After the Darth Bane trilogy, I’m looking forward to the Darth Plagueis and Darth Maul stuff. At this point in my journey through the Star Wars novels chronologically, I can guess which ones I’ll enjoy the most.
Legacy of the Jedi
A “young adult” novel that tells four stories – the origin of Count Dooku, the origin of Dooku and his Padawan Qui-Gon Jin, the origin of Qui-Gon and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi and finally – Obi-Wan and his Padawan Anakin Skywalker. I didn’t find the book to be well written at all. However, it did tell some valuable backstories and it was a breeze to read. I think I pounded through it within three days – and I’m a very busy man, believe me. So it was three days of just casual reading while eating or before bed.
The book introduced Dooku as an apprentice and some of the seeds of the dark side that were apparent early on. His friend as a youth, Lorian Nod, betrayed him and was kicked out of the Jedi Order. In Part 2, Dooku and Qui-Gon run into Lorian again, this time with him as head of a crime outfit. Dooku is still a young Jedi, but his methods of keeping information to himself hinted at a growing selfishness. This wasn’t presented well in the book, with flimsy reasoning to explain away why he wouldn’t simply contact the Jedi Masters and update them. But you get the idea and just try not to dwell on the flaws.
In Part 3, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, just prior to Episode I (in fact, at the end of this part, they head to Naboo) stumble on another Lorian scheme, which they foil of course. And then in the final portion, Obi-Wan and Anakin are hunting Dooku after the Clone Wars (Episode II). It was nice to tie into the movies and the backstory at a high level was interesting. But as I made clear earlier, the read was an easy one – likely targeted for 12-year-olds. Jude Watson is a better writer than this, I would find out later, and I raised a Spockian eyebrow when I noticed that her “Wookiepedia” bio omitted the fact that she even wrote this.
Loved it. In a way, I even enjoyed this one more than the Darth Bane set. Maybe not. But it’s all a matter of mood. In the mood for action, Bane is your man. In the mood for intriguing storylines with carefully mapped out politics and very relevant backstories? Darth Plagueis is for you. Palpatine’s Master is Darth Plagueis, and if you recall from Episode III, he mentions his former master and tells Anakin Skywalker that Plagueis was able to extend life and cheat death via his midi-chlorian research. Using that twenty second conversation from the movie, this entire backstory was created (and frankly it was 100 times better than that movie). Plagueis apprenticed under Darth Tenebrous (remember the Rule of Two, noted in Part 3 of these write-ups). But it’s his ‘secret identity’ that’s even more interesting. As Hego Damask, a rich Muun – very very rich – he pulls the strings of many politicians in the Republic, all while creating chaos in the galaxy with a few words here, a nudge there. And while he does this, research into midi-chlorians continues.
Hego meets Palpatine, who he takes on as his apprentice under the handle Darth Sidious. With his money and foresight, Palpatine rises through the ranks of the Republic senate. It’s not an easy journey for them, as the politicians are dangerous in their own way and on more than one occasion Hego and Palpatine are betrayed.
Towards the latter quarter of the novel, it ties in directly with Episode I. I found it very cool to see Plagueis and Sidious having a conversation on a balcony while beneath them Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Padme and Anakin are getting off their ship. It was also cool the way Sidious met Darth Maul (as a baby) and trained him to be a lethal killing machine.
The Wrath of Darth Maul
Another good story, which is surprising consider this is a ‘young adult novel’ and I didn’t really like the last one (Legacy, above). This novella ties in with Darth Plagueis. It tells the tale of Darth Maul that isn’t told in Plagueis. From the age of three, Darth Maul is trained to survive and then trained to kill. He quickly learns to hate Sidious, but uses that hate to channel the Dark Side. It was an interesting path to power and it turns out that he was only about 19 years old when he fought Qui-Gon in Episode I. If you recall, Maul’s body was cut in half by Obi-Wan and the two halves fell down a seemingly bottomless shaft. Well, Maul survived and the his body was actually melded onto a six-legged droid. I see that there are more Maul books ahead. Can’t wait to see how that goes.
I’ve read the first six novellas of the Jedi Apprentice series, but I’ll wait until all twenty are done before reviewing. Easy reads, so hopefully before the middle of August.