Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Darth Vader? Scary awesome when he was younger.
I need more Star Wars fiction like this that features Vader in his prime: piloting the heck out of his starfighter, using the Force to do crazy things without thought of failure, plowing through enemies with his lightsaber; you know, still doing the things Anakin Skywalker was doing during the Clone Wars, but blatantly evil.
I really enjoyed the introspection Vader had in his quiet moments, the seeming omniscience Palpatine showed of Vader's thoughts, and Vader's responses to his master questioning and testing him. There need to be more Vader/Palpatine stories!
Also? Palpatine unleashed! He and Vader become stranded together on a planet, and as they make their way to civilization they encounter wildlife and terrorists (freedom fighters) that are trying to kill them. Since they're pretty much alone, Sheev can use the Force without witnesses. I'm just glad it wasn't Jedi facing them when he and Vader both ignited their lightsabers. The lords of the Sith tore through the jungles and caves (and citizens) of Ryloth with a controlled fury.
Darth Sidious expertly manipulated the fledgling rebellion on Ryloth to his own ends, as always. And the sad Imperial presence there suffered as well under an inattentive Moff and a traitorous second-in-command. I really didn't care much about the Imperial characters beyond the Darths, though they served their parts well in the story. There are rumors Moff Mors may be a recurring character. If so, she had better stop being lazy and start serving her Emperor!
It would have been nice to get to meet a young Hera, the daughter of the leader of the rebels on Ryloth. She's mentioned briefly, but we know she becomes the leader of a rebel cell years later in the Star Wars cartoon Rebels.
Many characters die within these pages, and the Emperor achieves his goal; but an ember still remains for the rebellion.
Great space combat, awesome Vader scenes, and the Emperor being cunning. What's not to love?
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I received my review copy from the publisher through Netgalley.