Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Darth Plagueis

I'm a sucker for Star Wars books, especially when they branch out into the ancillary characters and plots. For example, tonight I spotted a book called Into the Void, a book about the first Jedi and I immediately sat up and decided I had to read it someday. So when I saw a book called Darth Plagueis, which tells the story of Darth Sidious's master. I figured there'd be a good chance that we'd finally learn the story of Palpatine himself., something that I've been curious about for a while. I actually had an idea about that a few years back. So how did James Luceno do?

Well, it was okay.

The story picks up as Darth Plagueis kills his master, Darth Tenebrous. By doing so, he becomes the Sith Master in need of an apprentice. After all, a thousand years before the original Star Wars trilogy, the Sith Lord Darth Bane crafted his Rule of Two: there will only be two Sith, one to embody the power, the other to crave it. Plagueis finally settles on a young noble from Naboo named Palpatine. He is surprised at how powerful Palpatine is in the Force.

Plagueis realizes that Palpatine can help him achieve his fondest wish: Palpatine will be the one to control the Galactic Republic, and he will be the power behind the throne once he has figured out how to achieve immortality through the dark side. And so we go on a journey through darkness as Plagueis and Sidious position themselves and their forces to topple the Jedi and bring about the rule of the Sith.

On paper, this should be a fun story. And, in some ways, it is. Luceno dangles some interesting tidbits about what the Sith have done to prepare for their revenge. And it was interesting to watch as Plagueis teaches Sidious the secrets of the dark side. But in the end, this book dragged a bit. Plagueis is a little too fond of long speeches. And what seems to be the most important event in the story is glossed over in its entirety. Kind of disappointing.

The one positive I'll say is that this book does help unpack some of the dense and strange backstory of Episode I. I can honestly say I understand it a little better now. And that's not too bad.

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