Fiction Reviews

Star Wars: Lords of the Sith

(2015) Paul S. Kemp, Century, £19.99, hrdbk, 299pp, ISBN 978-1-846-05682-6


Star Wars: Lords of the Sith is Paul S. Kempís sixth book of building upon the Star Wars universe.

The story takes place only a few years after the film Revenge of the Sith. The Galactic Empire is under Imperial control and unlike the movies it gives an insight into Darth Vader and his philosophy as a Sith Lord. No longer is he simply an enigma behind a mask. The book brings so much more depth to the character. The opening pages Vader reminisces of Yodaís teachings and challenges them which shows just how far away he is from when he was a Jedi.

The story takes place on Ryloth. A group of freedom fighters captained by Cham Syndulla decide to cause trouble. This is when the Emperor and Vader decide to step in and travel to Ryloth. This gives Cham the chance to assassinate them both.

Cham repeats to himself the 'freedom fighters' monika, almost trying to validate his actions by doing so, becomes sympathetic to the reader. Isval, by Chamís side, may not be as morally inclined. However her background as a slave on Ryloth and Kemp makes clear sheís a damaged individual.

The story proceeds at pace, perhaps too much in fact, as the freedom fighters are pressured to execute their plans. The speed of the story makes the ending of the book feel rushed as if Kemp is trying to get all of the action down on the page. A little more gear switching at times, might allow more room for the great character insights which are Lords of the Sithís strength.

The main component of the book is Darth Vader in his prime. Kemp offers a deep look into Darth Vader and his true wrathful powers that were never shown in great extent in the films. Lords of Sith gives Darth Vader his own identify and shows he is not blindly following the Emperor, Darth Sidious. Star Wars fans saw a young, fit and agile Anakin in the prequels but they never saw a truly powerful Darth Vader. However Sidious is not neglected and it is his cunning that underpins the story. Kemp lavishes attention on these two while also adding more storyline and intricate emotions among the Sith Lords. The narrative is opens up and this gives Kemp a lot of room for him to play and show off the actual true power of the dark side. The Emperor and Vader may be Kempís main antagonists, but the book also offers insight on different Imperial leaders. Belkor and Moff are both very different types of Imperial character we have never seen before and Kemp keeps the new Imperial enemy fresh.

Overall, Lords of Sith is very good, it builds upon the films' content as you would hope for while adding more of its own original characters to stand against the originals. It gives the fans what they always wanted from Darth Vader, a true killer in his prime.

Lords of the Sith slips well into the timeline and is easy to see how it fits between the prequel trilogy and the original movies, it bridges the gap and provides a better understanding of Darth Vader and the Emperorís relationship.

Rory Kenny

See also Ian's take on Lords of the Sith.

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