Book Review: Dark Disciple

July 7, 2015 at 11:00 am | Posted in Books, Del Rey, Star Wars Books | 1 Comment
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DarkDisciple_PosterDark Disciple by Christie Golden is the latest addition to the new official Star Wars canon.  Adapted from a script by Katie Lucas, Dave Filoni and Matt Michnovetz for the cancelled TV show, Star Wars The Clone wars, the novel tells the story of the Jedi mission to assassinate Count Dooku.  Fair warning, spoilers ahead.

After nearly three years of war and countless atrocities by Dooku, the Jedi Council has reached a point of desperation, and decides on the grim course of assassinating the Sith lord.  Chosen for the assignment is Jedi Master Quinlan Vos, and he’s charged with making an ally out of the one person who could conceivable be his means of success — Asajj Ventress.  The Jedi Council’s logic is sound.  The unconventional Vos, with his loner ways, and undercover missions seems to be the best choice of Jedi, and while Asajj has no love for the Jedi, she hates Dooku with her whole being.  Vos and Ventress can’t succeed alone, but they could very well be strong enough to succeed together.  Quinlan and Asajj become allies and lovers, lovers who are truly in love, who freely decide to have a future together. Ventress undertakes to groom Vos for their dangerous undertaking, and Dathomir plays a part in that grooming.  She knows Quinlan will need to understand and command the dark side as she does — walking on the knife edge without falling into total darkness — but the training is cut short when their chance to eliminate Dooku comes too soon.  Ventress embarks on the mission with Vos with grave misgivings, and she’s right.  Quinlan Vos is not ready, and as a result, Ventress loses him to Dooku.  Determined to save him and their future together, Ventress returns to confront the dark lord again.

The Quinlan Vos in Dark Disciple is a marriage of the Dark Horse Quinlan and the hippie Jedi we saw early in The Clone Wars series.  The script writers and Christie Golden have stayed true to Vos’s previously established character, and while, at times, it may seem that Vos is getting short shrift in comparison to Ventress, there is a reason for that.  Golden had to walk a careful line with a late reveal, and in my opinion she did a very good job of it.  With Ventress, however, Golden truly excelled.  Ventress’s character is finally and completely rounded out.  Ventress is who she is, and in love, Ventress is just as fierce as she is in everything else.  While it may seem a surprising one at first, given that they are basically two of a kind, the relationship between Vos and Ventress makes sense.  Ultimately it also proves to be a right one.

However, you shouldn’t mistake Dark Disciple for just a romance novel; it is so much more than that.  The trademark Star Wars banter/humor is very much evident — one highlight is Anakin driving Obi-Wan nuts vis-a-vis droids — as well as the usual Star Wars fights and duels.  But if ever a novel could be said to be a case study in the dark side, Dark Disciple is, and while so often in Star Wars novels, darksiders are anything but subtle and layered, here Christie Golden has presented the multi-layered nature of the dark side that seduces and then obliterates the one who seeks to control it.  Even Dooku, who so often seems to be dark side lame, displays true dark side cunning and evil — which was actually refreshing to see.  Dark Disciple is a primer in fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering.  Even the Jedi Council’s descent into assassination showcases how clouded and doomed the Jedi Order is.  Lessons are learned, but in Dark Disciple the cost is far too high.

Dark Disciple is a thorough Star Wars novel set in the Clone Wars era, and I give it 5 metal bikinis.

Reviewed by Geralyn

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