Read on and be prepared; Mike WILL convince you to read this book!
By Mike Audette // Christie Golden’s Star Wars: Dark Disciple is nothing less than a masterwork in how to write compelling characters. Taking eight scrips from unaired episodes of The Clone Wars, she has managed to create something that not only feels like it was something you were watching, but it expands what you thought Star Wars could be. While the main story revolves around Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos, it has brilliantly captured ancillary characters and adds rich new details while staying true to each one.
The main plot features Ventress and Vos tasked by the Jedi Council to assassinate Count Dooku in an effort to end the war as the death toll rises with no end in sight. It can be attributed to the quote, “cut the head off the snake.” It is not a decision that the council takes lightly, and there is considerable opposition to the proposal, most notably from Obi-Wan Kenobi. The way that Obi-Wan is portrayed throughout the novel is beneficial to the reader in that makes it you feel as if he is your eyes and ears in the story and his voice is yours. The things that Kenobi says and does fit in so well with character as we know him, and then Golden builds upon that tenfold. His dialogue and banter with Anakin is absolutely spot on and falls right in line with their relationship over the course of the television show.
The relationship that is forged between Ventress and Vos is one of trust, lies, and the dark side. In order to fully accept the mission of assassination, Ventress takes it upon herself to teach Vos how to use and accept the dark side while not letting it consume him. Throughout this process, Vos slowly begins to learn of the terrible history that Ventress keeps hidden in order to hide her pain. The way Golden writes this part of the story is nothing short of amazing. In these chapters, readers are instantly drawn in to these two, and you begin to empathize with them. The main idea of trust is very important in their relationship, and Ventress has a dark secret to keep from Vos that truly is tormenting to her.
Count Dooku is at his best throughout the novel, and by best I mean cunning and despicable. The way he is written is a match to his actions in The Clone Wars. All you want to see through the story is for him to die. You build up so much hate for him through his arrogance and avarice, all while knowing that he does not meet his end until Revenge of the Sith. This plays very well in drawing the reader deeper into the mission, since knowing how Dooku meets his ultimate end makes one want to see what happens to Ventress and Vos since their endings have not been written.
As the novel draws to its end, I found it impossible to put it down. The twists and turns that Golden takes you on are spectacular. The predicament that Ventress is put in during the climax is so compelling that you find yourself rooting for her even after everything you know about her and her checkered past. I haven’t gotten into spoilers in this review and I won’t reveal the end here either. All I will say is to prepare yourself for the ending—it hits you like a ton of bricks.
Overall, the novel is brilliant from start to finish. The characterization that is painted throughout is some of the best in not only The Clone Wars, but all of Star Wars in general. Ever since I’ve finished reading it, I haven’t been able to get my mind off it. If that is any indication of how good this novel is, I urge you to take it to heart.
“On and on, through my buried bones, my song lives on.”