Lords of the Sith – Reviewed by Kay
In Lords of the Sith Darth Vader and Emperor Sheev Palpatine head to the Twi’lek homeworld of Ryloth to quell rebellion. Cham Syndulla, father of Hera from Rebels, awaits them with a company of dedicated fighters and a trap he hopes will spark a larger rebellion across the galaxy.
But the best way to describe Lords of the Sith is that if I wasn’t reviewing it, I wouldn’t have finished reading it. My Star Wars is about hope and heart. This Star Wars was about anger, and efforts doomed before they even get started, all with a side dish of gore.
The relationship of Free Ryloth leader Cham Syndulla and his contact within the Imperial ranks, Belkor Dray, strikes an interesting parallel with that of the Emperor and Vader. The mask concept had potential, too, before quickly becoming too blatant. Beyond that, though, there’s little to discover as you’re repeatedly hit over the head with way more tell than show and explanations that unfortunately make it seem like the audience can’t be expected to figure out anything themselves.
Again we’re in that period in between movies where we know that certain characters will make it out of this story, but Lords of the Sith is more successful than Heir to the Jedi in ratcheting up the tension. Here it’s more about bracing yourself for the inevitable and probably graphic deaths of certain characters. There’s a challenge in writing an all-seeing, all-knowing, invincible character like Palpatine. So it’s not that surprising that the depth of his character only goes as far as being the manipulative veteran to Vader’s approval-seeking rookie cop. Vader is a terror on his own but loses his edge whenever the boss is around and it made me miss the Darth Vader we had in Tarkin.
If you like very long, very descriptive battle sequences enough to not care if they mess with the story’s pacing, then you’re in luck. Lords of the Sith has a bunch of those. And then there’s the Moff Mors situation. The character being the new canon era’s first LGBT character got much attention through an announcement via Big Shiny Robot before the book’s release. And while anyone can be a villain, the book seems to go out of the way to portray Mors basically as gross through multiple perspectives. Although there’s a shift in her story later in the book, it’s possible the initial portrayal of her would be enough to frustrate anyone excited by her inclusion into walking away. Isval, Syndulla’s female second-in-command, ends up being a much more captivating and fleshed-out character.
In the end, I gave Lords of the Sith a go, but didn’t enjoy reading it. Not only is it not really what I’m looking for from Star Wars, but the heavy-handedness of the whole thing made it unappealing. As usual, it’s up to you as to whether you want to read this book, but it doesn’t have much effect on the larger Star Wars story so you won’t miss much by skipping it.
The publisher provided FANgirl Blog a copy of this book.
Kay grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Life’s taken her on a bit of a different path, but she’s still a Star Wars fan at heart who enjoys surprising people with how geeky she really is. Currently a voice actor, photographer, and artist who also consults in communications and marketing, Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, writing, learning and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord. You can follow her on Twitter.
- Review: Doctor Aphra, An Audiobook Original (Star Wars) - July 26, 2020
- Review: Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie - April 7, 2020
- Review: The Art of The Rise of Skywalker - March 31, 2020