Friday, January 27, 2006

Booknote: Star Wars: Dark Lord

Title: Star Wars: Dark Lord--The Rise of Darth Vader
Author: James Luceno
Publication Information: New York: Ballantine Books, 2005
322 pages.
ISBN: 0-345-47732-4
Genre: Fiction
Subgenre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

I will start by saying that I don't read too many Star Wars novels. When the trend started with Timothy Zahn's novels, the trilogy set right after the original movies, a few years back I read those with pleasure. They were very well written. However, like many novels based on an established franchise (Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.), the quality afterwards seemed erratic. You can find some very good novels and some very bad ones (or at least poorly written). I tend to get selective if I pick up one of these. I will add that I am a Star Wars fan (casual, I don't dress up, nor can I recite technical specs from vehicles or such). At any rate, I was curious about this new novel on Darth Vader. At the time I checked my public library's catalog, it was checked out. I placed a hold on it, and at the time, I was told that I was fourth in the cue. I figured it would take about a month for me to get the book. I was pleasantly surprised when I got the e-mail notice to go pick it up a couple of days later.

Overall, the book is a very light read, which is one of the strengths of novels in this genre. You can get some good entertaining escapism when you get a good one, and this one was good. I read this in two days, and I have to note that I am not a fast reader. I read it at a good clip. This is the story of how Darth Vader rose to power, and it is set shortly after the events of the Episode 3 film. I won't give away the ending, but it does lead nicely into the next three films (or is it previous films?). The novel has a good pace, and for fans looking for insight into Vader's character, this is highly recommended. It is a good entertaining reading. If you like Star Wars, this is a novel for you. If you are at least mildly curious about Vader's character, this is a novel for you as well.

On an aside note, I discovered from the list in the inside cover that James Luceno was one of the authors who wrote the Robotech series under the pen name of Jack McKinney. For me, this was icing on the cake as I was reading the Robotech series as I graduated from high school and was starting college. I may see if I find other novels by Luceno since I enjoyed that series very much. To me at least, a nice moment of serendipity.

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