This was an excellent performance of a terrible story. It reminded me of The Phantom Menace, which required viewers to sit through two and a half hours of meetings, talking, politics, and mind-numbing backstory just to get to five minutes of cool stuff.
I kept waiting for the author to get to some decent red meat, but as is usually the case in Star Wars novels they put a dramatic image of a Sith warrior on the cover of a book that drones on and on about Jedi and forced, bland descriptions of softcore relationship tension between them, instead.
If you're going to write a book about a Sith character, don't spend 60-70% of the text on Jedi.
Outstanding vocal performance across a wide range of speech patterns, accents and tonal differences. Thompson did a great job with some poor material.
Generally speaking, any Star Wars book with "Darth" In the title is going to be 60% about Jedi or regular humans; just shy of false advertising. This one's a bit better, incorporating Maul, Sidious and Plagueis with just enough chicanery from the norms to make their exploits interesting. To be honest, I was expecting more from a premise of Maul surrounded by murderers and cutthroats... but the story did its job.
First of all, John Glover does an EXCELLENT job as narrator. He has a strong voice that emotes well without getting ostentatious or repetitive. I particularly enjoyed the neti (a tree-like creature), a fringe character whose speech changed dramatically after a critical turning point in the story.
The problem is that the whole zombie apocalypse thing has just about run its course, and this story is not materially different from Schreiber's previous Star Wars novel, Death Troopers. The characters aren't that engaging and seem wooden, with little bits of background thrown in here and there but not early or deep enough in the story to make the reader/listener care about what happens to them. That one character's introduction is a direct lift off a seminal line from the film "Taken" [okay, Liam Neeson played a Jedi, I get the joke] didn't help, either.
Overall a decent, if redundant, horror slice well played by a veteran audiobook performer, but nothing to write home about.
It can be a little confusing, since the synopsis provided (Luke/Ben + Sith) isn't the only story going on here. Multiple, unconnected storylines about Jedi, slavery, media bias, romance and political scheming by dozens of characters on multiple planets make for a jumble. There are also a lot of references to past events which are not fully explained, so one can't just pick this up without being a little put off by the backstory one should have already read. Still a decent piece of work, tho.
I had to stop before I was halfway through this one: innocent young girls, cruelly and pointlessly victimized by ugly and coarse men; women struggling valiantly to protect themselves and their beloved sisters in an unjust world; a miracle babe, born with a heart-shaped birthmark on its wrist; a handsome young farmboy working his way through college, surrounded by (all male) hypocrites who hide behind their pedigrees. You need hip-waders. This is what we call "emotional pornography," like a Lifetime TV movie.
That said, the narration is well done, particularly when the reader switches accents. That's the book's one saving grace.
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