My Star Wars (Life) Reviews – Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

What a great novel!

From Katie Lucas’ introduction to the final sentence this book is fantastic.

Originally written by Katie Lucas as two four part arcs set during The Clone Wars, Seasons Six and Seven the story follows Quinlan Vos, an unorthodox Jedi Master, who is sent by the Jedi Council to assassinate Count Dooku. The first part of his mission is to become acquainted with Dooku’s former apprentice-turned-Bounty Hunter, Assajj Ventress who has tried to kill Dooku before and convince her to try to help him.

Vos joins Ventress as her Bounty Hunting partner as as they start to develop feelings for each other, Vos tells her about his mission and she agrees to help him, but to do so she says he must embrace The Dark Side and takes him to Dathomir. Vos takes to his training and they begin a passionate relationship.

Their assassination attempt goes wrong and Vos is captured by Dooku, Ventress hires a group of Bounty Hunters, led by Boba Fett to rescue him. They reach Vos who, when he sees Ventress, turns on her, he had fully fallen to the Dark Side, become Dooku’s apprentice and discovered that she had killed his former Master.

After going to Obi-Wan, months later Ventress is brought before the Jedi Council to help bring Vos back and stop his reign of terror as the Separatist leader Admiral Enigma. Vos is captured and seemingly saved and returns to active duty within the Jedi Order, but he goes to Ventress and promises that when his mission is over they will be together. He admits to the Council that he tries to learn the identity of Darth Sidious but was never able to. Vos ends up going back to Dooku, the Jedi think he’s going to kill the Sith Lord but Ventress believes he is still under Dooku’s influence.

Obi-Wan, Anakin and Ventress go after them. Ventress takes Dooku and Vos on her ship to Christophsis and in the ensuing battle, all three are injured. Dooku betrays then both and attacks Vos but Ventress gets in the way, sacrificing herself for the man she loves. Dooku escapes as Obi-Wan and Anakin arrive and Ventress dies in Vos’s arms.

Obi-Wan requests that Ventress is remembered fondly in the Jedi Archives and takes Vos to Dathomir where he lays her body to rest and returns to the Jedi once again.

What I loved about The Clone Wars was how important they made the secondary characters. Take Asajj Ventress, she was a second-rate villain in the film, the character they added to the story so that Dooku and Grievous could maintain the character traits given to them in the films, someone who could fail and be held accountable, punished or even killed. But through the five seasons where we saw her she became a fan favourite character. Her overall story arc, from a young Jedi Apprentice to Sith Acolyte to Nightsister and then Bounty Hunter, and the pain she endured along the way, both physically and emotionally and we, as an audience, cared about her. The credit goes to Dave Filoni and his team of amazing writers and the voice talents of Nika Futterman for bringing this amazing character to life.

Ventress really shines as she takes centre-stage through the novel and we get to see a softer side to her usually hard and unsympathetic personality. Your heart breaks for her when Vos turns and calls her a liar and tries to kill her.

When she sacrifices herself to save Vos from Dooku, she is redeemed in the eyes of the Force and she is finally able to find peace, which, I would hope, she would have eventually found had Vos been able to let go of the Dark Side and left the Jedi like he said he would.

Vos has only appeared in one episode of The Clone Wars (but he was a main fixture in the Dark Horse Comics series ‘Star Wars: Republic) where he teamed up with Obi-Wan to track Ziro The Hutt on Nal Hutta. He is described as an unorthodox Jedi who does a lot of undercover missions in the criminal underworld, and when he is sent to assassinate Dooku, despite not a job he has done before he understands why he has been chosen. He’s cocky and funny, he doesn’t come across like any other Jedi we have seen, even Anakin, who whilst he is another unorthodox Jedi, he never seems to act quite like Vos and lacks the patience for the kind of work Vos does.

The relationship between Ventress and Vos is a slow burner, at first he’s an annoyance to her but they become a Bounty Hunter team and it’s when she finds out he’s a Jedi that things start to heat up but once they are on Dathomir it’s full steam ahead but it’s healed for both of them. She is used to being alone and Vos has to be alone because of his Jedi training, and yet, as a reader you want them to be together. I’m not a big ‘romance’ guy, I’ll openly admit that, but it’s a key part of Star Wars, Anakin and Padme and Han and Leia are so important to the plot lines of their respective trilogies, but I actually found myself rooting for their relationship and feeling gutted when Dooku messes it up for them. But at least at the end they know how each other feels and it’s good… well… kind of…

I really liked how the ‘main’ characters are on the sidelines for the most part. Obi-Wan has a bit to do as Vos’s point of contact and their relationship is brilliantly written. Anakin appears, mostly in the second half but it’s more of a supporting role, which is fine.

As a continuation of The Clone Wars this novel holds up, the characters jump off the page and the voices are there, I don’t hear Ewan McGregor when I’m reading this, I hear James Arnold Taylor.

Definitely a must read for Clone Wars fans and general Star Wars fans alike. Christie Golden does a brilliant job of adapting Katie Lucas’s scripts and event though I wish I could see these episodes, I’m more than happy to have it as a novel.

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