This novel got to me in a way that I didn't think a novel could; let alone a Star Wars novel; let alone a Star Wars novel based on one of the movies;let alone a Star Wars novel based on one of the PREQUEL movies.
The sole reason I purchased this book was on account of Matthew Stover's name being attached to it. I had recently jumped back into Star Wars novels thanks to his book, SHATTERPOINT. Up until then, as I've mentioned before, I had only perceived the Star Wars line of books to be marketable pieces of fanfiction (no thanks to previous experiences). But thanks to Stover, I came to believe in Star Wars again. He showed that there can be some ruthlessness in that realm, and that there is some room in the Expanded Universe for deep, philosophical musings about the ever-present clash between light and dark.
I found that book just shy of a five-star rating because of a few gratuitous action scenes and some hang-ups I had with character development and pacing.
His novelization of REVENGE OF THE SITH, however, not only came to fully deserve a five-star rating, but also developed to become one of the best, if not THE best, novels I've ever read. Again, I realize how silly that might sound: that a novelization of a Star Wars movie could accomplish such a thing. But I couldn't be more sure of it, because this novel is more than a mere interpretation of a screenplay, it serves the core-story to an extent that if I had read this book before seeing Episode III for the first time, I probably would have felt cheated by the amount of content that had all but disappeared in translation.
I don't think I have to recap the story as, essentially, the main story-arc remains the same as the movie. But as I said, it expands on this to an insane degree. Characters, like Count Dooku, who really only seemed evil for the sake of evil, now have motive, fears, ambition. Every turn of emotion and every betrayal seems more devastating because of this exposition. Even Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, who we've followed through three movies, seem almost alien as we completely rediscover who they are, what motivates them, and exactly how close they were to each other. The pair actually feel as though they're brothers-in-arms here, not the squabbling pair they came off as on film.
Some scenes are extended and pack more of a punch. One particular addition that I was mesmerized by came just before Palpatine reveals his true identity as Darth Sidious, where he tells a troubled Anakin that he can give him anything he wants in the galaxy. Anakin playfully begins naming off anything from an expensive speeder to an entire star system, and Palpatine, without hesitation, grants all of these things purely to prove a point. Scenes like this worked so well on paper that I haven't the foggiest why they didn't make an appearance in the movie.
And, yes, I would certainly say this book is better than the movie it's based upon. It goes so far as to transcend the Star Wars canon itself, providing such entrancing moral dilemmas and philosophical thoughts that, at some points, these thoughts leap off the page and make you wonder their context within our own universe: the frail divide between good and evil, relativity, and giving in to tradition.
Again, this is a Star Wars book.
I must also mention the writing, because Stover has a natural gift for making the reader feel what his characters are feeling. He tells this story from many points of view so that this vast story is properly covered, and he tells it all with the exuberance of a narrator of a tragic play. He allows you to see through the eyes of the characters, and takes you aside to really point out key moments in their lives. And when the end comes, and Darth Vader dons his trademark armor for the first time, there is no "Hey, look, it's Darth Vader!" moment, there's only the pity and sadness for a boy that you've come to know and care for who had flown too close to the sun. And he sums it all up perfectly in a way where you come to understand Vader so much more intensely:
"This is what it's like to be Anakin Skywalker, forever."
I must fiercely recommend this to any Star Wars or Stover fan. The way this book reads, it's as if you've missed out on half of the movie--the good parts--and you will come to know some of your favorite characters in a way that you didn't think possible. [SPOILER]: Mace Windu's death will actually shock you! Yeah! And if you've read SHATTERPOINT, it will most certainly sadden you.
I have two more Stover/Star Wars novels left to go. Here's hoping he doesn't stray too far from that universe, because it's in desperate need of him. May the Force be with us all.
on April 2, 2005
This is how it feels to be Anakin Skywalker:
The Hero With No Fear is what he's called, but it isn't true. Fear is his constant companion. He fears for those he loves, especially his secret wife, Padme Amidala. Dark secrets are revealed and loyalties are pushed to the breaking point. His love and dreams are falling apart before his eyes. No longer does he feel he can trust those he's considered his closest friends. He isn't even sure anymore the side he has been fighting for in the Clone War is the right side.
Revenge of the Sith doesn't start out very dark, with lively banter between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi, but as it progressed I found it to be the darkest, saddest, definitely the most emotional Star Wars book I've ever read. It was obviously one of the more difficult books to write but I think Matthew Stover did an excellent job.
As a hardcore Star Wars fan I found everything I would want in this book: the greatest lightsaber duals ever dreamed up; enough built up suspense to drive a person nuts; an in-depth look at all the characters in the book, from the small role of Count Dooku to the Sith Lord, Darth Sidious; and a climax to end all climaxes. However, I do think that a Star Wars fan of any level could enjoy it and won't become very confused if they haven't read all the book between Episode II and III.
As the story opens, Readers already finds themselves in a space battle. Chancellor Palpatine has been kidnapped by Count Dooku and the hybrid known as General Grievous. The planet Coruscant is in distress, knowing that Palpatine is the very foundation upon which the Republic rests. Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to the rescue via one of their most breathtaking adventures yet.
Relations between the Jedi Council and the Chancellor are now stressed. The Jedi Council has always been directed by the Senate. But Palpatine is arranging it so he has direct control of the Jedi Council instead. Once accomplished, Anakin is asked by Palpatine to accept a post on the Jedi Council as his personal representative. Anakin may be thrilled, but the Jedi Council has kept Anakin off before now for very good reasons.
Anakin and Senator Padmé Amidala have been secretly married for a couple years now. Jedi are not allowed to have attachments, so marriage is not allowed. It is only a matter of time before Padmé's pregnancy will show. Anakin and Padmé have yet to decide what they will do once their secret is known. Worse still, Anakin views a future where Padmé dies on an alien table during child birth. He becomes totally obsessed with making certain the vision does NOT come to pass. Anakin's worry for Padmé's life is not the only tension he has. Palpatine wants Anakin to virtually spy for him on the Jedi Council and the Council flat out orders him, but "off the record", to spy on the Chancellor for them!
Of course, Readers already know that Palpatine planned many, many years ago, for all this to happen. Palpatine also knows that the Jedi Council is hot on the trail of locating the identity of the hidden Sith Lord. Before they learn that the Sith Lord is Palpatine, he must convince Anakin to betray the Jedi Order and become his dark apprentice. To do so, Palpatine will offer Anakin his heart's desire; immortality and the dark power to keep his wife from dying during child birth. Anakin will face his hardest choice ever. Will he save Padmé? Or betray and destroy the entire Jedi Order?
***** It will be difficult to place this novel on the big screen. The beginning will be full of breathtaking special effects. The middle will be filled with political strife and Anakin's temper tantrums. (I apologize, but there is absolutely no other way to put Anakin's emotions.) The climatic ending, however, will have a huge impact on the Reader and promises to be the most memorable scene EVER for Star Wars fans. I highly recommend reading this book BEFORE going to see the movie at the end of May 2005. If the book of Episode III is anything like Episode II, then the people that reads this novel before seeing it all unfold on the big screen will understand a whole lot more of what is going on and why things are happening a certain way. By reading first, you understand why Anakin chooses what he does at the end. Whether you agree with his reasoning or not, you will understand. Also, there will be scenes omitted from the movie version, just as some humorous parts and what could have been awesome special effects were deleted from the second episode.
Whether you read this novel or not, buy it. You can bet money that this novel will become and remain part of the most unique and original sci-fi saga ever created! This novel is not to be missed! *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
on May 27, 2005
If you've seen the movie or haven't yet, you still need to get the book. Simply because the movie lacks too much detail to really fully understand and appreciate the storyline.
What needs to be known is that the movie is not an exact visualisation of this book and you'll find quite a lot of inconsistencies throughtout the story. Doesn't matter, because the point of reading through this book is to provide points of view from key characters and also explain certain events leading up to the dialogue / scenes from the movie.
Don't think about getting this. Just GET IT. Although the movie was good, it can never give you the complete illustration of how great the movie can really be. Perfect companion to the movie.
on June 30, 2005
Matt Stover's script adaptation for the final Star Wars prequel is simply outstanding. Even though Stover's novel is based on Lucas' script, you'd almost think that it was the other way around, this is so good.
There are an incredible number of great quotes in the book that "coulda, shoulda" been used in the film. I read this novel before seeing the film, and quite frankly, it was better than the film (which I nonetheless enjoyed). For instance, in the latter part of the film, when Obi-Wan Kenobi faces General Grievous one-on-one, Grievous taunts Kenobi by telling him that he had been trained in Jedi skills by Count Dooku himself. In the film, they progress directly into combat. But in Stover's novel, we hear Kenobi respond to Grievous with the following: "Isn't that a coincidence? I trained the man who killed him." The film clearly would have benefited from Stover's excellent use of wit, in this instance.
Stover's personal background in the martial arts also deeply informs that novel. He is able to give extended discussions of the various moves in the multiple light saber duels that are found in both the novel and the film itself. Though we see them visually in the film, we UNDERSTAND them through Stover's writing. To give an example of Stover's incisive phraseology: When Mace Windu is engaged in heated battle with the Sith Lord Sidious, Stover treats us to the sense of desperation, of finality, that Windu is experiencing. As Windu ramps up his attack, shedding all fear and dangerously tapping into his own passions to gain strength (remember, this use of emotion is a potential "no-no" for a Jedi, as opposed to a Sith, who relies on his emotions to sustain him), Stover describes the action (at the end of a paragraph, as a concluding effect) as thus: "Mace Windu was cutting loose". This was fantastic phrasing, given the context, and painted an indelible picture in my mind of the battle, before I actually visually saw the duel in the theater.
The fact of the matter is, Stover's novel is more than great Star Wars storytelling-it is just great sci-fi, period. Even though I've already read the novel and seen the film, I recently felt compelled to pick up the audiobook for the novel, just for one more go-round with it!
A must-read for all Star Wars fans, and a strong recommendation for even just sci-fi readers generally.
on August 28, 2006
I'm only going to mention a couple of things. Both the novel and the film have been out long enough that I don't see any real reason to go back over a synopsis of the story.
Once freed of a film's running time Stover could really take his time fleshing out issues that the movie was forced to speed through. For example, he made it clear as day why tension had mounted between the Jedi and Palpatine, and the current political climate on Courasant.
The relationship between Anakin and Palpatine is explored much more then in the movie. In the scene when Palpatine revealed himself to Anakin, Palpatine's emphasis on his right to live and his prediction that the Jedi would kill him on the spot for his religious beliefs, I found, much more effective then in the film. From what I recall, the film focused more on trying to save Amadala from her predicted demise.
I thought that the effect Anakin's visions were having on him were much better explained then in the movie. The novel, basically, had Anakin terrified to rest and exhausted from sleep depravation. This worked in that when the climatic battle between Windu and Palpatine came to a head, Anakin (who, at that point, was nothing short of delerious from exhustion) obviously wasn't thinking clearly.
I loved the way that the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan developed. It was very well illustrated that Anakin was always using Obi-Wan as his emotional anchor and when removed of that, just how easily he could be manipulated by someone Anakin saw as never having lied to him.
The only thing that I wound up dinging the novel for was the Wookies role and Yoda's escape. It's virtually missing, as if someone just accidentally edited it out. It was really bizarre that it was just ... not there.
Outstanding book though, as much as I liked the film, the book is significantly better.
on May 23, 2005
I gave this book the highest rating because it is one of the best of its kind. This is definitely one of the best novelizations of a movie I have ever read. I read it before viewing the film and it added depth to characters and motivations to their actions that were hard to find in the movie. This story fills in most of the plot gaps between Star Wars 1 and 2 and The New Hope.
I won't recap the plot, but here are some highlights.
This book clarifies how Anakin's fear of loss (of his wife Padme) drove him from one bad decision to the next and eventually into the position of apprentice to Darth Sidious, Sith Lord. A primary teaching of the Jedi is to release attachment to things and people, for these attachments cause weakness and distraction. Anakin will no-doubt become the textbook example in the next Jedi school.
How can 1 Sith (and his apprentice) outwit and eliminate the Jedi? The Jedi had become complacent in their teachings and practices. Too late, Yoda realizes this and is forced (no pun intended) to retreat into hiding on Dagobah (where we find him in The Empire Strikes Back).
How does democracy fall? With cheering and applause, according to Padme Amadala, as the Chancellor maneuvers, lies and schemes his way into position as Emperor. <SOAPBOX ON> The Clone Wars serves the same purpose as the 9/11 attack in making people WANT to surrender their rights - a la the Patriot Act <SOAPBOX OFF>. Watch as Palpatine outwits everyone, including the 900-year-old Yoda.
The writing is well done and I loved the layout and approach the author takes.
Read this books before you see the movie. Read it after. Or read it while you watch it.
I'm no major "Star Wars" fan, but I have seen all of the movies and even picked up a few of the books. I saw "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" and wasn't wowed by it, but I thought it was a decent, enjoyable movie. After seeing some of the acclaim for the novelization, however, I decided to definitely give it a read --- I love movie novelizations.
Although I know of course it couldn't be possible, I do call this the book on which the movie should have been based. This is a thrilling and compelling adaptation of the true final saga in the "Star Wars" series. Matthew Stover gets right into the heart of the story and the characters. Throughout the book, you'll find his compelling and detailed descriptions of the characters --- their emotions, their place in the story at that time, their relations with others and much more.
The action scenes are great, but this book is at its best in the depictions of the characters and the relations. You'll learn many things you never knew or never picked up on before about Darth Sidious, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and many of the other characters you've come to know through Episodes I-III (and in Kenobi's [and I suppose Anakin's] case, the other Episodes as well.) Matthew Stover writes about these characters with such depth that one would almost believe, if they didn't know better, that he created them. You'll relive all the drama, the highs and lows of the movie and feel more satisfied with the plot than you ever were before.
I'd even go so far as too say that even someone who's never been a fan of "Star Wars" before could enjoy this novelization. As for myself, I'll definitely be seeking more of Matthew Stover's work.
Edit --- Audiobook on CD Review
Hmm, apparently you're only allowed one review per "set," so now I'm adding in my review for the audibook version on CD as of November 6, 2005:
Wow, and I Thought the Written *Book* Was Great
This is the audiobook adaptation of Matthew Stover's version of "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" on CD. The story it contains is powerful and strong, written by a master writer.
No doubt, you would be listening to a great story even if this were a normal audiobook production. However, following up on the great example set by the book, the people at Books on Tape who put this together have gone the extra mile. There's stuff on here I never expected --- musical scores from the movie, sound effects including light-saber humming and astromech whistling, full surround sound and other audio elements for a truly immersive experience. Pretty much all audiobooks I've heard before have been pretty much just a straight read-out-loud, with maybe some music at the beginning and end. For this to have all of this totally blew me away.
Of course, I couldn't do this review without complimenting the excellent talents of Jonathan Davis. One thing this audiobook does not have is a "full cast" like some audiobooks these days, but it doesn't need it. Jonathan Davis is everyone, from Padme Amidala, to Yoda, to Kenobi and to Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader, dark lord of the Sith. And he's also the surround-sound voice of that whispering dragon in Anakin's ear --- "All things die, Anakin. Even stars burn out."
Even if you've read the book, or seen the movie, you haven't yet fully experienced the story until you've listened to this. Get a hold of the audiobook on CD (or tape --- but I don't know if the tape production is quite as good) and relive the story once again.
on April 12, 2005
First of all, let me tell you a little about myself. I am an avid reader, however in the past four years I have been in college and haven't gotten to physically read very many books. Therefore I have turned to the UNABRIDGED audio books for the books that I really want to read.
I have hundreds of these audio books personally including the majority of the Star Wars Audio Books. Out of all of the audio books I have listened to in my life, this has got to be in the top two.
This audiobook is read very nicely and it is easy to understand the person who is reading it. The story itself is really great. It takes place a few years after Episode II: Attack of the Clones and about 20 years before A New Hope (aka Star Wars 1977). It tells about the fall of Anakin Skywalker to the darkside of the force as well as the Fall of the Republic.
The thing I really enjoyed about this presentation, is that first of all it is Unabridged. Then one of the biggest reasons I liked this audiobook, is because it incorporates sound effects and music from the Star Wars movies. Including blaster fire, John Williams' score, lightsabre sounds. The reader also uses different voices for each of the characters. Some of these voices are also enhanced by the computer generated sounds for example General Grievous sounds very much like a cyborg. The voices for Anakin and Obi-Wan are very close to those of the actors portraying them in the movies.
If you are thinking about buying the audiobook of Revenge of the Sith, I would tell you the best set to buy would be the unabridged edition it has little areas which are most likely not in the movie that helps to explain other portions of the plot.
Thank You For Reading My Revue!
on November 7, 2015
The novelization of Revenge of the Sith is without a doubt the most well-written Star Wars book I have ever read (and I’ve read nearly a hundred). I’m not even a huge fan of the prequel films. But from the first page to the last, I savored Stover’s version of an extremely dramatic and tragic series of events in the Star Wars universe. He had me writing down memorable quotes, fighting back tears, and completely tuning out the real world until I had finished reading–and I already knew the ending!
Readers like myself attempt to describe the beauty of this novel, but we cannot do it justice. But to put it simply, Stover hasn’t just written a good Star Wars book; he’s crafted an experience. He draws in the readers, helping us identify and sympathize with Anakin. The novel allows you to view scenes from the film from different viewpoints, from the perspective of different characters, and through the lens of expert prose.
Books like this remind me why I enjoy Star Wars, reading, great storytelling, and even the English language. This novel speaks to the ideas of despair, hope, loyalty, manipulation, courage, and, of course, darkness and light. With Revenge of the Sith, Stover sets the standard for not only a great film novelization, but for an engaging Star Wars book. I fully plan on returning to this book regularly.