How did the rebellion begin? Lords of the Sith reveals the origin story of those beloved freedom fighters and it begins on the planet of Ryloth, the home of the Twi’leks. A movement that began to free their planet from Imperial occupation evolves into something much more. Author Paul Kemp weaves a story that reads like an action-adventure movie, flowing from moment to moment. Overall, it’s a roller coaster ride through the Star Wars universe revealing important insights into the nature of the Dark Side of the Force, the relationship between Vader and the Emperor, and how a group of local freedom fighters grows from wanting to free their planet to toppling an entire Empire.
Title: Lords of the Sith
Author: Paul S. Kemp
Cost: $28.00 (hardcover)
Age: Anyone who loves Star Wars (but probably ages 12 and up)
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Star Wars, Science Fiction
Bottom Line: Worth the money – 5 out of 5 stars
Like any good action movie, it opens with an exciting sequence between Vader and one of the cells of the Free Ryloth movement, with Vader performing near miraculous feats. We get an idea of exactly how powerful Vader and the Emperor really are as he does things that are seemingly impossible to the average person. His reputation of being something other than human grows and we witness how the fear Vader instills is based on these super heroic feats. One of the foci of the book is the relationship between Vader and the Force. It was interesting to read how Vader seems to swim in a river of Force energy fueled by his hate, anger, and rage. It was also fascinating to read about Vader’s conviction that only through power can the galaxy be made safe for all who live there. He believes that it takes strength and a show of force to rule properly.
Another aspect of the book is the focus on Vader’s relationship with the Emperor. What becomes clear is that the Emperor is far more powerful than he lets on. Only Vader and his personal guard are allowed to know how deeply in tune Palpatine is to the Dark Side. And even Vader doesn’t know the limits of his Master’s abilities. We get the impression that there is never a situation where Palpatine isn’t truly in control. Everything he does seems to be for a specific purpose. It was fascinating to read about how Vader and Palpatine are so intertwined through the Dark Side to one another.
But of course the book is also about the roots of the Rebellion and we find that resistance runs in the Syndulla family. If you’ve been following the television show Star Wars Rebels you know the name belongs to cell leader Hera, but in this book we meet her father Cham who has a natural talent for leadership, a quality he obviously shares with his daughter. A theme that continues to run through Lords of the Sith is the question about what is the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist? Certainly, the Empire views the rebels as committing acts of terror, but the movement is convinced they are fighting for a higher cause. But does that justify the number of deaths that happen through their actions?
This is a book that will entertain you from beginning to end. I didn’t get into it as easily as I did the first three, but the more it picked up the more I felt like a skateboarder going downhill. The momentum of the action kept building and as it did it became harder and harder to put it down. Like the previous books in this new shared universe with the Lucasfilm Story Group, each one has been different and each one has been a pleasure to read in their own way. This one is no different and comes highly recommended.