- Series: Star Wars
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; 1St Edition edition (April 28, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345511441
- ISBN-13: 978-0345511447
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 735 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hardcover – April 28, 2015
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Lords of the Sith is easily the best novel in the new Star Wars canon to date. It doesn't quite reach the height of some of the old Expanded Universe (now Legends) novels like Darth Plagueis and Shatterpoint, but it comes close and is very promising if this is the direction Star Wars novels are headed.
The main characters on the "good" side show complexity, trying to stay on the right side of the thin line between freedom fighter and terrorist - the line between murder and killing an enemy. The Imperial cast is equally complex, showing the reader insight into their own drives and motivations, from the stalwart loyalists, self-centered power grabbers, the Emperor's personal guards, and a has-been moff.
The new canon has done a great job of increasing the diversity in Star Wars, and this is book is no exception. The female moff, in one sentence, is said to have taken a downward spiral after the death of her wife. That's it, one word switched from husband to wife, and the reader knows that we are now dealing with a moff in the Star Wars universe that happened to be a married lesbian. However, the story does not revolve around this at all, and it never comes up again or distracts the reader from the story. To me, this is the perfect way to make Star Wars more inclusive in the 21st century - include diverse characters that reflect our modern life without needlessly writing stories about things like race and sexual orientation when they aren't central to the story. I hope this trend continues.
Now, on to what we all came for: this book shows a lot of Vader and Palpatine doing what they do best. Vader is a killing machine, constantly trying to guess his master's motivation behind his words and commands. On the other hand, Palpatine is always one step ahead of Vader, and seems extremely adept at predicting his thoughts. This is a perfect portrayal of a post-prequels/Clone Wars Vader, one that is constantly reminded of those he lost. We get to see how Vader copes with his memories in a sad way. It leaves you empathizing with the character while you are simultaneously repulsed by his actions.
My only quibble is that Vader and Palpatine sometimes do things (leaping, spinning, flipping, lightsabering) that are a little extreme. I like to see the Force act in more subtle ways, and it can get a little video-gamey in this book.
I'll go on record to say that the first encounter Vader has with the Free Ryloth movement is one of my favorite Darth Vader moments so far. It's a perfect merger of a reckless Anakin adjusting to, and embracing, what he's become.
Paul S. Kemp does a good job of taking Vader from a fallen Jedi to a Sith Lord. He shows a pretty good vision of the relationship between master and apprentice, and even gives a good idea of how he handles Vader's conflicting views. The way they're portrayed in the book is a great compliment to both trilogies without really relying on or the other too much. It even manages to tie some Star Wars: Rebels (just a bit) in the mix.
I found myself confused on who I was cheering for, but that's not a bad thing. Without giving away too many details, I'll just say that even though you know what's going to happen in the end since most of us have seen the Original Trilogy, it's a thrill-packed, truly intriguing, and intense story, that made it hard for me to put down!
That said, the story is interesting and shows the galaxy beginning to rebel and there are a few Sith Lord scenes that are just amazing in their portrayal (one of them is very, very early on). It doesn't really contribute much that's new to the new Canon universe, but it is a fun read that's worth the time spent on it.
Long live the Empire!