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

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

  1. DarthStymi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2002
    star 3
    I'm pretty much in agreement with the general consensus of the awesomeness of this read. I really enjoyed it. One of the better Star Wars books in a long time. Not sure if it has broken into my top 5 SW books of all time, but this was fantastic.

    I did, however, did not feel the story about Plagueis in itself, as presented in this book, was that great. The book, and Plagueis, became much better when Palps was introduced into the fold--into the "regular" narrative that is since Sidious was present from the get go.

    For me, Plagueis was most interesting in relation to Sidious and how he fit in to the larger picture of the "creation" of Sidious and his ascendancy. I also enjoyed their speculations, banter, and insight into the nature of the Force and the Dark Side.

    Luceno also did a fantastic job of filling in gaps and pulling from other EU and movie sources to help make things fit better and make more sense. Not an easy task. But doing so tended to involve a lot of exposition at the expense of story. That being said, Luceno did a really fine job of marrying exposition and story--they flowed well into each other (the prequels, for example, did not balance story and exposition very well).

    But I think the readers really wanted those gaps filled, so the exposition was appropriate.

    I too liked, as was surprised, how long Plagueis was around after the start of TPM. The was pretty cool...a great t=unexpected twist even. And so much better crafted than, say, the "big revelation" in TFU in regards to Starkillers family crest.

    I also have to take issue with what seemed to come out of nowhere in when Palps killed Plagueis. Of course we all knew this was coming. But when Palps finally did it, he revealed that doing so was his plan all along. And that did not seem to be the case throughout the entirety book--even when the book delved solely into Sidous's POV.

    I'm not a Luceno gusher like most tend to be around here. He has some BIG misses for me. His writing can feel too flowery, wordy, and overdone at times. But I have really enjoyed his more recent stuff. His writing seems more streamlined to me lately.

    In any case, as I said, a great read (or rather, listen since I audiobooked it), which was a relief given how disappointing Revan was.

    A book where I wanted the story to continue--whereas in Revan I just wanted it to end, so I could read something better.

    9.5/10
  2. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 315.1/33 = 9.55
  3. Sniper_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2002
    star 4
    I'll give this a 7.5/10. Luceno has made considerable growth as a writer with this novel and Millennium Falcon. I did not particularly care for Plagueis still living during TPM, and I always did prefer the possibility that Palpatine was simply feeding Anakin a line of crap in ROTS, but I enjoyed the novel for what it was.
  4. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 322.6/34 = 9.49
  5. pronker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 28, 2007
    star 3
    Liked the science especially, and the nods to practically every EU thread; it's a grand book on a grand scale for the saga, therefore

    9/10
  6. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    I loved this book as I was reading it, & glad I waited to review it.

    Now that I've seen its impact, not loving it so much. TPM doesn't need him, the last 20 years could have easily been halved. Pestage should have saved Plagueis alone after the canted circle attack with the old dark lord finishing them with his last burst. Sidious should have killed him as he was nearing a full regenerative, midi-enabled recovery in his sleep. Still keep all the force experiments, the out of body deal, just move em up to right before the Coruscant-slaughter.

    I don't like the changes to Darth Maul either.
    The tats no longer ID him as Sith, so the lack of a secret persona is nothing more than lack of creativity. That he was dropped in Palpatine's lap, makes it even more terrible. Reducing him to #3, as a Sith Warrior/ Assassin was absurd.

    Fun 2/3 initially, total disconnect for me after the fact, with the timing of part three.

    6/10

    Edit:
    Gripes aside, this was the best SW that I've ever read.
    Were it not canon, I'd give it a perfect score.
  7. darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    star 5
    Really? Palpatine needed Plagueis around until he was Chancellor. It wouldn't make any sense to kill him then, when he hasn't even gotten the full use out of his Master yet.
  8. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    Before this book came out, he didn't need Plagueis for anything of the sort.
    Sidious effectively became his own master, after the crushed circle.

    Besides, I'd rather have the non force users like Page, KD, and that dude that Jello's been ranting about, be more responsible for his nefarious political rise than his master. Perhaps I should have only read it once, then it would still seem almost perfect.




  9. darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    star 5
    Yeah okay, but even in the book it's still like that. Palpatine has Plagueis there only for his money. He just needs him and his money long enough to be Chancellor.
  10. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    I don't think we can blame Luceno for that, though. Luceno has to accept the Maul retcons more or less at gunpoint just like the rest of us.
  11. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Well, that score was unexpected, given how much you seemed to love the book.

    I've argued a lot, though, that Maul hasn't been reduced to another assassin/warrior. I'm also bothered by the idea that a lot of Palpatine's plans seemed to have originated with Plagueis, but I actually choose to believe him; that he was manipulating Plagueis, and that Plagueis ended up just like Tyranus, essentially a pawn.
  12. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    True.


    THIS ->[image=http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n107/SithStarSlayer/SellMoreMaulStuff.jpg]
    Is not Luceno's fault.
  13. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    9.7/10

    Great novel, but a few flaws. A lot was great about this book, but to keep this short, I'm just sticking to the flaws.

    The events during and around Episode I seemed to be rushed through, and Hego Damask did seem deluded that he would become co-chancellor. He was better-positioned to take Dooku's eventual role, as leader of the Separatists.

    I also wish we saw more of Plagueis's experiments and the mystical side, especially when Plagueis/Sidious unbalanced the Force, killed/resurrected/killed/resurrected/killed Venamis, and then when Plagueis reached out in the Force to create a Forceful being. But I heard that Luceno didn't cover this because it's about to be covered somewhere else, so I guess it isn't really a flaw.

    There should also have been more focus on Plagueis before he began looking for an apprentice, as the solitary Dark Lord. The beginning seemed to focus too much on his immediate escape from Bal'demnic.

    I like reading about politics, even Star Wars politics, but even I was confused by some of the political machinations going on throughout the book.

    General comments: I wonder if Plagueis may show up again, I'm not 100% convinced he's finished. Am I right in thinking that Santhe Security was behind the death of Tenebrous? Senator Pax Teem from Malastare said that many had waited a long time for revenge upon Damask, and the displeasure of some of "them" goes back even further, to hating Damask and his ally Rugess Nome. I also don't believe that Palpatine wanted to kill Plagueis from the start, or was putting every idea inside his head, many times we see Palpatine briefly flirting with but ruling out betraying his master, and Plagueis was definitely behind the manipulation of Sifo-Dyas and making Dooku an ally as well as the Kamino-grown Clone Army.

    Plagueis is a remarkable creation, a fully-rounded character that's now fully-grounded in the EU. And Sidious has finally been fleshed-out, but not diminished. This is Luceno's masterpiece.
  14. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    I'm pretty conflicted about this novel. On one hand, it's the most engrossing Star Wars book I have ever read. The detail that saturated every page was nothing less than extraordinary, and Luceno's grasp on his characters was spot-on. However, there were several gripes I had with the book that caused my rating to go down considerably. It mostly stems from the fact that Sidious' role is diminished. Sure, he is behind the events we see in the PT, but Plagueis was the one behind outline of the Grand Plan. I'm not blaming this on Luceno, since we were told the day the book was announced that George Lucas had a large amount of input, but it bothered me nonetheless.

    The other main thing that bothered me was the lack of focus on Plagueis' experients. While the political sections were pure gold, the power over life and death that Palpatine alluded to in ROTS were what got me truly excited for the novel. I really would have liked maybe ten or fifteen more pages dedicated to Plagueis' developing powers, since they were what kept him interesting during the seven years we went without a backstory for him.

    Overall I really enjoyed this novel, but I'm not a fan of the implications is had on the Saga as a whole. I'd give it a 6.5/10.
  15. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    Nice to see I wasn't alone....
  16. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Perhaps I'm in denial, or simply an apologist, but I had those exact same gripes... but in my typical fashion, was able to retcon and twist them enough to where I really enjoyed them :)

    I just love the idea of Plagueis, despite his power over life and death, becoming nothing more than a pawn in the grand scheme of things, just like Dooku. Even if it wasn't Luceno's intent, I like to give Palpatine more of the credit.

    Of course, I couldn't agree more about wanting to see more of the "mystical" side of Plagueis. I really loved the one scene we got of Plagueis training Palpatine as well, wish we would have seen more.
  17. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    A book is only as good as the reader's desire to have more of it.

  18. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    In that case, Revan is one of the greatest SW books :p. Although in that case, I just wish more had been put in. For Plagueis, it already feels complete, but I would have liked even more.
  19. Shepherd492 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2011
    star 1
  20. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 363.5/39 = 9.32
  21. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

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    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    James Luceno undertook an impossible task when he set out to write the story of Darth Plagueis the Wise. It was so impossible that he wasn't even able to finish, since the novel was cancelled due to restrictions on continuity. Thankfully those restrictions were either overlooked or dropped and he was able to write the novel again. What has resulted from this is an intricate look into the mastermind behind everything we see in the prequel saga and how he met his end at the hands of the original super evil mastermind, Palpatine.

    My main expectation going into this was that it would contain many revelations about Plagueis, Palpatine and the Sith Order in general, and it certainly did not disappoint. I liked every bit about the origins of Hego Damask (and I'm pretty sure that last name is a pun) and how he both trained under Darth Tenebrous and was transformed into an influential businessman by Nome. But with Tenebrous out of the way he must find a worthy heir to the Sith legacy. I liked his attempts at recruiting potential apprentices, especially that one guy he told to prove his worth by defeating some Jedi, only to get completely owned. I liked how Plagueis realistically influenced future events like the Yinchorri uprising and the relationship between Naboo and the Trade Federation. I found Damask's interactions with Sifo-Dyas interesting, same with Palpatine and Dooku. I also liked how at one point Damask Holdings is referred to a clandestine organization, which makes it feasible that there would be little surviving knowledge about Damask and his influence on galactic affairs as early as the crisis on Naboo. I've always wondered how there weren't any self-proclaimed non-Bane Sith during the 1000-32 year span, so I was greatly satisfied with Luceno's explanation that Plagueis and other Banite Sith always made sure to take care of any other self-proclaimed Sith and/or remnants of older Sith orders. I also liked how Luceno addressed the issue of Anakin's birth. Plagueis did not create him, but the Force only did so as to counter Plagueis and his efforts to further control midi-chlorians. Speaking of which I got a mad scientist vibe from Plagueis at times when he wasn't being a businessman. His experiments were very sithly and indeed revolved around mastering death.

    Palpatine has always been considered a sacred cow of sorts when discussing his origins, since fans are wary of shedding light on characters with mysterious pasts, such as what happened with Vader and Boba Fett. Yet Luceno kept very true to the spirit of Palpatine when fleshing out his background. I actually think the explanation behind Palpatine's name and why it is what it is is pretty funny and tongue-in-cheek. I also thought the discussion of deformed faces and raspy voices humorous. I liked how Palps was pretty much a regular teenager, though rebellious slightly cold and calculating and showed early practices of manipulation. Initially he just sees a life in politics as means to an end but I think he gradually learns to like it as he becomes more adept at it. I also saw a contrast between Palpatine and Plagueis in terms of how they went about putting the Grand Plan in motion. Palps is content to move in the shadows and bend others to his will, while Plagueis takes a more active role; he and 11-4D always seem to be up and about for the first two thirds of the novel, until he is attacked and confines himself to his studies more than his political machinations. With Palpatine on the rise and Damask on the fall it is pretty clear how the novel will end. Palpatine comes to the realization that he can initiate the Grand Plan without his master, and can effectively absorb all of Plagueis' resources once he is dead. Interesting that the text mentions that Plagueis has stopped sleeping, so it actually makes sense that Palpatine can put him to sleep so easily and then kill him.

    In essence this novel is like the Darth Bane trilogy in one book, with the three parts corresponding to three books. It's also interesting that the title of each part relates not to Plaguei
  22. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    (slightly trimmed repost of my comments from the DP thread)

    Well, alright, finally finished this one. I had devoured the first two sections pretty quickly upon release, but only had time to nibble my way through the final section due to RL time constraints. But, finally finished.

    And, well, this is a damn masterpiece for the EU. I am amazed at how well it has brought together the various pre-TPM standalone stories into a singular plan/arc (and not just the obvious ones like COD & DM:SH, but even stuff like Acts of War). And, later in the book, it's awesome to not only get the other side of certain conversations and scenes, but also events that were off-screen/between the scenes in TPM itself.

    From an EU perspective, you also get some delicious nerdgasms when you get the bearers of key names in the future Empire gathered in one place: Sienar, Tarkin, Pestage, Kinman, etc. Also when developing history only suggested previously (such as Ronhar Kim) and tying in new stuff (the Yinchori & clone army)

    The book even ties in old SW draft theories that were had for the prequels, such as Palpatine's first name being Cos (as in Cos Dashit)- even though here it's actually his father's name, but, still, we ended up with Cos Palpatine. [face_laugh]

    Also interesting that Luceno effectively wrote the forging of the Seppie alliances here and in COD, but also wrote Mace Windu's dissessembly/investigation of them in LOE.


    As someone who was very much against developing Palpatine's backstory, I'm actually mostly pleased with what was done here: the vast majority of Palpatine's "screentime" is his political rise, which is in fitting with what we already knew.

    I'm less enthusiastic about the whole House Palpatine familycide "I hate my father and my father hates me" subplot, which seems a little too simple/cliched. But, it's over fast enough, and leads to the far more interesting scenes of Plagueis and Palpatine discussing it's aftermath.


    Other than that, I'm still baffled by Luceno's sudden thesaurus orgy- it's interesting at times, but since it's not tied to a specific POV, it feels a little out of place given how it connects with other works that don't go so far with their vocabulary, and I think that might be discouraging to some readers (particularly younger ones) and make a more difficult barrier for thme to overcome to experience this key entry in the EU.

    It's not insurmountable but just a little overkill, I suppose.

    Also, it has the odd future POV of the prose that speaks of events far beyond TPM which (when combined with the broad span of time it covers and the number of other stories it summarizes/spoils) adds up to a more confusing "where do I out it on the shelf" timeline question, as I brought up a few weeks ago earlier in this thread.

    Still, wow. 9.9/10.0
  23. Kaje Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2005
    star 4
    It seemed to me that Plagueis had a lot of ideas that ended up not working out, and that Sidious was the one to reshuffle them and unite them into a cohesive plan.

    That part gave me the biggest nerdgasm of all. Especially since I suspect li'l Palpy had the same name as his father.
  24. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 383.15/41 = 9.35
  25. Darth_Kiryan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2009
    star 4
    Yeah, i kinda expected that as well, considering he decided to just go only with the "cognomen alone", and as he hated his father, and his father him, its not hard to believe that he would disuse it.