Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden adapts a story arc developed but never produced for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Jedi are strained and have come to an unthinkable decision, they must assassinate Count Dooku the head of the Separatists in order to save the lives of countless others. But this is a mission they are not equipped for. The Jedi Council tasks unorthodox Jedi Quinlan Vos to secretly recruit former Dooku disciple Asajj Ventress to the cause. Vos pretends to be a fellow bounty hunter making his way through the universe. And what he finds shocks him, a damaged woman who has lost everyone she has ever loved. Ventress must teach Vos to balance Dark Side energies to kill Dooku. And it all horribly goes wrong in a story of broken lives, betrayal and love.
As I have said many time, Star Wars really needs a visual element to work really well. That being said, Star Wars: Dark Disciple is a very strong book. Yes, at times as some of the countless aliens of the galaxy is being described one does get a bit lost. But it is the central character tale that really holds everything together. Asajj Ventress is someone fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is familiar with. But this 300 page plus book really gives Golden the time to flesh her out. We have time to hate and love her. We cringe at her cruelty and marvel at her tenderness. Readers get a chance to really understand how she turned to the Dark Side and then walked away. And in the end one cannot but feel compassion for her. Can there be happiness in the galaxy for Asajj, or will her worst personality traits cost her happiness? Basically, if one is familiar with Ventress the book becomes highly enjoyable and interesting. Especially since it does build on the last few arcs that viewers saw of her on television.
Will Vos and Ventress succeed? Okay that is really not the big question since Dooku's final fate has already been established. No what Star Wars: Dark Disciple gives readers is tension around a Star Wars: The Clone Wars figure. In the time of new canon, one knows that for Ventress and Vos this story has real stakes. Can there be happiness? Would another Jedi Master leave the order? Could someone fall to the Dark Side? These are the sorts of questions that Star Wars: Dark Disciple asks and answers!
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