April 19, 2005

Labyrinth of Evil

Another Star Wars book I read over the weekend is the new Episode III prequel that is out now by James Luceno called "Labyrinth of Evil". I'm not going to read Stover's book treatment of Episode III, certainly not before I see the movie, so it is hard to see just what plot developments in here are significant. I'll be interested to see just how much is used of the set-up here which occurs immediately before III begins.

This book pretty much stays on Anakin and Obi-Wan is they try to hunt down Dooku and also try to find clues as to head bad guy Darth Sidious' real identity (which if you don't know is Palpatine by now, then you're not a fan anyway, so what do you care if there are spoilers here). There are also some scenes with Yoda, Mace Windu and the Jedi Council on Coruscant as they try to track things down on their end. Probably the most interesting part of the prequel trilogy so far for me has been how Palpatine has used political manuevers to gain power, and that continues in the most well-written part of this book.

Amidala has very little time here, except to establish how much she has the hots for Anakin, who is always off on some Clone War related mission. There's also some good stuff in here on the clones, how they think, how they are ethically dealt with, how they fight, etc. I haven't read the other five or so Clone War books (published by Del Rey) or any of the Dark Horse comics that follow Boba Fett, so I'm not sure what else has been officially established as "canon" since Episode II ended. This is the first I've seen of the cyborg General Greivous, who is apparently a big player in Episode III. He's a military genius brainwashed to serve Palapatine and Dooku (Sidious and Tyrannus), and his mechanical body makes him a good fighter. He likes to collect Jedi light sabers and hang them from his belt as trophies. Nice touch.

Of all the books I've read that take place just before or just after one of the episodes, this is probably among the best, but that may be because I didn't know the end boundary conditions before I read the book. I think Luceno was given some freedom by Lucas to advance the plot incrementally in some areas, and it definitely adds a lot to the read. My guess is that the best time to read this book is during the next month before Episode III comes out. After that, most of the book's developments will be spoiled.

I'm going to read some of the other Clone Wars novels now, starting with "Shatterpoint", and see how it goes. I'm not normally such a voracious reader of Star Wars books, but I have read a few per year for the last ten years. And with the upcoming movie, I'm interested in getting some more of the backstory, something that really hasn't been possible with any other Star Wars episode.

Posted by Observer at April 19, 2005 07:25 AM

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