James Luceno is a fantastic author who does not get the respect he deserves. I've been reading his stuff going all the way back to his Robotech days. I tend to dislike Star Wars novels, but those written by Luceno are the ones I read. His complex characters and use of language is just amazing.
I agree with the over reviewers that using Daniel Davis for this book was a genius choice. That deep, classic voice with the British accent is *perfect* for the characters in this book.
The first half of this book ranks up there with of the most entertaining books I've ever read (or heard). That's high praise because I've read 1000's of books in my life, fiction and nonfiction both. His insights into the mind of evil characters, and of the Dark Side, are amazing. Oh, if only the second half of the book was like the first...
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS!
Did you read that there are spoilers ahead? Okay...you've been warned...
While Luceno does a great job and showing the evil Plagueis and Sideous, he does something with the plot in the latter half of the book that completely shortchanges Sideous as an evil mastermind. He essentially recons the entire Star Wars story to show that during the events of The Phantom Menace, it was *Plagueis* who is behind everything, not Sideous. HUH? Yeah. Can you imagine that during the entire time frame of TPM and everything leading up to it, Sideous was taking orders from Plagueis, and Plagueis exits the story only AFTER the events of Phantom Manace?
Thought the Darth Sideous was the evil mastermind behind everything that happens in the novels and prequel movies? Not according to Luceno. Darth Sideous is relagated to a second-in-command character during this time frame. Yuck.
Oh well. Still a good book, but damn, that latter half really blew it for me.
Here's the bottom line -
It's good, but not as good as the rest of Clavell's novels. If you are not up to speed on the rest of Clavell's works, read them first. If you are, do not expect this book to be as good as Shogun or Noble House. The characters are not as interesting and the story is not as epic or complex. However, it's not "horrible". It's still an extremely well-written novel and Clavell's skill as a writer is still obvious in this book.
John Lee's preformance is astoundingly good as usual. He is easily the best narrator on Audible in my opinion and likely the best I've heard in my life.
Fans of Clavell, this is a worthy read. Just don't expect the usual. Non-fans should stay away.
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