Page count: Hardcover 302, Paperback 359
Author: Christie Golden
Timeline: Follows The Clone Wars and precedes Revenge of the Sith
Main Characters: Quinlan Vos and Asajj Ventress
Brief Synopsis: An unusual mission, causing Jedi Master Quinlan Vos to team up with former Sith Asajj Ventress, forces Vos to decide which is more powerful, the seductive nature of the dark side or his new feeling of love.
When I first noticed this book and read a little bit about the plot, I checked many times to make sure it was canon. The whole idea of the book is just fascinating, and I was worried that the new Disney material wasn’t daring enough for a book like this. But it is! The overarching point of the book is Quinlan Vos essentially learns Dark Side powers to try and kill Count Dooku. Doing so, he teams up with Asajj Ventress. I love her character, so I was REALLY excited for this book. And it did not disappoint, like at all. The story was incredible from beginning to end. It exceeded my expectations when it came to its dark nature and the romance content was a welcomed surprise. My only complaint with this book is it seemed to wrap up quicker than I wanted. Beyond that, this is one of my favorite Star Wars books that I’ve read so far and it has also some of the best pure Star Wars content that I’ve experienced, in any form. I’m so glad this book was written as it was based on unproduced episodes of The Clone Wars, it’s a story that had to be told.
Characters (20/20 pts)
The biggest strength to characters in Dark Disciple comes with character development and something I call character-defining moments. I may have mentioned these before, but they are specific moments that define a character’s identity. This book had many of them, and they steered both Quinlan Vos and Asajj Ventress in directions that I wasn’t expecting. Even though their directions were unexpected, they still seemed to make sense with how Christie Golden made it happen. This character development also gave our two main characters significant depth and relatability. This is impressive to do because both characters were fairly different, but I still related to the actions of them both. This relatability caused me to form an emotional attachment. This is fairly crucial because once I get an emotional attachment to the book, I’m hooked! So from this, I am giving full points for characters.
Writing Style (18/20 pts)
I mentioned this in my previous review, but I guess it is worth mentioning again. I’m not expecting many variations in my points to this section for Star Wars books because almost all the authors are New York Times Bestselling Authors. Dark Disciple was well written. There was a decent amount of depth and it seemed on par in writing style with other Star Wars books. My only complaint is the continued use of the word “doubtless” seemed a bit out of place. However, the writing was still good, but not spectacular, so I am giving 18 points.
Plot (18/20 pts)
Oh man, I was expecting to give Dark Disciple a full 20 points for this section throughout almost the entire book. It was just so unique covering dark aspects of the Star Wars universe, an unexpected romance, and lots of action that I didn’t expect anything else other than a perfect score. However, the conclusion of a book is important to the plot. As I was reading through the final climactic scenes, I was a little surprised by how few pages that were remaining. While what actually happened during the conclusion was quality content, it just didn’t seem to be given enough attention by Golden. If the conclusion was given about double the pages, I think I would feel much more satisfied with the overall story. Instead, I am left with a weird feeling where I am wanting just a little bit more. For the superb quality of the entire book, it just felt so out of place for the conclusion to not be of the same quality. So even though almost the entire plot was incredible, with the conclusion, it will get the slightly imperfect score of 18 points.
Intrigue (20/20 pts)
This book definitely benefited from a unique storyline with some equally fascinating characters. So even before the book began, my interest level was fairly high. But beyond the content, Golden’s writing style and development of the characters kept my interest at a high level throughout the entire book. I burned through it and didn’t want to put the book down at almost any point. It was a very exciting ride through and through, and that is why Dark Disciple is getting a perfect score for intrigue.
What does it add? (19/20 pts)
This was a pretty difficult section for me to rate. There was a lot going on and there are a couple of major points of interest for this section.
First, it just adds a new perspective to Star Wars as this isn’t really a story of a hero, it is a story of an anti-hero. While Thrawn, I believe, is also an anti-hero, this time the anti-hero is force-sensitive which makes this addition to the universe interesting. This perspective showed what it truly means to fall to the dark side of the force and what it does to a person. I think we know a lot more about the light side of the force with what canon is available, so this book’s anti-hero approach gave much new information on the dark side. That information was something I was looking for when I started this book, and it did not disappoint.
Second, it kind of gives more of an idea of what balance in the force looks like. If you read one of my previous articles, I mention that we really don’t know what balance in the force means. However, it should include elements of both the light and dark sides of the force. This is something that Vos tried to achieve and we learn more about that pursuit of balance. It is difficult to attain, almost like chasing the end of a rainbow. It is still unclear what balance means, but Dark Disciple gives more information to this problem.
Finally, Asajj Ventress is a REALLY cool character. If you aren’t familiar with her, I would suggest that you check the episodes of The Clone Wars that she is featured in. After Count Dooku betrays Ventress, and she becomes a bounty hunter, her character arch lacked closure. This book provided some closure for one of the more interesting characters in the Star Wars universe.
So Dark Disciple did add some fairly interesting and needed content that is why I am giving 19 points for this section.
Logic (+1 pts)
I’m not sure about you, but I know that I’ve always been a little curious as to why Anakin’s eyes turn yellow in The Revenge of the Sith. Maybe what was more perplexing is that sometimes they were yellow, and sometimes they were not. It’s not a huge plot point or anything, but it is content that I wanted to be explained. Dark Disciple does provide some context for why some dark side user’s eyes turn yellow and the significance of it. You may not think it is that interesting, but I do and that is why I’m awarding one point for logic.
The final grade for Dark Disciple is a 96/100, which is coincidentally the same score I gave to Lost Stars. These two books are my highest rated ones yet, while Dark Disciple in my mind has better actual Star Wars content and Lost Stars may be the higher-quality book in general that almost anyone can enjoy. If you only have an interest in the Star Wars films, Dark Disciple may not be right for you, but if you do have an interest in the expanded universe, this book is a MUST read. It is essentially the Reylo (Rey and Kylo’s ‘ship name) story that fans are desperately wanting from Episode IV that they probably won’t get. If you are interested enough to want to read this book, I have no doubt that you will enjoy it.
I hope you enjoyed this book review and if there is a book that you want me to read or review, please let me know at email@example.com. As for now, I will only be doing Canon books (but in the future that might change).
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