Star Wars: Lords of the Sith

Star Wars: Lords of the Sith

‘STAR WARS: LORDS OF THE SITH’


JUMP TO SECTION:

OPENING LINE:

Darth Vader should battle Randy Orton for the right to be called the apex predator. The loser gets saddled with that unwieldy nickname forever.


PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….
When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice Darth Vader find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.
“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.”
Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters – and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.
On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice”, an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources – by political power or firepower – and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.
For Syndulla and Isval, it’s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet’s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.
©2015 Paul S. Kemp (P)2015 Random House Audio


THE PLOT:

While reading ‘Lords of the Sith’ by Paul S. Kemp I was struck by a bothersome realization. Since the announcement of a unified canon last year, we have had four novels published. Out of those four novels – ‘A New Dawn’, ‘Tarkin’, ‘Heir to the Jedi’, and now Lords of the Sith – three of them have dealt with traitors to the Empire in one shape or form. This is starting to become an issue because with all of the apparent traitors to the Empire running around, it becomes harder to understand just how the Empire managed to survive as long as it did.
‘Lords of the Sith’ does try to address that problem somewhat by being the book in which we get to see Vader and even the Emperor himself lay the smackdown on a potential rebellion. The relationship between the Sith master and apprentice is the most interesting aspect of the book, which is set not too long after the events of ‘Revenge of the Sith’. The Emperor is constantly able to read the thoughts of Vader, and as a result Vader is honest when asked about him. This indicates that Vader hasn’t yet learned how to mask his real feelings and ambitions from the Emperor just yet.
The biggest flaw with ‘Lords of the Sith’ is the same thing that hurts any story that takes place between two already established events. The outcome is inevitable, and there is no surprise about who wins in the end. In that case, if you can’t surprise the reader with who wins, you can at least make how they win interesting. Sadly, while ‘Lords of the Sith’ contains several battle sequences that I like quite a bit, the ending lost a lot of steam for me.
I feel that I had better address the most newsworthy thing to come out of ‘Lords of the Sith’. This novel features the introduction of Moff Delian Mors, who is the first LGBT character in the Star Wars canon. While I have no issue with diversity within the Star Wars universe, this doesn’t feel like a Jackie Robinson moment in the galaxy far, far away. Mors’ involvement in the story is minor when compared to most of the other main characters. However, we do come to understand that Mors has grown lazy over the years because she is grieving over the loss of her wife in a transport accident. Still, I’m sure that there will be some people unhappy that the first LGBT character in the Star Wars canon is an Imperial and not a Rebel. I believe Mors will play a bigger role in the saga going forward, and I am at least interested in some of the issues that they can touch on with the character. Still, the debut could have been better.
Fans who have been waiting for a book in which Vader and the Emperor get to kick a little ass will probably enjoy ‘Lords of the Sith’. Honestly, there were some parts that I really liked and a lot of them involved The Emperor and Vader. But when the focus of the story shifts away from those two and on to anyone else, I find myself thinking, “Hurry up and get back to Vader,” and that’s probably not the best sign.


THE AUTHOR:

This is Paul S. Kemp’s second novel in the Star Wars universe. His previous effort ‘Deceived’ came out a few years ago as part of “The Old Republic” saga. I have to admit that if nothing else, I do enjoy Kemp’s ability to write a battle sequence. There are some enjoyable ones to be found in ‘Lords of the Sith’.


THE NARRATION:

You don’t narrate as many Star Wars books as Jonathan Davis has without knowing what you’re doing. Davis is one of several great narrators that Star Wars audiobooks have been blessed with over the years. He knows these characters and how to give voices to them whether they are new to the book or are long familiar fan favorites.


THE PRODUCTION:

It would be so easy to become spoiled by the production values of a Star Wars audiobook. They always sound great, and the music and sound effects are authentic. ‘Lords of the Sith’ is no different in that regard. However, it is different in one small way. The regular Star Wars theme does not open the book as is usually the case. I’m not going to lie, it did throw me, if only briefly.
There are eighteen chapter stops on the audio track, which matches up perfectly with the book chapters. The standard for Star Wars is still excellent for the audiobook genre as a whole.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

When the unified canon was announced, there came with it an increased level of expectation. It was expected that things that happened in books and other media formats would have an impact on related storylines. That really hasn’t happened yet, and ‘Lords of the Sith’ isn’t going to change that. For instance, Vader and Palpatine aren’t going to be discussing their time on Ryloth during the Empire Strikes Back. However, the fact that this book does feature the debut of Delian Mors, who is tapped for other forms of Star Wars media, may mean that those days of full integration are getting closer.
As for ‘Lords of the Sith’, there are some fun things that happen here, but the story seems to run out of steam at the end. The build-up to the final battle was a lot more interesting than the final battle ended up being.
I realize that books like ‘A New Dawn’, ‘Tarkin’ and ‘Lords of the Sith’ take place in an era where the Empire is in its infancy, and as a result it is believable that there will be multiple grabs for power all throughout the galaxy. But I’d really like to see more novels in which the Empire has it together and is strong for reasons other than the fact it is run by bad ass Sith. The more inept the Empire is in general, the less impressive rebellion victories become as a result. So while ‘Lords of the Sith’ contains some nice moments, I feel like when it comes to giving birth to the galactic rebellion, that story is told a lot better in ‘A New Dawn’.


QUICK FACTS:

Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
Star Wars: Lords of the Sith Paul S. Kemp Jonathan Davis Random House Audio Science Fiction 04/28/2015 10 hours, 56 minutes 7.25/10

DISCLAIMER:

A copy of ‘STAR WARS: LORDS OF THE SITH’ was purchased from Audible for review.big shout

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