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Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader (Star Wars) Mass Market Paperback – June 27, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 247 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Force is still to be reckoned with, primarily because Darth Vader continues to be one of the most fascinating dark pop icons since Dracula. Picking up where Matthew Stover's Revenge of the Sith (2005) left off, Luceno (Labyrinth of Evil) delivers exciting battle scenes and brave characters, including the beloved Wookie, Chewbacca. His ease with Star Wars techno-jargon is admirable. What's needed in this intermittently entertaining installment is a better opponent for Vader. Unfortunately, Yoda, the spiritual heart of the saga, appears to be in hiding. Instead, Luceno focuses on Jedi knight Roan Shryne; his Padawan sidekick, Olee Starstone; and other survivors of Emperor Palpatine's Jedi extermination. All appear to be earnest, if pale, imitations of Obi-Wan Kenobi. And where's Han Solo, far older than the Skywalker twins? Why can't Vader sense his twins' existence with his vaunted supernatural abilities? Too often the sympathetic Vader wallows in self-pity. Thankfully, exuberantly evil Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) returns with more power lessons Vader laps up eagerly: "Where the Jedi gained power through understanding, the Sith gain understanding through power."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Picking up where the last Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith, ended,Dark Lord chronicles Anakin Skywalker's emotional transition from angry young Jedi to cold, ruthless Darth Vader. The novel opens on the planet Murkhana, hours before the clone troopers are given the order to turn on the Jedi and slaughter them. Jedi Master Roan Shryne and Padawan Olee Starstone escape death and manage to get off the planet, but not before getting a glimpse of the deadly Darth Vader, the new Sith lord who is the emperor's new right-hand man. But the former Anakin Skywalker is still filled with anger and resentment over what he perceives as the betrayal of his wife and his former mentor. As Sidious and Vader work to destroy the remains of the republic, Shryne and Starstone set out to rescue the remaining Jedi, who are spread out throughout the galaxy. Now that all three Star Wars prequel movies are out, expect plenty more novels along the lines of this gripping, fast-paced story. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Star Wars
  • Mass Market Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345477332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345477330
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Bongiorno on November 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
James Luceno's brilliant sequel to Revenge of the Sith manages to not only complete the saga of Anakin's descent into Darth Vader, but create a dynamic, moving portrait of loss and acceptance in a galaxy turned suddenly upside down.

Jedi Knight, Roan Shryne, has all but abandoned his faith in the Force in the wake of the tragic events of Order 66. He finds little solace in his companion, a plucky young Padawan who has grand plans of saving the remnant of Jedi. En route, he discovers something even more disturbing, a chance to give up life as a Jedi and start over as an ordinary man.

Darth Vader is also undergoing a crisis of faith, unable to move on past the deceit and betrayal of his masters (both Obi Wan and Sidious) and to forge for himself a reason for being other than as yet another pawn for Palpy. But the dark plans of Sidious have only just begun as the Sith Lord prods and pushes Vader into situations that will trigger the chrsalysis of rage, a pathway to the true power of the dark side. His machinations will team Vader up with the newest emergent power, an Imperial Moff, who's overarching designs will mean the enslavement of a nation and the means of fueling life into the Empire's emerging superweapon, the Death Star.

Luceno builds a story filled with pathos, horror and intriguing insights into the minds of Darths Vader and Sidious. Numerous long-standing questions are answered along the way as we're enmeshed in the moral dilemma of a galaxy that's lost its way: a Clone Commando who will not obey Order 66, a politician who risks all to secretly undermine the Empire, a young Padawan that learns -- too late -- the price of blind obedience to duty, a race of fierce beings who will fight at all costs a losing battle against tyranny, and the former Chosen One who learns that he needs the Jedi still to grow into the agent of evil he's chosen to become.
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Format: Hardcover
In Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader James Luceno tells an excellent story that I very much enjoyed reading. He takes us from immediately after Revenge of the Sith through Darth Vader's formative stages in his new role as the enforcer for Darth Sidious. Along the way Vader deals with some Jedi who escaped Order 66, and he establishes himself as an extremely powerful force in the Empire.

All of that is well and good, but Mr. Luceno also delves into some extremely interesting questions, many of which had not occurred to me before reading this book. How much trouble does Anakin Skywalker have in adapting to his new role as Darth Vader? What does he need to do in order to make an impression in the various realms of the Empire and how will he be accepted? How difficult is it for Vader to function as an instrument of terror within the confines of the black suit and all of the artificial body parts? Can he overcome the death of Padme, especially after Sidious pins the blame for her death squarely on Vader? How long will it be before he becomes proficient in the Sith dark arts and use of the Force? Can he trust Sidious? Does he even want to trust Sidious or should he just bide his time, improve his skills, and then kill his master as Sidious once did to Darth Plagieus? Fascinating stuff.

We also are treated to a wonderful look at Bail Organa's moment of near-terror when Vader shows up on Alderaan and decides he wants to meet Bail's wife Breha. The main problem is that at that moment Breha is walking around the palace holding baby Leia. Would Vader sense that his child was nearby? R2-D2 has a great sequence in the palace at the same time. R2 is one of the very few entities that understand who all the players actually are and what has happened in the recent past.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure how this book has received such rave reviews. I'm as qualified to call myself a Star Wars fan as anyone (more qualified, as my fiancee laments). In fact, I looked forward to this book, because I thought Luceno's LABYRINTH OF EVIL (set between Episodes II and III) was possibly the best Star Wars novel since the original Star Wars sequel, Timothy Zahn's "Heir to the Empire" series. And since DARK LORD was to tell the story behind Darth Vader's rise to power within the new Empire, I eagerly awaited its release.

Unfortunately, the book was a total let-down on just about every level. Yoda never appears. Obi-Wan Kenobi is mentioned only in passing. The treatment of the major Star Wars characters--the Emperor, Vader, Chewbacca--is poorly done; they are nothing like the figures in the movies, and their internal dialogues are overwrought, sappy, and unrealistic. The new characters--Jedi Knights who survived the notorious Order 66--are even worse: They have no real identity and the reader never comes to care about them. There are typographical and grammatical errors throughout. The plot is threadbare and winds its own long way around. As with his characters, Luceno's descriptive language fails to convey any imagery, setting, or emotion. For instance: At the climactic moment when Vader reveals himself to one of the Jedi, the reader has no idea why Vader (a) "fell silent for a moment" or (b) why he suddenly breaks that silence and tells the Jedi who he is. Worst of all, some questions that Lucas purposefully left unanswered in the films (such as whether Sidious or Plageius manipulated midichlorians "to create life") are resolved in such a way that it weakens the dramatic arch of the Vader saga.
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