Have you ever started a book and not liked it? This is how my experience with Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden started but definitely ended in a whole different fashion. Including a 15-hour car drive during which my wife and I listened to the audio book, AFTER I had just finished reading it. Which I will say added a greater level of love for this book through the dramatization. I really recommend checking a Star Wars audio book out sometime if you haven’t had the experience. Dark Disciple was adapted from unaired episodes of The Clone Wars cartoon, and as most of you Star Wars fans out there know the show was ended abruptly by the acquisition of Star Wars by Disney. The beautiful thing is that The Clone Wars is considered under the umbrella of “new canon”. Interestingly enough, Katie Lucas (daughter of the Maker) was the original writer of the eight episode arc that was set to be the animated version of the story. In its stead we get this wonderfully crafted novel that gives us insight to the Dark Side of the Force and furthers the adventures of one of my favorite characters in the Star Wars universe, Asajj Ventress.
Introduced in the original Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars shorts, Ventress quickly became a favorite for many. Continuing her story in main Clone Wars show, her ability to walk the line between being a villain and an anti-hero made her a character who you could love and hate at the same time. The other main protagonist in Dark Disciple is the mysterious Quinlan Vos. An unorthodox Jedi in his actions and methods, Vos was first introduced as a background character in The Phantom Menace and quickly the fan-base created a backstory that actually stuck. Vos shows up in one episode of The Clone Wars and with his wit and charm firmed his place as many people’s’ favorite Force user. Putting these two together in a novel was one of the best things that could have ever happened. From the first time they meet through the end of the book, the chemistry between them is one of the best relationships in the Star Wars universe to this date.
Now I am not a big fan of romance novels and while Dark Disciple walks the line with this theme it never gets too heavy. The formation of attachment for a Jedi is more the “problem” here and can also be looked at as one of the antagonists in the book. If you are afraid to check it out because you’ve heard it’s mushy or romantic, don’t be. You will not regret sticking it out to the end. Without getting too much into spoiler-land, the events that occur have major repercussions for many of the characters involved and also the “New Canon”. But what is most impressive about this novel is Golden’s journey into and explanation of the Dark Side of the Force. The basic premise of the novel is that the Jedi Council tasks Vos to hunt down Count Dooku and assassinate him. Many of you may ask “isn’t that against the code of the Jedi?”, in short yes. This is one of the aspects of the book that makes it so interesting. Vos teaming up with Ventress tests the limits of a Jedi and how far he is willing to go to achieve his goal. Even by becoming one with the Dark Side? You’ll have to find that out for yourself.
Don’t let this one slip by your radar! With so much buzz around the new movie, it’s important to also consider the stories that happened before and the influences they have on the overall Star Wars universe. As a novel versus an arc of episodes, Dark Disciple is better able to explore the psyche of the characters involved and the situations they are thrown into. Without a doubt if you are looking for some closure to The Clone Wars and some of your favorite characters from that timeline, then look no further. You won’t be disappointed.