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Reviews Books The Lit Forum Reviews Special: LORDS OF THE SITH (spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by GrandAdmiralJello , Jun 25, 2015.

  1. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Nov 28, 2000
    Hi. By popular demand, here is the LOTS review thread. Please rate the book from 1 to 10 -- you are encouraged but are not required to include an explanation for your review.

    Also please do not review unless you've read the whole book. Thanks!
  2. SensationalSean

    SensationalSean Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2014
    Iron_lord likes this.
  3. Gorefiend

    Gorefiend Chosen One star 5

    Oct 23, 2004
    5 of 10 from me
  4. The Positive Fan

    The Positive Fan Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 19, 2015
    It had a good beat and I could dance to it, except for the ending which was so abrupt that I actually wondered if the publisher left out a couple chapters by mistake. If there's ever an "author's cut" that adds a chapter or two to actually wrap up all the subplots, I'd be happy to bump up my score, but as it stands, 7 out of 10 from me.
  5. smisk

    smisk Jedi Master star 2

    Feb 16, 2015
    I'd probably give it a 7/10. Enjoyed it overall but there were a few small things that bugged me.
  6. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 9

    Jul 19, 1999
    9/10 for me.

    Reasons being:

    Someone actually gave some serious thought to how to take out a Star Destroyer with bugger all resources and, even then, it takes all of it and is still intact!

    A truly sick master-student relationship between Sidious and Vader.

    That the plot is revealed as everyone acting according to the Design of Sheev. Even when they're off-page, Sidious and Vader still dictate or influence everybody else's moves and actions.

    A willingness to pose hard questions while knowing there is little in the way of easy answers to them.
  7. Sniper_Wolf

    Sniper_Wolf Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 26, 2002
    8/10. For a one shot where you know the outcome this was probably the best a writer can do. Random points of interest as I'm too lazy ramble on. :p.

    I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the three "master/apprentice" relationships: the titular characters, Dray/Mors, and Cham/Isval. Nice seeing the two apprentices fail in their subversions of the master compared to Vader in ROTJ.

    Mors was a complex enough queer character for the nEU. Glad to know I'm not the only non-hetero who has gained weight as I've aged and feel those pings in the morning.

    I like Kemp's writing. Good mix for Star Wars. Nice to see someone remember that writing for entertainment is not writing for crap.
  8. LordDlow

    LordDlow Jedi Knight star 1

    Jan 26, 2013
    6 out of 10

    Not the Palpatine/Vader Sith-centric novel I was really hoping it to be!!

    Palpatine seemed Aloft and more cryptic then normal.
    The Twileaks really weighted the book down and I really didn't give 2 Sheeves about them!!!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Lady_Misty likes this.
  9. Stymi

    Stymi Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 10, 2002
    The details are slipping my mind, which is not a good sign.

    I'm a fan of Kemp's SW books, so I was expecting it to be better.

    But it was good. I thought the second half much better.

  10. Gorefiend

    Gorefiend Chosen One star 5

    Oct 23, 2004
    57.5/8 = ~7.2
  11. spicer

    spicer Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 14, 2012
    I liked this book a lot, enjoyed the badassery by Vader and Palpatine, but to my surprise I actually enjoyed more the parts with the Ryloth freedom fighters. I like Kemps' writing style as well.

  12. Chris_Fives

    Chris_Fives Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 16, 2015

    The spider thing was too long.

    Other than that, great read!
  13. Ackbar's Fishsticks

    Ackbar's Fishsticks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 25, 2013

    Like Spicer, the proto-Rebel freedom fighters were my favorite part. Syndulla's moment where he turns the tables on Belkor was freaking awesome, reminded me of Gil Bastra and Kirtan Loor at the beginning of Rogue Squadron. They were a gem throughout the rest of the book as well. And exactly what I like to imagine the early groups that would eventually become the Rebel Alliance would be. I hope the group comes back.
    spicer likes this.
  14. Ackbar's Fishsticks

    Ackbar's Fishsticks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 25, 2013

    Like Spicer, the proto-Rebel freedom fighters were my favorite part. Syndulla's moment where he turns the tables on Belkor was freaking awesome, reminded me of Gil Bastra and Kirtan Loor at the beginning of Rogue Squadron. They were a gem throughout the rest of the book as well. And exactly what I like to imagine the early groups that would eventually become the Rebel Alliance would be. I hope the group comes back.
  15. Aphra

    Aphra Jedi Master star 2

    Feb 4, 2015
    My long review post is here, so I won't repeat myself. I'll just add a numerical value to my review: I give this book 8.5/10. Points deducted for the overlong lylek scenes and for the occasionally distracting writing.
  16. MistrX

    MistrX Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 20, 2006
    Definitely not what I expected, but a solid read nonetheless. Kemp hasn't always been the strongest Star Wars author, but I feel like here he has his best effort. There's balance in the story, not only focusing on Vader and Palpatine, but a number of factions involved in what becomes a chaotic day and pitched battle. Unlike some of his past efforts, none of the characters with POVs feel superfluous, even when they initially seem they might be so, and each gives a widely varying perspective on the plot and on the universe in general.

    Vader and the Emperor are, of course, the most familiar and there could have been little new we get from their scenes, all seen through Vader's masked eyes. There are some fascinating insights, though, as Vader struggles to suppress his past and focus on his anger and hatred, all while dealing with his seemingly omniscient master. There's a well done relationship here, where the two Sith Lords are at once a team on a level greater than all of existence around them as well as a leader and his subordinate. Whereas in the past, Palpatine too often seemed to be simply using and exploiting his damaged apprentice, forever disappointed that he failed to reach his potential, here we have more of that twisted teacher and student relationship, with Palpatine perhaps believing his apprentice could one day challenge him, even as he clearly has a great advantage. One of the strengths of their chapters is Vader's musings on just how much Palpatine knows and how much he may continue to manipulate Vader, whether the apprentice realizes it or not.

    It seems that most of our Sith-centric books require not quite as abominable protagonists, and in that regard Cham and Isval bring their own strengths to the story. Cham is very much what we remember, the leader and revolutionary fighting for his planet's freedom, though he's given new layers with his extortion of his Imperial contact and his repeated "freedom fighters, not terrorists" mantra. He's very much a good guy, though, and though the question isn't whether he'll succeed, I did enjoy seeing how much damage he would do, how close he would get to success, and just how far he might go.

    Which brings us to Isval, Cham's deadly, bitter right-hand woman and in some ways his darker reflection. With her we see someone who might just be willing to eliminate innocents to wipe out her targets, target medical personnel for being Imperial, and whose reason for doing so are at least understandable if not necessarily justifiable. She and Cham complement each other well, with the place they end up and journey to get there working for me with both of them.

    Belkor and Mors, too, have strong arcs heading on opposite trajectories, surprisingly but gratifyingly so in the latter's case.

    The book has issues, of course. The lylek scene went on a bit too long, particularly for a sequence we know isn't going to have any real lasting impact. There are long stretches where Vader and Palpatine aren't in the book that made me wonder why I'd signed up at all. Overall it's a strong read, but not necessarily a great one. There were times where knowing that ultimately the driving force behind the plot had to fail made the experience feel unnecessary, much more than previous books with similar foreknowledge (Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, for example).

    Not perfect, but pretty good. 7/10
    Aphra and Iron_lord like this.
  17. MistrX

    MistrX Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 20, 2006
    And this one:

    105.5/14 = 7.54
  18. Davak24

    Davak24 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 15, 2015

    By far my fave book in the so called "new canon." But I wished they did more chapters on Vader and Palpy.
  19. Aphra

    Aphra Jedi Master star 2

    Feb 4, 2015
    I think you counted Ackbar's Fishsticks' double-post, but with Davak24's post, 105.5/14 = 7.54 is the new average.

  20. MistrX

    MistrX Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 20, 2006

    Oops :oops:
  21. SilentGuy66

    SilentGuy66 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 1, 2014
    10/10 For the Vader scenes


    Knocking 5 points off for the annoying rebel scenes that take up much of the book

    Final Score 5/10
    Lady_Misty likes this.
  22. Todd the Jedi

    Todd the Jedi Mod and Loving Tyrant of SWTV, Lit, & Collecting star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Oct 16, 2008
    The Lords of the Sith. Just the mere mention of them strikes terror into the hearts of their enemies, and even some of their allies. But what happens when those powerful beings are completely cut off from the vast resources of their Empire? Paul Kemp seeks to answer that question with his latest foray into SW literature, as Darth Vader and the Emperor find themselves face to face with a small band of rebels, who have plenty of tricks up their sleeves as they try to take the two Sith down.

    I liked how the focus here was more on Cham Syndulla and his Free Ryloth movement than on the titular dark lords. It was cool to see such a concerted effort to take down the Empire years even before the Rebel Alliance was properly formed. And I liked how Cham was portrayed- he still had a lot of the ideals he had during the Clone Wars, but they’ve evolved as his enemies have evolved. His second-in-command, Isval, is a cool character as well. She acts as a foil to Cham in how she thinks their movement should act against the Empire. But their conflicts in ideology do not stop them from being an effective team, especially as they are presented with a rare chance to take out the two main men of the Empire.

    I definitely liked the action of the book. Kemp takes us on a wild ride, starting off with a bang as the Twi’leks board and sabotage Vader and Sheev’s Star Destroyer, moving to the hostile surface of Ryloth, where both the Sith Lords and the rebels face all sorts of crazy obstacles. But naturally these obstacles are nothing for two guys who metaphorically eat the Force for breakfast. It was a bit cathartic reading about Vader tearing through enemies like paper. On the other side of the spectrum, we see a good amount of the political atmosphere on Ryloth, and how one Imperial officer, Belkor Dray, manipulates the system to get ahead by using the Free Ryloth movement to justify certain actions. Of course, we eventually find out that it’s really Cham who holds all the cards in their dealings, and this bites Belkor in the ass, leading to his magnificent downfall by the end of the novel. We also get to know the local moff, a hedonistic do-nothing sort of leader, who nonetheless springs into action after the assault on the Star Destroyer, eventually showing just how she became a moff in the first place.

    We don’t see too much of Vader and Palpatine, but when we do we are treated to an intimate look at their relationship as master and apprentice. As Sith, their partnership hangs on a very delicate balance, and indeed Vader ponders more than once what it would be like for him to remove Palpatine from the equation. Ironically enough Vader gets more chances to kill Palpatine than the rebels do. But this is still relatively early in their partnership, and Vader is cunning enough to know that he needs Palpatine, just as Palpatine needs him. This really comes into play when they’re up against the fearsome Lyleks. We get to see the full potential of a working Sith partnership, as they fight together against a never-ending onslaught of Lyleks. It’s almost an allegory for the conflict with Cham’s rebels, as the Lyleks are really only trying to defend their home, even if it means fighting off assailants to the bitter end. And naturally, this is what happens at the end of the story, as Cham realises how futile an effort it was to try to kill the two Sith. This point is hammered in when Palpatine reveals how he plotted almost all the events that transpired on and above Ryloth, simply to test Vader’s mettle, with no care about the effects on the other parties involved. It’s the Sith’s way or the highway, so to speak.

    I give Lords of the Sith an 8.7 out of 10 for an exciting story with a good cast of both old and new characters.
    Maythe14thBeWithYou likes this.
  23. Lady_Misty

    Lady_Misty Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 21, 2007

    Parts of the books were strong but I don't feel like the book lived up to what it promised which was a story of Vader and the Emperor alone in enemy territory and having to survive by depending on each other and that Vader would question his place and taking over. Vader only thinks twice about letting Sidious die but dismisses the thoughts within seconds of thinking of it and admits so to his Master.

    I didn't care for the other character POVs and was frustrated by Cham's fall in intelligence. He went from being really smart and careful but he seems to lose it worse than Belkor did when his men and nature can't seem to kill two people. He seemed to also struggle with the mortality of what he was doing since he keeps telling himself he isn't a terrorist but a freedom fighter which was interesting. But there was one unforgivable bit: the fact that Hera isn't mentioned until practically the very end Cham never once thinks of how he's trying to free Ryloth so girls like Hera can be free.

    Mors's about face was hard to understand especially if she was in a Spice induced haze most of the time and how clear her head seemed to be. Belkor's descent into madness was fast and a little confusing.

    However the action scenes featuring Vader and later Sidious were interesting and easily the best parts of the book.
  24. beccatoria

    beccatoria Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 8, 2006
    I was pleasantly surprised by this novel, quite possibly because I read it (well, listened to the unabridged audio book) right after Tarkin. That was a novel that...did everything it needed to in a dry, sort of perfunctory way, but never really pulled together for me. Here we have a novel that's essentially doing the same thing - an early rebellion vs Vader novel, except this time it's the leader of the Rebels (Cham) that we have past history with instead of someone on Vader's side (Tarkin).

    But this novel? It's not my favourite, the characters aren't my favourite characters and I guess I just wasn't desperately looking for a novel that tackled this. Despite that I consistently found myself more interested in the characters and development of the plot than I thought I would be. I started the story leery of Mors, suspecting her to be a caricature, only to be pleasantly surprised by the way her story - and Dray's - took a much less predictable turn. She did not become likable or decent but she became interesting and something far more than a stereotype. Likewise, Dray's downward spiral was fascinating in an awful kind of way; I honestly wasn't sure how long he'd fall or for how far. As has been noted, the relationship is one of a number of morally complicated Master/Apprentice relationships throughout the novel - this one particularly interesting because neither party is what you could call a "good" human being. Mors probably comes out best as she is at least not turning traitor, but Dray's betrayal is in part motivated by her absolutely disgraceful prior behaviour.

    On the other hand, the line the Twi'lek rebels try to walk is...pretty well-drawn. Isval's behaviour is understandable but at times uncomfortable. She undoubtedly takes pleasure in others' pain, she acts out of revenge and Cham loves her but doesn't really know how to help. It's also interesting to watch Cham go from a position of assurance and confidence (a partial act on his part, but still how we, as readers, are introduced to him) when blackmailing Dray, to slowly questioning the depths of resources he's committed to this gambit.

    Finally, the action. I honestly found the structure fairly original. The way the entire novel was really structured around one single, extended battle, stretched from space engagement to atmospheric, to ground combat, to one-on-one confrontations, shedding resources on both sides, gave a real sense of scope and gravity to the endeavour. Even though it was clear, from the start, the rebels couldn't succeed, there was an element of exhilaration, or perhaps anxiety, in waiting to see how close they'd get.

    Yeah. It was a pretty cool book.

  25. jakobitis89

    jakobitis89 Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 27, 2015
    6/10. Given we knew all along both the title characters were guaranteed to survive it was nothing more than a study in failure by poor old Cham. And whilst it was pretty interesting seeing a Sith Apprenticeship actually operate I don't know if it really merited a whole novel whereby very little of ongoing significance actually happened.