Originally posted on The Canon Rebel - July 5th 2015
So how do you begin a review on a book you loved? I for one fear that my words just won’t do it justice, but here I am and what a privilege it is! First and foremost, my aim is to try and keep this review as spoiler free as possible, however you may find hints throughout the review as to what may occur throughout the book. If you’d like to read the book with completely fresh eyes then feel free to come back after you’ve read it.
I should start with a bit of an insight in to how this book came about. If you’re reading this you’re probably aware of The Clone Wars TV series. Sadly this was cancelled (they did give us Rebels – so all is forgiven), but scripts were written for another series. This book is made up of eight of those scripts. Some may say that the book could feel episodic as a result but I never felt that way, I tried to play a guessing game of when an episode may have begun and ended but failed miserably. I’m happy to say this book, in my opinion, flowed wonderfully.
So on to the review…
Jedi shouldn’t enter a emotional relationship, its one of the big rules of the Jedi Code, this story shows us why that is the case, why something that many in this world most desire, to be loved, can cause friction and sadly a fall into a worse place.
The tale starts off fun enough and Christie Golden paces the story perfectly, the opening is jovial and quick with the dialogue full of jokes with a side of playful banter. As the story develops and as the Dark Side becomes more prominent the pacing of the story slows down and the interchanges are shorter and more curt. When reading the opening chapters I wrote that Vos was “quick witted, uncomplicated and fun, as is this book” and it was. However, towards the conclusion the fun remains but the story can be gruelling at times. Golden has been able to create a story that had me very much emotionally invested.
The preview to the book hints at a growing romantic relationship between Vos and Ventress and I won’t deny that this occurs. What Golden depicts perfectly is how this relationship takes control of them both. In chapters 13 and 14 she cleverly shows how Ventress has total command over Vos and therefore how much power she wields over any actions he may take. Many of these choices have massive repercussions later on in the book.
This is not the kind of control that Palpatine has over his Empire and its associates but Ventress has taken Vos’ heart. He yearns to do everything in this book for her, not for a “greater good” but for the woman he loves. As a Jedi who grew up in the temple, this goes against everything he has ever learnt. Sadly the grass is not always greener on the other side.
However, I do understand why Vos disregarded this upbringing. How many of us find joy in something we have never experienced, especially an action that has been kept from us by our superiors? Vos’ behaviour is completely understandable from this point of view, albeit with disastrous consequences. It is this emotional turmoil that creates a wonderful story that many will find themselves lost in. The story of a Jedi Master and a former Sith running away together for what they see as just and noble reasons.
This relationship between Vos and Ventress is something to be desired, it is thoughtful, loving and they do make a great team. As the reader you will them on, you urge them to work and somehow succeed. Golden shows this superbly as neither can say the word “love” but all of their actions show that they do love one another. Ventress, in The Clone Wars, has been dropped and betrayed by all the people she has cared for, and she lets her guard down one more time. As some one with a soft spot for Ventress I hoped that once again, this decision to fall for Vos didn’t end with her broken.
Obviously there are more characters than the two main protagonists, Golden manages to bring in the whole cast of The Clone Wars without the book feeling too crowded, she even manages to work in a scene between Padme and Anakin.
Some of the most delightful moments in the book include the Jedi Council and the variety of characters there are. Golden weaves the temperaments and their starkly different personalities superbly with council meetings not feeling like boring debates but crucial moments. This is accentuated when the council chooses to send a Jedi Master and a former Sith (!) to partake in an assassination. This shows how far the council have fallen prior to the events of Revenge of the Sith, going against everything they have ever stood for. The quotation that opens this review highlights this point, it is said by the leader of the council, Yoda.
Christie gets the makeup of the characters in the council just right; Yoda is thoughtful and speaks rarely where as Mace Windu is brash and quick to jump in to any point, even if that makes him unpopular amongst his peers. Her writing of Obi-Wan is perfect and highlights the fact he has been missing from all of the canon so far, for me, it shows just how important a character in the Star Wars universe he really is.
On the character of Obi-Wan: he is the glue between Vos and Ventress and comes out of this book as the most noble of the Jedi. That isn’t in his skills with a lightsaber but because of who he is as a man. Obi-Wan comes across as the most gentle and thoughtful and ultimately he is the one that feels the decision of the council weighs heavily on them all and this is because of the effect it has on him. I already loved Obi-Wan but after this book and the way he is written my respect for him just grew and grew.
Overall, and I know I said this about Lords of the Sith, this book is the best yet in Canon. Its an emotional rollercoaster that genuinely had me up to the early hours and nearly returning late from lunch breaks as I just had to know what happened to Vos and Ventress. This is a book you can’t miss, the consequences are far reaching but the sole reason you can’t miss this book is because it’s a fantastic story that is incredibly written. I for one hope Christie Golden is warmly invited back to write more in the Star Wars universe, I’d welcome her with open arms.
Enjoy, it’s a must read.