Vader was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force.
Ever since the first “Star Wars” movie came out in 1977, this was the gist of why the renowned antagonist, the more-machine-than-man who was once Anakin Skywalker, was such a badass.
But there is much more to his dark genesis.
This is the focus of “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,” a novel based on the screenplay of the upcoming movie of the same name, written by New York Times bestselling author Matthew Stover.
And revenge has never been sweeter.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away … Anakin Skywalker was born a slave on the desert planet of Tatooine, but was freed by a man named Qui-Gonn Jinn, who sensed the boy possessed great power.
Jinn belonged to an order of mystics, the Jedi, who sought to control the Force the energy that flows through all life & and use its power to preserve peace.
He decided he would train the boy to do the same.
Unfortunately, Jinn died trying to prevent the outbreak of an inevitable galactic civil war, entrusting Skywalker’s training to a student, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The novel begins 12 years later, with Skywalker, the most powerful Jedi alive, fighting a losing battle on the side of the Galactic Republic.
At the same time, he is experiencing overwhelming visions. Most disturbing is one depicting the death of his pregnant wife, especially because he is too busy on the battlefield to protect her. There is also the fear that he may lose his friend, General Obi-Wan Kenobi, in battle.
Ending the war, therefore, becomes his top priority.
Standing in his way is a power struggle between Palpatine, the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Senate, and the council of Jedi.
The latter suspect Palpatine has gained too many war-time powers one of these includes control of the Jedi Council and the Supreme Chancellor, in turn, believes they will overthrow his government to secure their sovereignty.
As if the plot was not interesting enough, Palpatine’s mysterious past is revealed and so is the history of the Sith, of which he is a central figure.
The Sith are not evil, Palpatine explains, just more willing than the Jedi to embrace and defend those things that matter most: love, peace and democracy.
What he offers is even more seductive: expensive speeders, any planet in the cosmos and even the ability to cheat death.
Similarly, the author’s portrayal of Skywalker transcends the whiney character of the movies to become the tortured soul who just wants to save his loved ones from danger.
The tragedy is that they use him as a pawn in their political dealings, which makes it easier to justify when, as Darth Vader, he starts decapitating them.
And the butchering continues via the dialogue of some of the supporting characters:
Obi-Wan sounds idiotic, beginning most of his sentences with “uhs” and “ahs.”
C-3P0 refers to Anakin and his wife having sex.
Overall, the author uses simple English, with the occasional sentence fragment and terms familiar to fanboys alone. They will enjoy reading about the “bantha fodder” on the receiving end of Vader’s light saber.
Nonetheless, the book is a good read for those who are alien to the franchise.
Rating *** (out of four)