Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Star Wars Dark Disciple Book Review: A Clone Wars Love Story Done Well

Star Wars Dark Disciple is a new cannon novel based on undeveloped Clone Wars episodes. The original story scripts were written by Katie Lucas, yes that Lucas’s daughter. The novel was adapted and written by Christie Goldstein. Dark Disciple is the story of how Jedi Master Quinlan Vos is charged to assassinate Count Dooku. The Jedi Council also wants Vos to enlist the help of Asajj Ventress, Dooku’s former apprentice and current mortal enemy.
What works so well in Dark Disciple is the relationship between Vos and Ventress. Vos is a roughish Jedi who lives undercover and flirts with the seedy underworld on a regular basis. It makes him the perfect Jedi to try and get close to Ventress. Ventress starts off hating Vos, but his charm finally starts to wear on her. The relationship harkens to the love story of Han and Leia, with how much Ventress outwardly hates on Vos and everything he does. Slowly however, she starts to warm to the man who portrays himself as her bounty hunter partner. Ventress soon lets Voss know that she was aware he was a Jedi all along.
The story then picks up when Ventress begins to train Vos in the dark side. It’s not the Sith Arts, but how the Witches of Dathomir use the dark side. Ventress takes Vos to Dathomir to train him. The training scenes reminded me of Dagobah and Yoda training Luke. This time we get to see the reverse. We get witness how a Dark Jedi is trained surrounded by living things. It is still eerily similar to how Yoda trained Luke, but perverted. What makes this interesting is Vos is already a Jedi Master. He has lived the Jedi code for his entire life, but Ventress opens his view to a much larger world in more ways than one.
To have Vos simply start using the dark side would not be enough to turn him completely. Something else must commit him down this path. The love that grows between Voss and Ventress is what locks him into turning his back on his Jedi beliefs. It is a good example of explaining why the Jedi do not marry. It shows how dangerous losing yourself completely to another person can be and how much it can corrupt. The love story is needed to make the plot believable. Without it the question of how a Jedi Master is turned to using the dark side could not be answered. Using love, Ventress is able to bend Voss’s will and get him to buy into using the dark side. Ventress thinks using the dark side is the only way to defeat Dooku.
Where the story suffers is that we know the eventual ending of the main mission. We know that Ventress and Voss do not succeed in killing Dooku. We do know it takes some dark side powers to finally defeat him, just not by these two force users. I’m not sure if that is foreshadowing since we already knew the events of Revenge of the Sith, but I like the use of whatever device it is. You want both Voss and Ventress to succeed in their task, but know it will fail. What is interesting is the different twists the story takes.
I was never quite sure where the story was going to go next. I did have one part of the story spoiled for me, but I wasn’t sure how the event would unfold. Vos’s descent into the darkside is not predictable.  In the end I am extremely glad we got this story in book form. I’m not sure the Clone Wars show would have been able to fully develop the themes the book brought up. The show did go dark in the last few seasons, but I’m not sure they would have been able to include everything in this book. I think it deals with the love story in such a way that would have been lost on what was supposed to be a children’s show.
From this story I truly wish Lucas would have let his daughter have a crack at rewriting Clone Wars the movie. She might have been too young at the time, but just the development of this concept proves she has talent. Which her father does too, but writing dialogue isn’t his strongest trait. I wouldn’t be typing this review without the man, and the prequels faults have been well established. That being said if Anakin’s and Padme’s love story were developed in the way this story progressed The Clone Wars movie would have been vastly better. We would have actually cared about what happed between Padme and Anakin, not just waiting for her to give birth to Luke and Leia. There I said my peace.
Dark Disciple is a must read for those who were fans of the Clone Wars. For those who never watched the show it probably can be passed up. That is not an indictment of the story. I just think to have a good reference on who Ventress is as a character you need to have watched Clone Wars. I don’t think people would be lost in the story, but some of the impact of the would be diminished. If you want to read a love story set in the Star Wars Universe done right, pick it up.

Have you read Dark Disciple? What did you think of it if you did? Do you think fans need to have read Clone Wars to enjoy the book? Comment and let me know. 

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