Review: Shadow of the Sith is a dark yet hopeful sequel-era Skywalker story

Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher. Image courtesy
Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher. Image courtesy /

Shadow of the Sith, the newest adult Star Wars novel, achieves the rare feat of feeling like it belongs in both the epic, adventurous Legends era and the heart- and soul-infused new canon. It’s a Luke Skywalker story. It’s a Lando Calrissian adventure. It’s a deliciously dark piece of Sith lore. It’s essential reading set in the time period we’ve been waiting years for.

At 496 pages, the book by Adam Christopher is on the lengthier end of the Star Wars book spectrum. But Shadow of the Sith‘s story flies by, telling an edge-of-your-seat tale that seamlessly weaves every era of Star Wars together and builds a sturdy bridge between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher. Image courtesy
Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher. Image courtesy /

The overarching plotline of Christopher’s novel is the race to help Rey’s parents, Dathan and Miramir, escape the reach of the Sith and Ochi of Bestoon, who’s been tasked with hunting the family of three. Dathan is a Palpatine clone who escaped Exegol, met and married Miramir, and fathered little Rey, who’s about 6 years old in the novel.

At this time, it’s about 17 years after Return of the Jedi and 13 years before The Force Awakens. The galaxy is relatively at peace. The New Republic is in charge, and Luke Skywalker has created a new Jedi Order. His nephew Ben Solo is his first Padawan and helps run the fledgling Jedi temple and train a handful of Force-sensitive younglings.

Lando Calrissian, the swaggering and self-assured gambler-turned-general is now grappling with the grief of losing his daughter. He’s haunted by the loss of Kadara, who was kidnapped six years prior. He’s been scouring the galaxy for any sign of her, and this mission to help a family and their young daughter ignites a fire in him that he hasn’t felt since his days fighting for the Rebellion.

Each main character is haunted by something – though they have different reasons for their dedication to the novel’s mission.

Luke is haunted by visions of the Sith planet Exegol and a disturbance in the Force – all while trying to build the future of the Jedi. For Lando, it’s the hole left by his daughter.

Even Ochi is haunted by the decades of hunting and killing he’s done in dedication to the Sith and a lust for power.

For Dathan and Miramir, Rey is their entire world, their sun, their universe. Her safety is of the utmost priority, and they will do everything in their power to keep her safe.

These two know exactly who is hunting them and why. The book gives the perfect dose of backstory for both, exploring the origins of Miramir’s ingenious tech and engineering skills and how she met Dathan. It also shows that Miramir knew all about who Dathan is and where he came from – and she loves him unconditionally anyway.

Christopher also brilliantly explores the horrors of Dathan’s childhood as a surviving clone of Palpatine, but one who does not exhibit Force sensitivity. Growing up on Exegol with very little care and compassion, it’s astounding that Dathan is capable of the love he exhibits for his wife and daughter.

While Sith assassin and Jedi hunter Ochi of Bestoon is the primary antagonist, he’s not the only villain in this book. The titular and mysterious shadow of the Sith isn’t who you think it is. They’re a fascinating and tragic horror and one that left me craving more Sith legends.

Shadow of the Sith shines like a brilliant red lightsaber when it leans into dark, esoteric Sith lore. When Luke finally confronts this mysterious Sith worshipper, it gets real weird, real fast. The book dips a toe into tales of Star Wars horror I hope we’ll get to read and see more of very soon.

Christopher’s debut Star Wars novel is a high-stakes adventure that builds even more emotional dept into legacy characters like Luke and Lando while fusing them with newer ones like Rey, Dathan, and Miramir.

Though we know how this all ends – with both tragedy and hope – you can’t help but root for Rey’s brilliant and loveable parents as they race across the galaxy trying to keep their daughter safe from the clutches of the Sith.

The novel expands upon the heroic feats of the Luke Skywalker from the original trilogy and sets up the triumphs and tragedies experienced by the hermit Jedi Master of the sequel films. It also boosts the literary work of Chuck Wendig (the Aftermath trilogy) and George Mann, whose Dark Legends anthology is a perfectly creepy accompaniment to Shadow of the Sith.

The lengthy story fills in many of the gaps presented in The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker, providing must-needed history and context. But the novel is no filler episode.

Shadow of the Sith is its own unique story, expanding and strengthening beloved legacy characters and introducing fascinating new ones. It’s as much a tale of aging war heroes as it is about the emotional ties that bind or break people.

The book’s story will resonate with fans who’ve been in awe of Jedi Luke Skywalker for decades. And it will make newer fans crave even more New Republic-era stories.

Shadow of the Sith is essential, fundamental reading for every kind of Star Wars fan.

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Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith is available now from Del Rey.