|Two of a kind? Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos team-up for STAR WARS: DARK DISCIPLE- an unproduced THE CLONE WARS story now making an impact in novel form.|
STAR WARS: DARK DISCIPLE
By Christie Golden
Based on unproduced episodes of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS
Foreword by Katie Lucas
Available now from CENTURY PUBLISHING
Reviewed by Scott Weller
Enough is enough.
Truly appalled by the latest murderous act specifically masterminded and wrought by their once friend, Count Dooku in a war against the Separatists that seemingly looks unending, Master Yoda and the Jedi Council take a momentous and far-reachingly dangerous decision to assassinate the corrupted Dark Lord of the Sith and end his reign of terror across the galaxy. But who to send on the mission? Only someone experienced or touched by the nature of evil and the Dark Dide of the Force will surely be accomplished enough to destroy his insidious power. One who knows Dooku, his methods, motivations and potential weaknesses. Someone who has faced him in combat and almost defeated him: his once Sith assassin now exiled bounty hunter Asajj Ventress!
|A mission to kill! Asajj Ventress duels her old master, Count Dooku.|
The enemy of my enemy is my friend is the old adage for this latest adventure from STAR WARS author Christie Golden, as she adapts eight ground-breaking unmade episodes from the axed way before its time THE CLONE WARS series- Dark Disciple, a tale which would effectively being back popular Expanded Universe hero and Outer Rim-based occasional rogue Jedi, Quinlan Vos, in a striking way far removed from his prior seen devil-may-care efforts with Obi-Wan Kenobi tracking down the fugitive Ziro the Hutt. Very much the maverick, beyond anything seen with Qui-Gon Jinn, and with more than the roguish dare and happy scoundrel Han Solo-ish touch about him, Vos is the perfect choice to recruit the beautiful but deadly Ventress into the Jedi's most daring and ultimately out of character by necessity plan. Undercover as a bounty hunter he soon becomes her sparky rival, her concerned and passionate lover, then her enemy, as the adaptation unfolds efficiently and speedily over its highly readable 336 pages. Developed behind the scenes by writer Katie Lucas- who saw her potential for character growth across the series run, and whom she shared a certain amount of creative kinswoman-ship to, Ventress has come a long way since those early bitter days taunting and fighting the Jedi she once swore to annihilate. Falling from grace with Dooku and abandoned to death, she has had to survive by any means necessary now that her beloved Witch Sisterhood of Dathomir have been annihilated, whilst her more recent, often irregular activities and life as a bounty hunter has seen her in a far more melancholy and reflective mood. But that doesn't mean her instincts and Force potential have dried up- far from it- especially when she recognises what her new friend and lover Vos is up to, and whom she strikes up the perfect, almost empathic partnership with. Over the course of the planned eight episodes split across Season Seven or Eight, it would have been interesting to see how this unique relationship of trust, anxiety and violence would have been realized in the animated episode medium, especially as the story moves into dark betrayal and shocking revelations. On the printed page it certainly works well, and not in the MILLS & BOON tradition when it comes to STAR WARS! Things here will surely not end well!
|Early teaser artwork for DARK DISCIPLE showing the new-look Ventress.|
Planned as major arc episodes of the series that would also bring specific closure to events and characters introduced way back from Season One, the story also features what would have been memorable appearances from the likes of the always loathsome General Grievous, once more in multi-lightsaber duelling action, and a now approaching the sequels attired Boba Fett and his small bounty hunter posse. Meanwhile, Count Dooku's evil-dom reaches new heights of depravity and viciousness once he is aware of Vos and Ventress's plans against him-his interactions with this unique duo of assassins proving particularly noteworthy during the book's concluding chapters. Thought by many Prequel haters as boring characters within the actual live-action films, our Jedi heroes of the animated series have been given far more thought-provoking and challenging material to explore, with added shades of grey layerings particularly given to Mace Windu (the main initiator of the assassination plan) and Obi-Wan Kenobi, the latter soon worried about the potential of Vos going astray to the Dark Side in Ventress company, as their time grows together in locating Dooku. Later in the book, seeing the influential likes of Yoda and Windu interact with their once enemy in Ventress proves an additional highlight and history-making moment for the STAR WARS saga- destinies crossed in a situation now making our noble warrior monks more vulnerable that ever, of which, despite their best intentions, they are now truly committed to travelling the road to their own self-destruction, soon enough cemented by the vengeance of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and the manipulations of Darth Sidious.
AFICIONADO RATING. A very creditable adaptation from the well-selected for the task Miss Golden, further developing Ventress and her complex relationship with Vos, whose dark romance is a strong showcase for the author's talents but those of the series original writers (Katle Lucas, Matt Michnovetz and Dave Filoni ). With the success and overall acclaim for this novel endeavour, let's hope that we get more adaptations of unseen episodes of THE CLONE WARS Seasons Sevens and Eight for the future. We deserve them. 4 out of 5.
Get hold of STAR WARS: DARK DISCIPLE here: Star Wars: Dark Disciple: Amazon.co.uk: Katie Lucas, Christie Golden: 9780345511539: Books
Telling the Untold in Dark Disciple | StarWars.com