Today’s TT coincides with May the Fourth, so I’m highlighting some Star Wars books!
The Darth Bane trilogy, Drew Karpyshyn
“Always two there are. No more, no less.” This trilogy is set in the Old Republic — really old Republic, before the Sith order we know is even a thing — and follows a young miner’s growth in the force, embracing the Sith and then brutally transforming the order to make it better obtain its purpose. Although Bane is a villain character, the creator of Star War’s bad-guy-brigade, Karpyshyn nevertheless succeeds in making him sympathetic and his rise to malicious greatness worth reading.
This book features a meeting between Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus and Yoda, during the Clone Wars. I don’t remember much abou the plot, other than the general interest Dooku inherently adds, but one quote from it has lodged in my head for twelve years: “It’s always so easy to avoid other people’s vices, isn’t it?” To me, it’s remained an important reminder to stay mindful of one’s own limits, and not to be self-satisfied because we’re all flawed in different ways.
The original Thrawn books, I hasten to add, the ones that spurred the entire Star Wars extended universe that Disney has thrown out like yesterday’s trash despite the fact that there’s more craft in a chapter of one of Zahn’s books than in Disney’s entire maligiant deposit of ersatz Star Wars. Zahn introduced us to Grand Admiral Thrawn, leading a remnant of Imperial forces after the destruction of the Emperor. Not only is he one of the most interesting villains ever — someone who can interpret the psychology of a people through their art, for instance — but he’s not ‘evil’ despite being on the ‘bad guy side’, and his leadership of the Imperial remnant borders on admirable. Compare that to the odiously superficial ‘first order’, who just exist to sneer and twitch their mustaches. (I have…issues with DisneyWars and stopped watching it in disgust.)
Revenge of the Sith, Matt Stover
A novelization of the third movie doesn’t sound all that promising, but Stover delivered, adding and expanding scenes and characterization which made up for the film’s weaknesses and made it far more sensible.
Darth Plagueis, James Luceno
Did you ever hear the tale of Darth Plagueis the Wise? ….well, then read it. The novel is more about the rise of Palpatine, but that’s an argument in its favor rather than against it.