Darth Plagueis by James Luceno is a Star Wars novel dedicated to the rise to power of Sith lords Plagueis and Sidious. There’s always two sides to a story as they say and this is no less true when comparing the Jedi’s to the Sith’s. One faction represents the light or the “good side” while the other represents the dark or the “sinister side”. But are things really that simple? Turns out it never is and with Darth Plagueis being the sole Sith lord, it’s now up to him to plot how best to take down the Republic on his own terms. Plagueis’s vast wealth and influence combined with Palpatine’s gift for politics makes them the perfect duo to slowly but surely wreck havoc and sow dissent in the Republic.
Where the Jedi courted power, the Sith lusted after it; where the Jedi believed they knew the truth, the Sith possessed it.
With such a central figure in the Star Wars series, its only right fans get to understand how Palpatine got turned to the dark side from his early years. This novel does a good job at portraying both the master and apprentice relationship and sheds light on what it means to embrace the dark side. It didn’t take long for the story to pull me in and the main selling point was in the telling of how Plagueis uses his influence to pull strings from behind the scenes. There is a lot of politics to be told here and many will either hate it or love. Whatever camp you belong too though you’d have to admit that the allure of these prequel novels is that most of us already know what will happen in the Star Wars storyline based on the movies. What these novels do so well is allowing fans to see what lead to those events many years before it actually happened. The work Plagueis and Palpatine put in prior to the events of The Phantom Menace is nothing short of amazing.
I did notice some weird inconsistencies in the story. The most obvious one happened right in the beginning after a certain death scene. The story then proceeds to rewind and towards the end when it comes full circle again, it felt as if the mood and scene didn’t fit with what was told in the beginning. There were some other very specific events that happened which seemed a bit odd where the author just didn’t either feel bothered to go into details or just dismissed it altogether. These were just minor events if I remember correctly so they aren’t major plot holes in itself. I wouldn’t worry too much as it was just something I noticed.
“Uncertainty is the first step toward self-determination. Courage comes next.” – Darth Plagueis
Darth Plagueis is my first Star Wars novel that solely features the Sith lords as the main characters. The one other novel I had read involved Darth Vader and Darth Sidious but that one had included other characters in a rebellion. Darth Plagueis puts both him and Palpatine in the forefront throughout the entire novel. This novel is somewhat of a treasure in my opinion because it gives yet more insight into the minds of the Sith. Rather than seeing them as just the “evil” order as the movies have often portrayed them to be, the beginning here shows that there is shall we say, a method to the madness and more than meets the eye. I especially loved it when they discuss how the Jedi order are hypocrites as well their grand plan on how to bring the Republic down by exposing that fact and forcing the guardians of the Republic to pick a side.
This novel is definitely a must read in my opinion. The writing is fluid and the dialogue between the characters throughout is amazing, especially when either Plagueis or Palpatine is probing potential allies. The way they are able to steer the conversations to extract the information they need and being able to decipher it later to their benefit is very interesting. Highly recommended to read this one if you have not yet already!