Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Star Wars: Darth Bane - Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn

This is one of those books I initially had no interest in. I never cared for the Knights of the Old Republic games or comics, so I didn't really care. I felt I already knew what was important-- there used to be a bunch of Sith, they killed each other off, and so Darth Bane created the Rule of Two. What more was there to say about it?

Well, the Lost Tribe of the Sith had me more open to stories about the ancient Sith. And after seeing how the Sith operate, I was now more interested in seeing what made them go from an entire culture of their own to just two.

And I'm really glad I did. This is an incredible book. It benefits from not treating it simply as a Jedi story with Darth Bane being the bad guy-- Bane is the story's protagonist. We meet him as a miner with no future, and watch him grow to become a footsoldier in the Sith army to a Sith apprentice and then a Dark Lord of the Sith in his own right. And you can't help but feel a certain empathy for him. Like any well-developed character, he has his reasons for turning to the dark side, and watching him grow and learn and come to the conclusions that there should be only two Sith ("One to embody the power, and one to crave it") are fascinating to watch.

Some of the scenes towards the end of the book started to get a little familiar, so I checked Wookiepedia and found that it tied in with Dark Horse's Jedi vs. Sith comic, which I was really only lukewarm to at the time. So after I finished this book I re-read the comic, and I definitely enjoyed it more this time, although the comic's approach to Darth Bane still wasn't as interesting. I feel that Drew Karpyshyn really elevated that story to a new level-- the Jedi and the Sith having become so locked into their ongoing war on Ruusa that both sides have become like each other, and the Force becoming a muggy gray.

I'm not sure that I'll enjoy the next two books as much now that Darth Bane has found his path and established himself, but I definitely enjoyed this book enough that I'm looking forward to trying the next one to find out.

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