I guess you could call this a “pre-review”, or something like that, since it hasn’t even been released yet and I know nothing beyond what’s already public knowledge. Who knows, maybe I’ll have more to say after I’ve read it. Until then though… I felt like writing this.
The book is set to come out January 10th, 2012. James Luceno is the author. I’m pretty stoked about it to be honest; but given who the writer is I’m a little wary of looking forward to it very much. I read a couple of his books a few years ago – set during the Clone Wars and centering around Anakin Skywalker and Kenobi – and I’ve gotta say, if it hadn’t been a Star Wars book I probably wouldn’t have read it all the way through. I’m sure some people liked it, but I just didn’t (at all). For me it’s very rare that I only read a book once and have no interest in re-reading it (or at the very least, parts of it) over again, but with Cloak of Deception I wasn’t very WoWed, and Labrynth of Evil was so uninteresting for me I barely remember what the story was in that particular book. On the other hand, I thought The Unifying Force and Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader were pretty damn good. The latter was probably one of the most worthwhile explorations of Darth Vader I’ve come across so far. It doesn’t change that the character had the emotinoal maturity of a three year old, or that he was basically an all-around cripple (unable to fully utilize his mind, overcome by emotions he never truly understood, unable to fully use his body, incapable of even drawing on the Force as he could have before being confined to a mechanical suit), but I did like the angle he looked at Vader from. So the novel on Darth Plagueis might be a very good read, or it might be shit.
I guess it depends on how much realism is incorporated, how much it’s genuinely conveyed from the Sith perspective vs. how much the main characters are villianized simply because they’re supposed to be “evil”, the way the “good guys” look at them. Will he succeed in creating an anti-hero, someone that can be identified with and understood, or will he obscure that with the devilry and demonizing to make them seem more… sinister? I’ve seen both done in the vast array of Star Wars novels, and especially the movies. As a matter of fact, I think Lucas has even said that he wanted Palpatine to essentially be the Devil of Star Wars, the embodiement of ‘evilness’. Time will tell I guess.
It seems like the more Sith (or Sith influenced characters) are involved in the story he’s paid to tell, the better he does, so I’m hoping that January will see a release of awesomeness. I’ve got to say though, even if the guy doesn’t disappoint, I doubt he can top the depth or straightforwardness Drew Karpyshyn, author of the Darth Bane trilogy and soon to be released The Old Republic: Revan, achieved in the telling of Bane’s tale.