Before I progress any further with this review allow me to apologize for my absence. I have only just completed my master thesis, and though I like writing about Science Fiction my study does take precedence. But fear not, after May 19th I will be finished with that part of my life and then I can focus on SF, and my busy professional life as a data scientist!
Lords of the Sith Review
Lords of the Sith is one of the few novels recently released to set the stage for this falls’ The Force Awakens. However, after reading it I think it should be considered just a part of the non-canon Expanded Universe because it doesn’t show anything that wasn’t known before. From a certain point of view, if I may use a quote from Obi-Wan, that is this novels biggest flaw. Paul S. Kemp is a gifted writer, he doesn’t write a word too much nor does he hurry through the plot, but it does feel as if he had to contend with a hundred LucasFilm lawyers who weren’t keen to set anything in stone after the Expanded Universe was ditched.
Lords of the Sith takes place around 8 years after the conclusion of the Clone Wars. Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine travel to planet Ryloth to quell an uprising. Palpatine doesn’t use his Sith name, Sidious, because he doesn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention. Once above Ryloth their Star Destroyer is attacked by rebel Twi’leks. Though Darth Vader seems to suspect that Palpatine knows everything that is about to unfold. Palpatine doesn’t hide he has a purpose for allowing the attacks to unfold. At the end of the story he has successfully extinguished the remaining ghosts of Vader, ensuring his continued loyalty. Sadly, despite just one reference to the Sith rule-of-two there is no little background reference given to their dark cult. There is in fact no mention of Darth Bane who instituted the rule-of-two. Near the end of the novel, Palpatine and Vader go by the name of Krataa and Irluuk (Death and Fate) when they approach a Twi’lek village, but that is it. Despite some interesting dialogue between Darth Vader and Palpatine I have to conclude that Lords of the Sith simply fails to live up to its title.
What is also strange is that most of story isn’t about Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. Instead, Twi’lek freedom fighters such as Cham and Isval and their attempts to ambush the Sith form the core. Other characters such as Moff Mors and Colonel Belkors are important secondary characters, leaving just a small part of the 280 pages to Master and Apprentice. Cham and Isval are to a certain degree aware Darth Vader’s powers, but their ambush planning doesn’t seem to take much account of this. This novel is thus certainly no Day Of The Jackal and because the ending is never in doubt, as that would contradict events of Return Of The Jedi, it feels in many ways superfluous to the entire Star Wars mythology. That said, without spoiling anything, one of the rebel Twi’leks manages to escape the carnage of the last 20 pages and thus set the seed for the later Rebel Alliance. That would have been a better premise to start with.
Lords of The Sith isn’t a bad Star Wars novel. It’s just rather light and superfluous when it comes to actual story telling. In fact we learn more about Twi’lek culture than we do about Sith culture. It feels as though this novel was written long before J.J. Abrams decided to film The Force Awakens. It doesn’t contradict anything of the Expanded Universe and it seems to fit better there than with the rebooted franchise. Paul S. Kemp delivers an OK novel, just not a brilliant one and I decide to blame that on the lawyers. This was Lords of the Sith Review, I hope you enjoyed reading it. Sadly, the giveaway copy of Lords of the Sith has already been sent to Darth David. But you can still join the Poseidon’s Wake contest.
Score; 7 / 10. A superfluous Star Wars outing, its rather light reading I am afraid.
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