The Darth Plagueis novel has been on my list of books to read forever but my busy schedule has made it super difficult to get any reading done. However, as I mentioned a little while back, being on the road a lot is the perfect opportunity for audio books. It’s the audio book version that I’ll be reviewing. I’ll mention the audio features later but for now let’s start with the story itself.
First off, it had been a while since I’d read any of James Luceno’s work, and I had forgotten just how great of a writer he is! It reminded me that as an independent writer I need to continue to step up my game. So his writing alone was inspiring. His descriptions painted the perfect picture and he’s a master of keeping a great viewpoint while describing all of the characters in a scene wonderfully.
In 2014 it was announced that the Star Wars Expanded Universe would be redefined. In short, this left previous EU titles, including Darth Plagueis, under the Legends banner, and no longer part of the official canon. This is where it gets interesting, as the novel Darth Plagueis explores not only the origins of Plagueis, but Darth Sidious as well. Unlike the post-Return of the Jedi books, none of this (to my knowledge so far) has been changed. This leaves me to wonder if we can still consider this the definite origins of these characters. I feel like we can, at least until another story perhaps rewrites it.
Regardless, Darth Plagueis was a blast, lending a very strong back story to the prequel trilogy movies, especially The Phantom Menace. While a lot of the political details can be a bit overwhelming and perhaps even a bit exhausting at times, they come together perfectly and help the overall story that we see in the movies to have more of an explanation.
I won’t spoil anything, but the book has some nice surprises that shed some light on not just to characters from The Phantom Menace, but also to some from Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith as well.
My favorite part is the insight into Palpatine’s conversation with Anakin at the opera in Episode III, which to be honest, was my main reason for choosing this novel. By the end of the story I was quite satisfied with what I’d been wondering about, while still left with enough questions to keep some mystery.
The audio book version, read by Daniel Davis, was a lot of fun and really added a lot to the experience. Even the complicated political parts mentioned earlier were easy to get through thanks to the ambiance, sound effects and even music added at key parts. I was really impressed with the production that went into it.
To sum up, I would definitely recommend Star Wars: Darth Plagueis, despite it now being under the Legends banner. The history and insight it provides will be appreciated by Star Wars fans, especially those searching for a deeper examination of the Force.
Verdict: Thumbs up!