Star Wars: Dark Disciple

Star Wars: Dark Disciple

‘STAR WARS: DARK DISCIPLE’


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OPENING LINE:

Could ‘Dark Disciple’ feature the most realistic romance in the history of the Star Wars universe?


PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY:

Based on unproduced episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this new novel features Asajj Ventress, former Sith apprentice turned bounty hunter and one of the great antiheroines in Star Wars history.
The only way to bring down the Sith’s most dangerous warrior may be to join forces with the dark side.
In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.
But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force’s power to bear – pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku’s side still runs deep, Ventress’ hatred for her former master runs deeper. She’s more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter – and assassin – to Vos’ quest.
Together Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku – as long as the emerging feelings between them don’t compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior’s spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts – a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy… and her own doubt.
©2015 Christie Golden (P)2015 Random House Audio


THE PLOT:

The story of ‘Dark Disciple’ is based on two beliefs. The first is that if you cut off the head, the body will die. This is the belief that motivates the Jedi Council to task Master Quinlan Vos with the assassination of Count Dooku, the leader of the Separatist movement.
The second belief is that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. This is why the Council suggests Vos reach out to Dooku’s former Acolyte Asajj Ventress, who has tried and failed to assassinate Dooku previously.
Along the way, the Jedi Master and former servant of the dark side develop a relationship and a romantic bond. That bond brings them closer together and may be the thing to rip them apart and ruin the entire mission.
Romance in Star Wars has always been a little weird. If you don’t believe me, it is obvious you haven’t watched ‘Attack of the Clones’ in awhile. However, ‘Dark Disciple’ produces perhaps the most realistic romance in the history of the saga. This book serves as a reminder of what can happen when two people not accustomed to being in relationships and not comfortable with their own feelings end up pairing off. There are many things that can go wrong for people in that kind of a scenario, and for Vos and Ventress these things often lead to some tragic consequences.
‘Dark Disciple’ is not a book of action. True, there are few duels and a battle here and there but that isn’t what this book is about. It is about coming to terms with your past and your feelings. It is about the bad consequences that can arise when relationships are based on lies and mistrust. It is about the sacrifices that can be necessary to find true redemption. ‘Dark Disciple’ is a Star Wars book with a lot of heart.
I thought the book took a little while to find itself, but once things got moving they didn’t stop until the very end. Trying to guess the ending proved to be fruitless and when things finally all fell into place, it was both heartwarming and a punch to the gut.


THE AUTHOR:

This is easily the best book Christie Golden has written in the Star Wars universe. Of course, some of the credit must go to Katie Lucas, author of the original scripts for ‘The Clone Wars,’ which provided a majority of the plot. However, there is a difference between the visual medium of television and the more imagination fueled medium of the written word, and Golden was able to do an outstanding job of converting one to the other. She also did a lot of research to ensure that ‘Dark Disciple’ felt like a true extension of the TV series and I believe she succeeded quite well.


THE NARRATION:

I’ve reviewed more books narrated by Marc Thompson than any other narrator. So often I find myself worrying that I won’t have anything new to say and will just be repeating myself from previous reviews. Yet, that was not a worry in this instance.
‘Dark Disciple’ is one of the more emotional Star Wars books I have ever read. Thompson does a good job of acting out everything from joy and anger, love and hate, triumph and tragedy, betrayal and redemption. There is a fine line between doing it well and overdoing it completely, and while Thompson gets pretty close to that line, he never crosses it. I can only imagine how intense some of these recording sessions must have been.


THE PRODUCTION:

Stop me if you’ve read this before, but the audio track produced for ‘Dark Disciple’ is outstanding. There is good use of both music and sound effects throughout the track, but they never serve as a distraction from the dialogue.
The track is clean and crisp with no audio glitches to be found. The chapter stops are appropriately placed. When it comes to Star Wars releases, Random House Audio has a rule: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Clearly their production is not broken.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

Unlike some of the other material released under the new unified canon, ‘Dark Disciple’ is probably going to be enjoyed more by someone with a lot of familiarity with the television series. I wouldn’t go so far as to say watching ‘The Clone Wars’ is a must before reading the book (I’ve only made it through about a season and a half), but I think a greater familiarity will lead to a greater appreciation.
Some have said that ‘Dark Disciple’ surpasses ‘A New Dawn’ as the best of the new canon novels. While I won’t go that far myself, I wouldn’t really want to argue with anyone who does. The two books tell wildly different stories and have wildly different objectives, so comparing them probably isn’t fair.
‘Dark Disciple’ is about choices. It is about sacrifice, redemption, not letting the past dominate your present and future, but it is mostly about being true to yourself.


QUICK FACTS:

Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
Star Wars: Dark Disciple Christie Golden Marc Thompson Random House Audio Science Fiction 07/07/2015 11 hours, 53 minutes /10

DISCLAIMER:

A copy of ‘STAR WARS: DARK DISCIPLE’ was purchased from Audible for review.

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