[singleicon id=”fa-empire” color=”#ab0000″ size=”1.3″] Alejandro Martinez
In my estimation, Darth Maul appears to be one of the most underrated Sith Lords. I mean, he receives about half the respect that he should. Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter gives a well structured brief background about our tattooed friend: from why he chose his lightsaber, to his own feelings toward his master and the Sith mission of galactic domination as a whole.
The book takes place only days before the beginning of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. The Trade Federation has a leak, the secret of the Sith might be shared with the Jedi, and Jar-Jar is still alive. To remedy the incompetence of the Neimoidian leaders, Darth Sidious sends his apprentice, Darth Maul, to find the leak (the lost ship comes later). Eager for the hunt, the Dathomirian warrior accepts his master’s mission and makes way for Coruscant. The majority of the story takes place in the lower levels of Coruscant, which is a newish aspect of the planet depending on your prior knowledge of the climate-controlled ‘oen-cockpit-speeder-infested’ world.
The first upside is Darth Maul, in one piece. It’s pretty wizard. The second, is a sarcastic upgraded protocol droid, I-5, with the sass status of five A New Hope Leias. Overall, the characters that author Michael Reaves creates and develops feel simple, stereotypically unique, and robust.
One aspect of the novel that stands out as noteworthy, is Padawan Assent’s first experience of complete immersion into The Force. The encounter is described clearly through the process following the Jedi code (there is no emotion, there is only peace). For a fan who reads, this was a breathe of fresh air after a glass of ice cold blue milk. To clearly articulate the relation of a force-user to The Force is a difficult feat. Half the time, that relation is left up to the imagination (and midi-chlorians whatever those are).
We are also exposed to new creatures in the underbelly of Coruscant, who are Force repellent. Forceless beings shake the foundation of what the Jedi believe about The Force, which always finds this fan titillating.
Lastly, the ending was unexpected and well designed. Knowing how it ultimately ends with the knowledge of the episode one, I surprisingly still felt the suspense and anticipation of a novel’s climax, and was pleased with the outcome.
Well, Jar-Jar does not make an appearance. But, I got over it. Other than that, my only other comment would be a seemingly unreal and rapid attraction between characters. Not quite as bad as Anakin’s ‘Are you an angel’ pick-up line, but I would like to know Reaves’ motives. It adds little to nothing to the overall story arc, and leaves this fan with a question mark embedded in his memory of the book.
I would recommend you give it a try. Do not expect quality literature, but I would assume you will find it entertaining as I did.
Death Star Rating: 3.5
…Or, several levels above ‘Bombad’; not quite ‘Wizard’ though.