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Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Matthew Stover
Lucas Books / Del Rey, 418 pages

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Matthew Stover
Matthew Stover was born in 1962. He graduated in 1983 from Drake University and settled in Chicago. He worked as a bartender in a private sports club as well as spending time as an actor, theatrical producer, playwright, and theatre co-founder. His previous fantasy novels include Iron Dawn and Jericho Moon. He lives in Chicago, Illinois, with artist and writer Robyn Fielder.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Star Wars: Shatterpoint
SF Site Review: Blade of Tyshalle
SF Site Interview: Matthew Woodring Stover
SF Site Review: Blade of Tyshalle
SF Site Review: Heroes Die
SF Site Review: Jericho Moon

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox


"This story happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It is already over. Nothing can be done to change it."
With these words, Matthew Stover begins the novelization of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, the penultimate chapter in the new trilogy. This story was a difficult one to tell. After all, fans of the series already know how the adventure turns out, the ending will be dark and the Jedi will fall. So how does a writer keep the element of suspense in a predestined tale?

Stover succeeds by assuming the reader already knows "what," so he spends his time on the details of "how." By now anyone who is going to see Revenge of the Sith has already seen it so those that haven't may find a spoiler or two in this review. Overall Episode III has been greeted with warm reviews. This book not only adds to the depth of the film but opens new dimensions to characters.

Anakin's inner turmoil is brought into light in great detail. No longer a whiny child or a brooding teenager, he is finally a man and full Jedi Knight. But he daily struggles against a "dragon" in his heart. His fear over losing Padme to unsettling dreams becomes a very believable catalyst for his journey to the Dark Side.

Chancellor Palpatine comes across so likable and convincing in his caring for Anakin that, even though we've know since Episode I that he becomes the Emperor, you can almost take his side with his arguments. Which in itself is a little disturbing.

Obi-Wan Kenobi finally comes into his own as the quintessential Jedi Knight. He is one with the Force as no other before him or after. And the fact that he is so humble about it only endears him more.

Padme Amidala (Skywalker) even has a hand in helping create the Rebellion and is much more than just a baby-carrier as she came off in the film.

Other elements are told from a different perspective. The beginning space battle and Obi-Wan and Anakin's rescue mission on General Grievous' ship is seen entirely from the point of view of the "captured" Palpatine and Count Dooku. Darth Tyrannus has no idea what his master has planned. Dooku actually believes the plan is for Anakin to turn and for him to become Dooku's apprentice. Seems he forgot the quintessential rule of the Sith, "Always two there are, a Master and an Apprentice."

When the destructive Order 66 is finally given, the reader gets to see Commander Cody's reaction. He is a clone. He will follow orders as he was bred to do. But "would it have been too much to ask for the order to have come through before I gave him back the bloody light saber...?"

And Jedi Knights Kit Fisto, Saesee Tinn and Agen Kolar do manage to put up more of a fight when they confront Palpatine in his office, although a surprising amount of head chopping that occurs.

Most interesting is the showdown between Yoda and Palpatine. The wizened Jedi Master realizes that the Order has already lost. They lost this battle well before the Clone Wars began. Maybe even before the siege of Naboo over a decade earlier. The Jedi have been fighting a war with an idea of Sith that was destroyed 2000 years ago. The Sith evolved and changed. The Jedi did not.

Through it all, the novel is a rousing adventure story. Though there will be more novels to come to fill in gaps of the Clone Wars and possibly tell some stories between now and Episode IV, Stover states it perfectly in his introduction: "Though this is the end of the age of heroes, it has saved its best for last."

Copyright © 2005 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories, acting on stage and screen and giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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