How Vader got his groove back

  • Dec 23, 2010
is a tough act to follow, especially Matt Stover's excellent adaptation of Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. James Luceno's Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader delivers a mixed bag. It is interesting to observe Jedi adjusting to the aftermath of Order 66. I like how Master Roan Shryne is torn between the Jedi and trying to return to a civilian life. It's an interesting struggle, one not fully explo. There's a mix of reactions as the survivors find that they're alone in the universe, with surprising leadership from a young padawan.

The sections dealing with Vader seem demeaning at first, almost as if he were an awkward teenager in his new suit. Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader briefly shows us a Vader consumed by pity and lacking confidence. However, the story explores how he transformed from the devastated man after Mustafar to the fearsome dark lord. It's a fairly compressed but plausible character development (I suspect in real life Vader's transformation would have played out over years, not weeks). I particularly appreciated how the Imperial officers at this time aren't quite sure whether Vader is superior to the military officers or not (one officer calls him "Admiral Vader" by accident).

There were a few points I think were off. Luceno implies that the Emperor manipulated Vader so much that he even brought Padme and Anakin together, which seems like a stretch. If that is indeed what happened, it would completely eliminate any choice Anakin Skywalker had in turning to the dark side. There are also a few too many "close calls," such as Vader seeing Leia through a holoscreen but being too distracted to enquire further. It's hard to believe such a near miss occurred only a few weeks after Vader's conversion to the Dark Side.

Overall, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader is still a pretty good installment in the Darth Vader story, but feels like more of a denouement than a climax. However, rather than getting this book, I'd recommend just getting the Star Wars: The Dark Lord Trilogy, which includes Labyrinth of Evil and the novelization of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, since they're all meant to be read together anyways.

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Dominic J Nardi ()
I am a recent law school grad with an interest in Southeast Asia legal issues. Unfortunately for my checkbook, ever since high school I have been addicted to good books. I have eclectic tastes, although … more
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Author: James Luceno
Publisher: DEL REY BOOKS

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