Monday, July 10, 2006

Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader

I'm a sucker for Star Wars novels. I've got tons of them. The thing is, I have my favorite authors. If the book is written by Stackpole, Zahn, or Allston, I'm there in a heartbeat. The others, I can take or leave. But I decided to take a chance with Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader to see how James Luceno continued Vader's story after Episode III concluded. I especially wanted to see if Luceno could erase Vader's ridiculous temper tantrum from my mind.

For the most part, he did. Luceno presented what might be called a "bridge version" of Vader, showing his first few halting steps from newly fallen Anakin Skywalker to the menacing Dark Lord of the Sith we meet at the beginning of A New Hope.

The story itself revolves around a small group of Jedi who manage to survive the infamous Order 66 that wiped out the rest of the Order. It also deals extensively with Vader's transition to life inside the suit. I think Luceno did an excellent job portraying Vader's confusion and outright frustration with his new situation.

There were a few things that bugged me, mostly because I'm a continuity man . For example, the first time that Vader fights in the suit, Luceno describes it as awkward and difficult since the cybernetic parts aren't graceful. At the end of the book, when Vader fights again, he's suddenly become more graceful. This makes little sense to me since nowhere in the book did Luceno say that the parts got upgraded or Anakin became more used to them.

All in all, though, this was a pretty good book. I'm glad to have read it. Luceno's not entering the constellation that Stackpole, Zahn, and Allston occupy, but he's definitely someone I would read again.

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