Lords of the Sith: Star Wars by Paul S. Kemp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Twi'lek Freedom Fighters Cham Syndulla, Isval, and the Free Ryloth movement find themselves with an opportunity too rare to pass up on...the chance to kill The Emperor and Darth Vader. The leaders of the Empire are traveling together to Ryloth, the home of the Free Ryloth movement. Cham will use every resource he has to strike the head from the Empire and watch the body die so Ryloth can be free once more. The resistances ambush leaves The Emperor and Darth Vader stranded in the forests of the planet while being hunted by the planets apex predators and the resistance. Despite all the loss of imperial life and being stranded on the planets surface, The Emperor's unconcerned gaze and half smile makes it appear as though all is going according to his plan.
Lords of the Sith was easily one of the best Star Wars books I've read. Paul S. Kemp delves deeply into the mind and abilities of Darth Vader letting us see his anger fueled into the force in different and deadly ways. Kemp writes some of the most awe inspiring moments I've read on Darth Vader's abilities.
The sound of a man on a respirator never feels quite as terrifying as when Darth Vader is chasing down protagonists as the grim reaper of the Empire. Darth Vader is the bogeyman, the scary story at the campfire, and the symbol of danger to every species in the galaxy. He is the physical manifestation of the force in a universe where the Jedi are practically extinct. The story constantly reinforces that few have seen a force practitioner by making statements such as he's not a man and he does things no one should be able to do.
Like every individual who's lived through a moment of terror those that have seen Vader fight have nightmares about it all throughout the novel. Who wouldn't though? If a man in all black choked me with an invisible hand that I can't fight against then I'd have nightmares too. One difference between me and the characters in the book is if I lived through that I'm running home sitting in the shower fully clothed hugging my knees with the water soaking me. I would NOT be chasing after the man with magical powers!
The scariest part of this is the reinforcement that regardless of how scary and deadly Vader is his master aka Emperor Palpatine aka Darth Sidious aka THE Lord of the Sith is even more dangerous. I've seen all the movies, Palpatine was not young when Luke and Leia finally became a bump in their mother's stomach. The people of the universe think he's a helpless old man, but this book, The Revenge of the Sith, and The Return of the Jedi clearly proved otherwise. It was interesting to see that The Emperor purposely makes people believe he's helpless likely so if anyone made it past Vader they'd be electrified with force lightning before they knew what was happening. Palpatine sits, smiles, cackles, and depresses the poor people and beasts that just want to kill him.
I feel for the Free Ryloth movement because knowing they're never mentioned in the movies means things can't go well for them. Cham is a wise leader and he makes the most of his opportunity. It would be interesting to see if any of the Free Ryloth movement members appear in any future expanded universe books.
I was surprised and slightly disappointed to learn that The Clone Wars cartoon show is canon. Darth Vader thinks of Ashoka and her nickname Snips. The cartoon show always seemed a bit too kiddy to be part of the canon, but it clearly must be.
My only actual complaint against the book is I wanted to see a lot more from Darth Vader's point of view and I wanted to see from Palpatine's point of view. Cham, Isval, Belkor, and Mors all were strong point of view characters in a memorable story, but I really just wanted to be in the heads of the Lords of the Sith.
Lords of the Sith was a fun Star Wars adventure in the new expanded universe.
4 out of 5 stars
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
View all my reviews