The fifth canon Star Wars novel, and the first of the new canon novels to feature a Clone Wars setting, is now available on hardback in stores! Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Fate of the Jedi author Christie Golden, with a foreword by Katie Lucas (daughter of George Lucas and co-writer on The Clone Wars) is a tale of intrigue, romance, and what happens to those who try to flirt with the Dark Side.
The synopsis, from Amazon:
"In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the Council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force’s power to bear—pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku’s side still runs deep, Ventress’s hatred for her former master runs deeper. She’s more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter—and assassin—to Vos’s quest.Together, Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku—as long as the emerging feelings between them don’t compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior’s spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts—a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy . . . and her own doubt."
Dark Disciple is based on eight The Clone Wars television scripts that weren’t released before the show’s cancellation. As a result, it’s at times a fun adventure amplified by a fast pace, and at other times a drama with that weight of thoughtfulness concerning complex themes that The Clone Wars was, and is still revered for.
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We’ve gathered reviews from recipients of advanced reader’s copies from around the fandom to give you a taste of what you will find if you pick up Dark Disciple (and, incidentally, as one of the recipients of an ARC of Dark Disciple, I highly recommend you do pick it up).
Bria from Tosche Station enjoyed the book but wonders if readers who are not fans of The Clone Wars will enjoy it.
"While there were things I did and did not like about the book, it was an overall enjoyable reading experience. While readers go in knowing the outcome (the mission fails, it has to fail,) Golden does a good job of building up anticipation and making you think that just maybe Vos and Ventress will succeed and Dooku will die. This is a book that’s more about the journey than the actual end result."
Dan Z and Cory Clubb of Coffee With Kenobi were awed.
"Dark Disciple is smart, captivating, and unforgettable, and is, to my mind, among the finest in Star Wars storytelling. The weight, emotion, and resonance of the relationship between Quinlan Vos and Asajj Vetress is powerful in its narrative splendor, as well as tragic and beautiful in storytelling craft. This is essential reading for Star Wars fans, and will no doubt be considered one of the best Star Wars novels ever written. This is not hyperbole either; it is that good."
Kay from FangirlBlog, however, was dissatisfied with the pacing, and which, along with character issues, translated into a dissatisfaction with the book as a whole.
"Too soon the pacing of Dark Disciple becomes the world’s most consistently disappointing rollercoaster with long, info-dumping setups and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it payoffs over and over again. The television show episode structure is still readily apparent, which might not be the worst if you want to imagine this as more episodes of The Clone Wars. But if you want to read it as one big story, it’s awkward."
Kay also disliked the way Ventress was portrayed.
"Author Christie Golden has shown repeatedly in her Star Wars stories a skill for dissolving female characters right before your eyes. Much like Vestara Khai and Jaina Solo before her, Golden turns the tough, self-sufficient Asajj Ventress into a floppy shadow of her former self in the presence of a romantic relationship. Although that transformation doesn’t happen until after she revisits the abusive relationship elements that left many readers unsettled in the Fate of the Jedi series."
For my part, I feel that Dark Disciple is one of the best, if not the best of the canon Star Wars novels. Though I, too, felt it had some issues with pacing, and was all over the place with regards to narrative and plot situation (read my review here), I loved the complexity of it. It was a kind of complexity that made me really think about what could be hard issues, and that’s something that none of the other canon Star Wars books have accomplished for me.
As always, it’s best to read the book yourself and discover what you think! Pick up Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden today!