Originally Posted on The Canon Rebel - May 7th 2015
Spoilers are ahead
This is a book all about one thing…power. The power of destruction, the power of hope, power struggles and even just pure physical power.
Lords of the Sith is, in my opinion, the best book out of the four new canon novels published by Del Rey. It is rammed full of action and best of all some intriguing relationships and protagonists throughout the book. These are going to be the basis of my blog but I do want to start with one thing.
The action sequences are nothing short of spectacular! Darth Vader in the first chapter is insane. Paul S. Kemp recently tweeted about loving the term “beast-mode” regarding Vader here and if thats good enough for him, then thats good enough for me!
There are space battles, land battles and even fights under the earth – if you like your Star Warsbooks with a lot of lightsabers and blasters then I think its safe to say you’ll enjoy this book.
Thankfully, its not all action and therefore no substance. Woven in amongst the cast of characters are some compelling relationships which adds a lot of weight to the story – being based before A New Hope we know who is going to end the day on top but Kemp kept my attention throughout the whole book because of these fascinating pieces on the chess board of Ryloth.
The most enthralling story and arguably the most important is the simmering relationship between Vader and The Emperor. What I enjoyed most about this book is the anguish that Vader goes through when following his master. You really get to see the man behind the black mask and intriguingly the thoughts he still has about his past. I have always seen Vader as an emotionless being, this only changing when he finds out about Luke in Empire Strikes Back. However, during this book and the comics bearing his name, we see reflections on his past. These include thoughts of his mother and heart-breakingly Ashoka who he even refers to as “Snips”. Is this a very early hint at his redemption in Return of the Jedi? Possibly, but this moment mid way through the book shows Vader as a much more complex character than the cold-blooded killer we see in the first chapter.
A whole other aspect in their relationship is the infamous Sith Rule of Two. Ultimately the apprentice will normally kill his master and Darth Sidious is fully aware of this and speaks openly about it a number of times. The fact he is conscious of this and even talks about it with Vader shows a huge element of control – the control over Vader we see so much of from Episode Three. We all know how this relationship ends but Kemp gave us an eye-opening insight in to not only the early days of this fragmented relationship but also the cunning of The Emperor.
That could be enough for some people but Kemp just keeps on giving and so we move on to two other forms of power. Those who are agonisingly aware of it, Cham of the Free Ryloth Movement, and those who want to run away from it, Moff Morrs. Ultimately one loses it all and the other has to accept the fact that power comes with responsibility and face up to their previous mistakes.
I’ll start with Cham, an interesting character, who we first meet arguing to himself that he is not a terrorist but a “freedom fighter” and in my opinion he is indeed the latter – shown by his actions during the final arc. Cham has the weight of power and authority heavily on his shoulders – his life’s work has come to this moment and all the actions and consequences are on him – thankfully he is mindful of his burden but sadly that comes at a cost of his happiness. We see where Hera, his daughter, gets her drive but ultimately we see the result of fighting for a cause continuously with your heart on your sleeve – that cause becoming bigger than yourself.
Moff Morrs, on the other hand, had done everything she can to run away from power and responsibility since the death of her wife. She is painfully aware that grief has led her to this and she has made many mistakes in her leadership. Her recognition of this at the end of the novel warmed me to her immensely and even though we don’t find out what happens to her, I do hope she pulled through as she changed immensely throughout the book and ended as someone with an element of control and dignity.
There are many characters that I haven’t even mentioned in this blog and I’d implore you to explore them for yourselves as I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The pursuit and use of power is behind many a good story but Kemp delightfully shows us how people go about it very differently and shows how there are very few who can really control it. The Emperor is one such man and as he says “strength is power, and power is the point.”
Thanks and let me know what you thought,