Throughout the galaxy, it was believed that Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker–the Chosen One–had died on Coruscant during the siege of the Jedi Temple. And, to some extent, that was true. Anakin was dead.
From the site of Anakin Skywalker’s last stand–on the molten surface of the planet Mustafar, where he sought to destroy his friend and former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi–a fearsome specter in black has risen. Once the most powerful Knight ever known to the Jedi Order, he is now a disciple of the dark side, a lord of the dreaded Sith, and the avenging right hand of the galaxy’s ruthless new Emperor. Seduced, deranged, and destroyed by the machinations of the Dark Lord Sidious, Anakin Skywalker is dead . . . and Darth Vader lives.
Word of the events that created him–the Jedi Council’s failed mutiny against Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the self-crowned Emperor’s retaliatory command to exterminate the Jedi Order, and Anakin’s massacre of his comrades and Masters in the Jedi Temple–has yet to reach all quarters. On the Outer Rim world of Murkhana, Jedi Masters Roan Shryne and Bol Chatak and Padawan Olee Starstone are leading a charge on a Separatist stronghold, unaware that the tide, red with Jedi blood, has turned suddenly against them.
When the three narrowly elude execution–and become the desperate prey in a hunt across space–it’s neither clone soldiers, nor the newly deployed stormtroopers, nor even the wrath of the power-hungry Emperor himself they must fear most. The deadliest threat rests in the hideously swift and lethal crimson lightsaber of Darth Vader–behind whose brooding mask lies a shattered heart, a poisoned soul, and a cunning, twisted mind hell-bent on vengeance.
For the handful of scattered Jedi, survival is imperative if the light side of the Force is to be protected and the galaxy somehow, someday reclaimed. Yet more important still is the well-being of the twin infants, Leia and Luke Skywalker, the children of Anakin and his doomed bride, Padmé Amidala. Separated after Padmé’s death, they must be made safe at all costs, lest the hope they represent for the future be turned to horror by the new Sith regime–and the unspeakable power of the dark side.
Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!
The Force is still to be reckoned with, primarily because Darth Vader continues to be one of the most fascinating dark pop icons since Dracula. Picking up where Matthew Stover's Revenge of the Sith (2005) left off, Luceno (Labyrinth of Evil) delivers exciting battle scenes and brave characters, including the beloved Wookie, Chewbacca. His ease with Star Wars techno-jargon is admirable. What's needed in this intermittently entertaining installment is a better opponent for Vader. Unfortunately, Yoda, the spiritual heart of the saga, appears to be in hiding. Instead, Luceno focuses on Jedi knight Roan Shryne; his Padawan sidekick, Olee Starstone; and other survivors of Emperor Palpatine's Jedi extermination. All appear to be earnest, if pale, imitations of Obi-Wan Kenobi. And where's Han Solo, far older than the Skywalker twins? Why can't Vader sense his twins' existence with his vaunted supernatural abilities? Too often the sympathetic Vader wallows in self-pity. Thankfully, exuberantly evil Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) returns with more power lessons Vader laps up eagerly: "Where the Jedi gained power through understanding, the Sith gain understanding through power."
The Vader spin off we needed
I just finished reading this and god it’s amazing. This book explores what Darth Vader did between episodes 3 and 4, like hunting down Jedi that survived Order 66 and fighting this one jedi named Shryne.
I have always wanted a Star Wars show that’s all about Vader and it looks like there already is one but in book form! Highly underrated book and I highly recommend it.
Strong and Satisfying (a spoiler-free review)
Luceno knows how to deliver a well-rounded Star Wars novel. This is a compelling follow-up to Revenge of the Sith¬−even after being relegated to “Legends” status. In fact, this novel’s fall from canon is a good thing, from a certain point of view. Now it’s simply an interesting “what if” story. What if a few Jedi didn’t quite get taken out with Order 66? What if Vader isn’t real happy about his bulky black armor? Through this story frame-work, Luceno crafts a well-written but far from perfect chunk of Star Wars storytelling.
Dark Lord: the Rise of Darth Vader is a good conclusion to the Darth Vader trilogy, a good insight into the defeat of the Jedi Order, and a little more meat to the conclusion to Revenge of the Sith. It feels like a significant step-down as opposed to Labyrinth of Evil and the ROTS novelization, but holds its own within the larger corpus of Star Wars literature.
Star Wars Dark Lord The Rise Of Darth Vader is among the most entertaining Star Wars novels I've read. There is a great story to be told about Darth Vader and the events unfolding just after (and some actually at the time of) Revenge of the Sith and James Luceno tells that story.
Although this novel has a higher number of typos than any other Star Wars book I've yet read, I believe that simply doesn't deduct from the excellent story.
Over all, this book is an easy read, contains a highly enjoyable story, and has an ending that couldn't be more perfect. I hugely recommend it!