception, by Steven Barnes - 7.63 (70)
    Medstar I: Battle Surgeons, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry - 8.14 (65)
    Medstar II: Jedi Healer, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry - 7.70 (57)
    Jedi Trial, by David Sherman and Dan Cragg - 6.13 (62)
    Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, by Sean Stewart - 8.92 (84)
    Labyrinth of Evil, by James Luceno - 9.04 (64)
    Revenge of the Sith, by Matthew Stover - 9.52 (71)
    Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine, by Veronica Whitney-Robinson - 6.13 (17)
    Tatooine Ghost, by Troy Denning - 8.65 (40)
    Survivor's Quest, by Timothy Zahn - 8.23 (49)
    Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream, by Aaron Allston - 9.18 (52)
    Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand, by Aaron Allston - 8.43 (48)
    Traitor, by Matthew Stover - 8.92 (99)
    Destiny's Way, by Walter Jon Williams - 8.12 (69)
    Force Heretic I: Remnant, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix - 8.05 (64)
    Force Heretic II: Refugee, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix - 7.56 (37)
    Force Heretic III: Reunion, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix - 7.42 (34)
    The Final Prophecy, by Greg Keyes - 7.84 (58)
    The Unifying Force, by James Luceno - 9.13 (76)
    Dark Nest I: The Joiner King, by Troy Denning - 8.07 (93)
    Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen, by Troy Denning - 7.89 (74)
  2. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I see this thread's a huge hit so far.
  3. Alixen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2003
    star 4
    9/10

    For some reason this book gave me a real SW feel, much like the movies.

    There were points i feared that it was slowing down, or Vader would be portrayed as a weakling.

    My fears were unfounded :D

    Much like Shatterpoint and DR this was a book i couldnt put down :D
  4. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Damn, was watching for this thread and missed it...Intially at any rate.

    It continues to be a source of mystery that DR can be so lacking in the post-ROTJ EU yet so often excel where the earlier eras are concerned, it's as if they work much better with restricted space than a wide open canvas. Dark Lord is a case in point, in essence it can't do much you'd think. Vader's bad, Sidious rules, the Empire's in existence, the Jedi are gone, Obi-Wan's on Tattooine, the kids are hidden, the Death Star's under construction, what's to tell?

    What's to tell is the story of how the Empire goes about establishing itself, the story of how Vader learns to wield the dark side and the relationship between the two Sith, the recognition by surviving Jedi there is no point in continuing to fight openly and what to do instead.

    The truly odd thing about the novel, apart from it being surprisingly good, is that a lot of the points made and the plot developments shown are all things that were already in existence in the SW EU, albeit implicitly. The use of Wookiees on the Death Star project - so how did they acquire them? Answer: Empire conquered Kashyyyk. How does Vader overcome his disabilities? He uses the darkside. How come there are so many new ship types already around? Older info on SW such as the Technical Journal told how the Empire rose with advanced technology not seen before. Tarkin and Vaer's relationship on the Death Star in ANH exists at prior meetings? Here we see the start of their partnership. The nature of Vader to Anakin? Obi-Wan's conversation with Qui-Gon establishes this.What Dark Lord does is make these and other points explicit in a well-constructed story that clearly establishes the galaxy of the Empire.

    If SW EU exists to build and expand upon the films, then Dark Lord is an excellent example of it. All that remains is for Reaves and Perry to continue exploring this dark new world in their Coruscant Nights books.

    9/10

    Why not 10/10? Brilliant as it is, it is hindered by the restrictions, despite its skilful navigation around them as much as possible. Luceno also drops in all manner of names that will be familar to fans: Pestage, Armand Isard, Bel Iblis yet all are well-inserted, none appear gratuitous. Easily one of the best SW EU books in ages.

    JB
  5. sithreaper Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2004
    star 3
    Spoilers

    The gist of the story

    Basically this is to clear up any loose ends from Revenge of the sith & to show Vaders mindset after he is placed in the suit.


    The good =

    Well we find out the fate of four major characters Fang Zar (who meets his end in one of the coolest parts of the book when Vader apparently well out of range throws his lightsaber at him),
    Captain Appo of the 501st (who loses his head to the jedi Roan during the enslavement of Kashyyyk), Tarfull (who is captured & enslaved) & Chewie who manages to escape his home world with the remaining jedi.

    Theirs a lot of Vader action (he hacks up wookies left right & center, takes care of Fang Zar, kills four jedi knights, wounds two padawans & two agricorps workers).

    The final duel between Vader & Roan is good, as we see how far Vader has fallen in terms of lightsaber technique (he is struck with numerous glancing blows) but the power of the darkside leads him to victory.

    The change in Vader prospective throughout the book is done well, he starts the book as a beaten man who cant believe how far he has fallen, by the end of the book however Vader has truly embraced the darkside & is planning to find an apprentice & kill Palpatine (which is what palpatine wants).

    Palpatines trying to make the best out of a bad situation & get vader to stop felling sorry for himself is good.

    Bail Organa + Obi Wans discovering that Anakin has survived is priceless
    Obi Wans first conversation with Qui Gon (QGJ ensures Kenobi that Vader will near return to Tatooine as the planet has caused him too much pain)

    Bail Organas close call were vader nearly meets Leia.

    The enslavement of Kashyyyk, with palpatine allowing some jedi to travel to the planet so he can claim the wookies were aiding the jedi, the wookies are of course been rounded up as slaves to help in the building of the new death star.

    Tarkin & Vaders first meeting + Tarkin asking Palpatine to lend him Vaders services to help oversea the construction of the death star.

    Vader telling a dying Roan what happened to the jedi.

    The Bad =

    The rest of it, the jedi & the crew were boring & their escape was boring & their attempt to find other survivors was boring. There was far to much computer slicing going on, Jedi Knight Roan meeting his mother had no real baring on the story, the clone troopers under Commander Climber were interesting but Vader soon dealt with them & sadly padawan Starstone and her crippled colleagues escaped which means we will have to see them again.

    Summary

    There a lot of golden material to be found in this book but you will have to get through a lot of boring non-eventful sections to get to them

    Rating 7/10

  6. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 3 ratings: 25/3 = 8.33
  7. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Anyone else read it yet?
  8. DVader316 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2000
    star 7
    First AFFC comes out in the UK before the US and now Dark Lord ?? What's happening to the world I knew ?? :_|

    Sorry, Mas. Couldnt resist. :p
  9. DamonD Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2002
    star 6
    Picked it up on my lunch break (my local book store is really shocking me, first it got The Unseen Queen in right on release and now this) but I only got through the first section...about 38 pages or so.

    No use at all in terms of a review or score, but hey...you know I'm at least working on it :p
  10. DamonD Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2002
    star 6
    I'll give it an 8/10.

    The parts with the Jedi did kinda drag a little bit, and it's a hard thing for the author to build up and emotional connection with the side characters when you've only got 300-odd pages in which to do it. Shryne and Starstone were done well, the other Jedi didn't have enough time to be interesting.

    The main spotlight is on Vader, and I thought Luceno covered him really well. It was made very clear just how royally screwed up he is physically, and mentally he's having obvious problems adjusting. I was particularly reminded of a line from the OT Visual Dictionery, where it described how some Imperial officers viewed Vader as 'mad human wreckage'...you could see how someone could easily lose their mind in the situation Anakin finds himself. It shows a phenomenal strength of mind on his part, and perhaps even gives insight into how he's almost a split personality. Anakin is forgotten about, while Vader's life as the book says 'is just beginning'. He's beginning to appreciate the value of fear and power over other beings, and increasing strength in the Dark Side. Sidious' thoughts and role in all this was also interesting.

    Furthermore, it really fit well with a post-ROTS viewing. A 'what happened next' with Palpatine and people like Bail, and even Kenobi right at the end. It's also a very easy read...I sometimes found 'Cloak of Deception' to be a bit slow and obscure in places, but 'The Unifying Force' really moved along for me and this one was the same. I managed to polish it off over a couple of nights.

    So, yeah...8/10. A good read, I would've liked even more in fact. The gap between ROTS and ANH can be a real goldmine if it's handled right, and this book does.
  11. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 4 ratings: 33/4 = 8.25
  12. dakinJmacwalker Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 15, 2005
    star 1
    WAIT WAIT WAIT

    its out in the UK already??

    if so you guys are the luckiest people in the galaxy far far away :)
  13. dakinJmacwalker Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 15, 2005
    star 1
    also MUST resist reading the SPOILERS!!!!!

    i feel like Anakin sitting all alone in the Jedi Council chamber making that fatal decision [face_thinking]
  14. DamonD Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2002
    star 6
    Yup, avoid the nasty spoilereses.

    Just read it again. Like I said, it's a very easy read...you can zip through it. But I definitely would've loved another 100-200 pages from this.
  15. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    How does it compare to Labyrinth and Cloak? What does the senate say about enslaving Kashyyyk?
  16. DamonD Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2002
    star 6
    I still haven't been able to pick up a copy of Labyrinth... :(
    I thought it was better than Cloak. The pacing was much better, even if it didn't have that twist ending.

    I don't think the Senate's reaction to Kashyyyk is shown...but, there's a scene very early on where Palpatine gets all the head honcho Senate members into his chamber (now complete with actual throne!) and basically reads them all the riot act. About how he'll listen to their opinions and take them on board, but in the end his decision is final.

    So, even if they don't like it, they're jolly well gonna have to lump it.
  17. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Anyone else read it yet?
  18. Commander5052 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2005
    star 4
    I haven't read it yet, but i could have sworn that Appo was killed by Zett Jukassa. And he's a Commander.
    I've heard of a Commander Salvo and now a Commander Climber. WHo are these two new CCs? What units do they command?
  19. Sarg_Kulo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2004
    star 4
    Can anyone in the UK link me to an internet site where I can buy it? Play doesn't seem to have and I'm hesitant to shop at Amazon after what happened to my Aunie.

    Anyway, can't wait to get this book. [face_dancing]
  20. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Amazon UK's always delivered my books quite quickly.
  21. Leto II Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2000
    star 6
    Haven't yet gotten the book myself, but from what the Last of the Jedi books state, the post-EP3 Senate was essentially transformed into Palpatine's Polite-Applause-and-Tea-Sipping-Society, passing through Imperial policy with handwavium ad nauseum.
  22. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Well I've bought loads of stuff from the US and never had any trouble, no reason why it shouldn't work in reverse.

    JB
  23. Riin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2000
    star 1
    I don't know what happened to you, but I have only had positive experiences with Amazon. Actually, this order is a great example - the dustcover of Dark Lord was glued to the package, and the other book in the order fell out somewhere underway. Not good, but 12 hours after I wrote to Amazon, they had a replacement order sent out, and I don't even have to send the copy of 'Dark Lord' back - they suggested donating it for charity... Anyone feeling like having one free copy of Dark Lord, without dustcover and with a scratch? It has to be in Europe, as I don't have Paypal, and I don't know how else I could get the transport money refunded. If it is within Europe, I can pay for the transport :).

    Anyway, that was slightly off-topic.

    It is a great book, and I give it 8/10. I agree with a lot of the things that have been said - the only parts I didn't dig was the noname Jedi - Starstone and Shryne were good, but all the others was just a blur to me (okay, so I was focusing on getting to the chapters with Vader...). But aside from those, I really liked the book. A worthy end to the unofficial trilogy.

    Does anyone know where the train stops next, chronologically speaking?
  24. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting ratings: 41/5 = 8.2
  25. DamonD Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2002
    star 6
    I haven't read the Last of the Jedi books, but yes...that's pretty much how Palpatine lays it out for them. Feel free to tell me anything you like, any objections, you name it...so long as you realise I'll ignore it if I want and my decision is final.
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