Review: Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp

LordsoftheSithSource: Purchased
Publisher: Del Rey
Series: Star Wars 
Edition: Hardcover, 320 Pages
Genre: Sci-Fi Space Opera
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4/5 Stars

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .

When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.

“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.”

Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.

On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice,” an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.

For Syndulla and Isval, it’s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet’s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.

First off…that book summary entirely too long…but they are forgiven because Lords of the Sith turned out to be an extremely addition to the new Star Wars canon.

This takes place after Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3) and centers around Darth Vader and Cham Syndulla. We know Vader…no need for that introduction. However Cham might be unfamiliar to those not familiar with the Clone Wars animated show. Cham is a Twi’lek who has lead a resistance against those who oppress his home planet of Ryloth. He’s fought against the Separatists and now the Empire. He’s a man of honor and hope, and I quite like him. He’s intelligent, determined, and level headed in spite of the constant twists and turns the rebellion takes. He’s also the father to Hera Syndulla, the main character of A New Dawn and featured heavily in the show Rebels. It’s kind of cool to learn more about the man who raised her, and what sort of life she had as a child that made her go on to follow in his footsteps.

The actual plot however focuses on Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine’s unexpected visit to Ryloth, and Cham’s plan to put an end to both of them. Of course it’s never that simple when it comes to the two Sith Lords, especially the Emperor because most people just assume he’s just some old guy in a robe. There is plenty of action, and ton of depth when it comes to the main characters and their relationships. One thing I liked was the continuity between the movies, books, and tv shows…which is something that we regrettably didn’t get with the early Darth Vader focused novels in the old EU simply because that material hadn’t been released yet. Now we get to see and understand the dynamic between master and apprentice and see how Vader’s past as Anakin plays a part in that. All I can see is that Vader is a complete badass, but the Emperor is a fucking asshole…excuse my french. He is one of those ‘let you make mistakes so I can laugh in your face when you have to fix them’ kind of guy, and everything he does is a test. But it was nice to see the constant searching and probing for weakness on the part of both Vader and Palpatine, because even with undying loyalty to their partnership the moment one shows too much of a weakness it’s over and one ends up dead so it really adds to the already tense atmosphere.

Overall Lords of the Sith was a fantastic read full of action, tension, and yell worthy moments. I found myself rooting for both sides, which was a bit confusing but really made the novel even better. I’m loving these new stories and I really hope they continue in this quality.

4 stars

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