Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
Copyright: 2005, Del Rey (338 pages)
Series: Star Wars Expanded Universe
Sensuality: Er, no.
Violence: Comparable to what was seen in the movies.
Era: Empire, 19 years Before the Battle of Yavin (A New Hope)
Summary: Several Jedi, survivors of Order 66, band together to find others like themselves as they elude Imperial agents, including the mysterious Lord Vader.
Comments: Overall, I enjoyed this book. I read it rather quickly. In fact, I was surprised a few times when I saw the number of pages I had covered in what felt like no time at all.
Like his previous prequel novels, Luceno does a great job with Palpatine/Sidious. I’ve always liked how Luceno handles the master manipulator. Unfortunately, Sidious wasn’t in the book as much as I would have liked. As for Darth Vader, we see him trying to adjust to his new role. He’s coming to realize that his Sith apprenticeship isn’t going the way he’d thought it would, and he doesn’t like being seen as nothing more than the Emperor’s errand boy. We’re used to a Vader who is feared, even at the mere mentioning of his name. It was interesting to see reactions that were akin to “Who?” and blank looks.
However, Vader’s not really the main character. Instead, the novel focuses on a group of Jedi, led by Roan Shryne, who survive Order 66. While it was interesting to see how ordinary, in-the-field Jedi coped with what happened back on Coruscant — and what they were going to do with themselves now that they are all fugitives — I really wasn’t that interested in the characters themselves.
Besides Sidious and Vader’s parts in the book, I was still able to enjoy it because we do spend time with other familiar faces. Bail Organa, who knows a great deal more than the movie implies, must tread carefully now that he is guardian to such an important child. Mon Mothma is pressing for immediate action, while things are still in transition, but Bail knows that the time isn’t right. We take a trip to Alderaan, too. Baby Leia and the droids make an appearance and, as usual, R2-D2 and C-3PO provide some comic relief. We also get to spend some time with Chewbacca and the Wookies.
“I love the new look.”
“I got tired of wearing brown.”
— Cash Garrulan, Roan Shryne
“A librarian with the Force. . . Very dangerous combination.”
— Gayn, regarding Olee Starstone
“Never a good feeling when you’re tricked by an appliance.”
— Archyr, regarding R2-D2
Started: 5 November 2007
Finished: 12 November 2007