Monday, November 8, 2010

Star Wars: Darth Maul - Shadow Hunter by Michael Reaves

Spoiler Level: High

As much as I love James Juceno, I have to admit that Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter feels like a better flow from the Darth Bane books than Luceno's Darth Maul: Saboteur and Cloak of Deception did.

News of Darth Sidious's plan to have the Niemodians blockade Naboo is in danger of leaking out, and Darth Maul is sent on a mission to kill the leak and anyone he's leaked it to.

Maul is captured perfectly here; ferocious, merciless, and ultimately not as bad-ass as he thinks he is.  On the surface of it, it seems like there's no way that a down-on-his-luck rogue can keep evading him, but it's due to Maul's arrogance and overconfidence just as much as the intervention (and inevitable sacrifices) of Jedi and a lot of luck.  Maul's impatience is a flaw that even Darth Sidious acknowledges in this book, and it's easy to see how it's going to get him killed in The Phantom Menace.

Since the book takes place immediately before Maul's introduction to the Jedi in Phantom Menace, it's inevitable of course that anyone who comes into contact with Maul is doomed to at least fail, if not die.  And to his benefit, Michael Reaves opens enough doors that I didn't know if the characters would be killed or manage to go underground long enough to outlive Maul, since he too is doomed to die in his next story.

Which raises my one big question:  After Darth Maul's death, Yoda and Mace Windu are left wondering which of the Rule of Two has died.  But as far as the books are concerned (including this one), the Jedi have thought the Sith to be extinct since the last great Sith war, which would be when Darth Bane started the Rule of Two and went underground.  So how does Yoda know "Always two, there are"...?

I read the novelization to The Phantom Menace when it came out, so next stop is the first Post-Episode I book, Rogue Planet!

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