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Star Wars: Dark Disciple Hardcover – July 7, 2015
"The Book of the Unnamed Midwife" by Meg Elison
When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead. | Learn more
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“Emotionally charged . . . Christie Golden does a wonderful job of capturing the characters.”—Roqoo Depot
“A cool inclusion into the Star Wars mythos . . . Ventress and Vos have a cool and compelling dynamic, and are used to explore more of what it means to flirt with the Dark Side of the Force.”—IGN
“[The Clone Wars have been] a huge part of the Star Wars brand for years, and [Christie] Golden manages to craft a story worthy of the themes and characters that fans have come to relate to. . . . [She] uses this opportunity to craft Dark Disciple into a spy/espionage thriller.”—Tech Times
“Golden especially excelled at bringing Ventress’s biting but appealing personality to life. . . . She’s very much a woman trying to find her way, and Dark Disciple adds nuance.”—Nerdist
“Smart, captivating, and unforgettable . . . among the finest in Star Wars storytelling.”—Coffee with Kenobi
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0345511530
- ISBN-13 : 978-0345511539
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.56 inches
- Publisher : Del Rey; 1st Printing edition (July 7, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #73,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In an uncharacteristic move by the Jedi, the Council has decided that evil former Jedi Count Dooku must be assassinated. The Clone Wars have drug on for too long, resulting in widespread death and destruction across the galaxy. But whom to carry out this bold task? The Jedi, with some trepidation, pick Quinlan Vos and a most unlikely partner: fallen Jedi Asajj Ventress. The Council's reasoning is that both sides of the force might be best effective in combating Dooku, who is extremely powerful. Will the unlikely duo be able to stop the dastardly Dooku once and for all?
The first thing that becomes apparent when reading Dark Disciple is how faithful it is to the Clone Wars tv show. If you come to the book thinking you'll be getting a long episode of the Clone Wars, you'd be exactly right. Dialogue, mood, plotting, and action all feels drawn right out of the television show. As I was reading, I imagined I was watching the show, and it was delightful.
Dark Disciple is well written, with exciting action and a fair amount of depth. It has all the requisite speeder chases and lightsaber duels that you would expect out of a Star Wars novel. However, while the book is often fun and light-hearted, it does veer into some very dark territory, exploring pain, despair and loss. It also serves to expand some of the mythos surrounding the Nightsisters and Count Dooku.
Where Dark Disciple really shines is in its characterization. Quinlan Vos and Asajj Ventress were two characters in the show who very much cried out for more development, but it feels like we never got enough time with either of them. Author Christie Golden paints compelling and deep portraits of both these characters. A lot of time and care is also spent on the relationship between the two protagonists, and how their time together changes them. Ultimately, it is this dynamic that drives the novel. Count Dooku is also given a nice treatment, and is made into even more of a monster than on the show. The book makes use of many popular characters from the tv show, and it is nice to have them all along for the ride.
*CAUTION: Righteous Star Wars rant ahead. Read at your own risk!*
While I did enjoy Dark Disciple, I find it follows the sophomoric trends of many of the new canon novels. I am an unabashed fan of the Legends novels, and find them to be much more mature and serious than the new stuff. I am sick of almost every new SW book reading like a young adult novel. Come on, Disney! Not sure how much longer I'll keep giving you my money.
Despite some of my above thoughts, I found Dark Disciple to be good reading, with much to enjoy. If you are a fan of The Clone Wars, Dark Disciple is a no-brainer pick, and you won't be disappointed. Maybe with Disney returning to The Clone Wars, we'll get to see Dark Disciple come to life on the small screen.
To briefly describe the story without spoiling it, the Jedi Council decides that the Clone Wars have gone on long enough and that Count Dooku needs to be assassinated. Not “stopped”, not “brought in” to faced justice, but ASSASSINATED, something against the Jedi code. They assign Quinlan Vos, a wild card Jedi, to the task, instructing him to seek the assistance of someone who can help him – Asajj Ventress, former apprentice to Dooku and someone the Jedi don’t trust. They meet up and Asajj agrees to help. As they prepare, something stirs between them, a love that may be the mission’s undoing.
This was an awesome story. It takes its time to set everything up, knowing it doesn’t have to conform to Cartoon Network’s broadcast schedule (fun fact kiddies: Star Wars wasn’t ALWAYS owned by Disney :) ) as well as knowing it needs to show the reader what’s going on without the show’s animation department. It goes from action-packed to thoughtful without giving you whiplash and has great suspense. You know Count Dooku will survive (spoilers: Revenge of the Sith occurs after The Clone Wars), but you find yourself rooting for Quinlan to survive, as well as Asajj.
Which leads to one of the best aspects of this book: it’s a well told love story involving Asajj Ventress, one of the last characters you’d expect to be part of one. I only know Quinlan from the one episode of The Clone Wars he appeared in but the book managed to match the character from the show. More pleasantly, it also handled Asajj well, having her react to each of the book’s situations about how a viewer of the series would guess she would. The romance grows slowly, with the characters resisting for understandable reasons before surrendering when they become comfortable and vulnerable with each other. I think the “still a better love story the Twilight” meme is overdone (and I’ve never read Twilight, so I can’t fairly judge) but I’m willing to nominate Dark Disciple as one such story.
One reader, either here or elsewhere, complained that the book assumes the reader has seen The Clone Wars TV series. I’m sort of on both sides of the fence. The book does go over the backstories and any element the reader needs to understand the story and characters. That said, I would highly recommend you watch the first six seasons of The Clone Wars before reading this. The elements I mentioned a sentence ago are there but having watched the show definitely helps. Seeing the 121 episodes of the first six seasons helps you understand the Jedi stooping to assassination to end the war and also helps you connect with Asajj when you’ve seen what she went through previously. In addition, I feel that for Star Wars books, there is a high likelihood that previous media may or may not play a part in the current story. Finally, these were adapted from scripts for potential season seven-eight episodes and should be treated as such: just as you’d probably not start a TV series at the end of its run (unless you just happened to catch a later episode; I mean a concentrated, planned watching of a series), you’d probably enjoy this book more after watching the great Clone Wars series.
That does to lead to my one real complaint: you can certainly see the signs this was adapted from tv scripts. Past events from earlier in the book are brought fairly repeatedly, almost like they’re recapping parts of the story you watched a week ago on TV. I feel Christie Golden could’ve adapted those parts out to hide it’s TV origins but it’s not obtrusive and is possibly helpful to readers who can’t read it in a day or so. To be fair, this was a problem for The Clones Wars movie (four episodes edited into one film) and is even evident, albeit less so, when watching the show an episode or two a day, every day (don’t let that deter you though; still a great show :) )
As for the audiobook, Marc Thompson was excellent. While a few of his voices sounded off (his Mace Windu sounded like a southern general in a Civil War novel rather than the Samuel L Jackson-played Jedi general in a Clone Wars novel and his Anakin was iffy), most of them were great. He matched Quinlan Vos from the show but, more importantly to me, he nailed Asajj’s voice, very impressive since he’s a man voicing a woman and Asajj appeared in far more episodes than Quinlan. Also, with all due respect to Corey Burton and Tom Kane, his Count Dooku and Yoda were flawless just like theirs (and considering Christopher Lee was reported as being impressed with Corey Burton’s portrayal of Count Dooku, that’s another layer of compliment). He acted the heck out of the book’s scenes and only the TV series cast could’ve done better.
Finally, for those who haven’t listened to a Star Wars audiobook before, be prepared for to hear the iconic sound effects and music from the Star Wars films. Huge surprise and they went a long way making this feel like a Star Wars story. The only possible complaint against them (I know, “How can you have a problem with John Williams’ score included on anything?” :D) is that I feel Kevin Kiner’s score from The Clone Wars would’ve been a better fit for this series set during and adapted from the series about the Clone Wars. Otherwise, John Williams' music is always a great treat.
This was a great Star Wars story and addition to The Clone Wars series. It’s just as exciting as any episode or movie and as heartfelt as any good romance. My only real complaint is that this would’ve been awesome animated. That said, you’ll be grateful a way was found to tell this story and full credit must be given to the series writers and Christie Golden. If you’re a fan of Star Wars in general, read this book. However, if you’ve seen and feel in love with The Clone Wars TV series, then DEFINITELY read this book. It’s a great addition to the series’ lore and great ending for one its most popular characters.
Top reviews from other countries
Don’t get me wrong - Ventress isn’t gay or presented as such but what made her such a liberating character was her freedom from the constraints of romance or lurrrve. Here however she falls for some funky Jedi and sacrifices herself to let him live. She saves him from the abyss of The Dark Side.
Not my cup of tea but if you do like this sort of thing mixed with the living Force, knock yourself out.
These are two of the more interesting characters from the Clone Wars era, and the book provides a suitable, rather tragic resolution to their character arcs. The main problem is that the story has been condensed from EIGHT episode scripts, meaning that it often rushes on at a breakneck pace without time for the events to have any impact on the reader. I also felt a few of the characters' actions were either unclear, muddled or just unconvincing.
Nevertheless, if you enjoyed the series, you'll want to see how it would've continued / concluded. A worthwhile read but not one of the best examples of SW fiction.
*VAGUE SPOILERS BELOW*
The end is disappointing. Reverse Vos and Ventress's final destinies in this book and *that* would have been a sucker punch. As it is, I was left rather rolling my eyes at the predictability.
That said it does leave some interesting questions in the air...
By all means this book is still good and worth reading, especially if you love The Clone Wars. Now if someone could just convince them to publish 'Star Wars: The Siege of Mandalore'!