Sunday, November 7, 2010
An Amazing book I read this month!
My absolute favorite book of the month would have to be the adult novelization of "Revenge of the Sith" by Matthew Stover, which is one the darkest and saddest tragedies I've ever read.
This is it! The decision that Anakin Skywalker makes now will change the galaxy forever. The book is about darkness and treachery, brotherhood, betrayal and seduction and how a good man can fall farther then he ever imagined possible.
In part one which is titled "Victory", we are thrust into a space battle over Coruscant. As lasers rip through space and starfighters dance against a dark backdrop of stars. In this section, we are shown Obi-Wan and Anakin's camaraderie and we see just how close Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are; like father and son, best friends, and brothers. It all felt so real, the descriptions are stunning, the fight scenes quick paced and exciting. The author was able to capture the true spirit of the characters.
We follow Obi-Wan and Anakin as they land in the hangar of the Invisible Hand and desperately rush to rescue Chancellor Palpatine, whom General Grievous has captured .
This part of the novel was just amazing, Matthew Stover completely set the mood of the story, which we know is bound to be dark and emotional, fringed with a shadowy foreboding. Some may think the author spent too much time on the battle over Coruscant, but I think it fit. It was just the right balance between action and character development, which I love.
The fight between Dooku, Obi-Wan, and Anakin captures Anakin's anger and fear perfectly and you understand why it was so easy for him to kill Dooku, instead of taking him prisoner.
In part two titled "Seduction", the story starts to get darker. Trust frays and even the steel bond between Obi-Wan and Anakin is tested to the breaking point. Anakin, upon being reunited with his secret wife, Senator Padme Amidala, finds out that she is pregnant. Later, he is besieged by dreams of her dying in child birth. Desperate to save his wife from death, which he'd failed to do with his mother, Anakin begins to unravel. He doesn't sleep and his mind is filled with doubts in his own abilities and a suspicion of everyone begins to take hold of his heart. Meanwhile, tensions between the Jedi Council and the Chancellor are running high and Anakin, already filled with turmoil, is thrust in the middle of it. It begins with the Jedi Council asking Anakin to spy on the Chancellor, who was a close friend of Anakin's since childhood. This section was wonderfully gripping and dark and the explanation of how Anakin was seduced, slowly and methodically to the dark side, is completely believable and heart wrenching. It also explains why Anakin became so arrogant, why Anakin wanted a seat on the Jedi Council and why Anakin would risk everything to save his loved ones.
It was Palpatine and fear that caused his fall. Over the years Palpatine had planted seeds in Anakin, telling him that he was the most powerful Jedi ever, even more powerful than Master Yoda. It was Palpatine that told Anakin of how a Sith Lord named Darth Plagues had been able to influence the Force to create and preserve life. Hearing this, Anakin was filled with a burning desire to become a Master so he could have access to the Sith holocrons which, he believed, he could find the information he could use to save Padme. Also, when Anakin needs his guidance the most, his greatest friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi, is sent off to Utapau to fight and defeat General Grievous, which the Jedi believe will end the war. Alone in the tense ocean, Anakin begins to slowly drift away from the Jedi, fed by Palpatine's lies that the Jedi no longer trust him. The emotion and confusion is so strong that I felt sorry for Anakin and makes him very human to me, which is rare because with most authors he comes across as a whiny, immature being.
And when I finally reached the part where Palpatine reveals that he is indeed Darth Sidious, the devastation Anakin feels springs from the page and strikes you like a lightsaber. First Anakin draws his lightsaber then, when Palpatine tells him that if Anakin kills him, his knowledge dies with him. Anakin then collapses into a chair, struggling with whether or not to tell the Jedi about his horrific discovery. Finally he makes his decision and flees back to the Temple. The scene when Anakin tells Master Mace Windu that Palpatine is Sidious is one of the best scenes in the novel. Its extremely more devastating than in the movie and has much better emotion. Instead of just walking up to Mace Windu and telling him that Palpatine is a Sith, Anakin falls against the door frame, telling Mace that he need to speak to Obi-Wan. Reminding him that Obi-Wan is on Utapau, Mace asks whats wrong. Anakin shakes his head and mumbles incoherently. Then Mace literally has to wrap his arms around Anakin and assist him over to a chair while Anakin, in a state of shock, tells Mace Windu the terrible truth with nine words. "Palpatine is Sidious. The Chancellor is the Sith Lord." Stover is a Master at writing Mace Windu and conveys his reaction truthfully in such a way that it makes your stomach clench in fear, for we know how all this will end.
In part tree, titled "Apocalypse", we watch as four Jedi Masters board a ship, the rain pounding all around them, as they fly to fight the Sith who had the Republic in his clutches for more than a decade. Anakin, whom Mace Windu had stay behind, is struck with fear that the Jedi will kill the Chancellor so he rushes from the Temple to the Senate building. The fight between the Sith and the Jedi is amazingly written, you actually feel saddened and when the end of each Jedi comes you realize that the worst is yet to come.
Once Anakin runs in and sees Mace Windu and Palpatine locked in combat, bands of azure joining them together, the choice he makes will alter the fate of the galaxy. And when he makes his choice, he seals his life to the Sith. With the death of Mace Windu, Anakin finally falls into the trap and is anointed Darth Vader and as he rids himself of the name Anakin Skywalker he also destroys his inner self. What ensues is the most heart wrenching of all-Order 66. Clones turn on their Jedi Generals and Darth Vader, along with the 501'st legion, attacks the Jedi Temple, murdering even the younglings in cold blood. Obi-Wan, after defeating Greivous with a laser gun and fighting the remaining droid army, barely escapes Utapau with his life. The story grows darker and even serene Obi-Wan is emotionally damaged by the near annihilation of the whole entire Jedi Order. Reunited with Master Yoda, they travel with Senator Bail Organa back to Coruscant. And more heart break is in store for Obi-Wan when he arrives at the Jedi Temple and sees the dead bodies of all the Jedi-young and old alike-which renders him to tears.
But the worst soon comes when Obi-Wan watches a security holocam and sees Anakin killing the Jedi along with the Clone Troopers. Shuddering in horror at the sight of the man he loved as a brother murdering the Jedi- the only family he has ever known- he falls to the floor and begins to blame himself for the monster Anakin has become. Yoda brings him out of his grief and tells him that he and Obi-Wan must fight the two Sith Lords and restore peace to the tatters of the Republic. Obi-Wan begs to be sent to fight Sidious because he can't-and won't-kill Anakin.
Yoda tells him that he is not yet strong enough to challenge the dark power of Sidious and Obi-Wan realizes that he must even though it will shatter his heart and rip him to pieces. Heavyhearted, Obi-Wan goes to Padme's residence to ask if she knows where Anakin is. While there, he is forced to tell Padme about Anakin's turning to the dark side and his slaughter of the Jedi at the Temple. When she realizes that Obi-Wan is going to fight, and possibly kill, Anakin she grows faint and Obi-Wan has to catch her and lay her down on one of the couches in her seating room. She tells Obi-Wan to leave but before he leaves he sees that Padme is pregnant and asks if Anakin is the father. Gaining no reply he says "I'm so sorry," and quickly runs out of her residence. When Padme secretly leaves the planet to question Anakin, Obi-Wan stows aboard. They fly to the planet of Mustafar where Anakin has already killed the Separatist leaders on order of Darth Sidious.
Darth Vader, putting on his Anakin face and letting Anakin's love for Padme fill him, goes out to meet the ship as it lands. While Padme and Anakin reunite, Obi-Wan exits the ship. Overcome with rage at the thought that Padme had betrayed him, he grabs her in a mighty Force-choke, while Obi-Wan yells at him to let her go. Once Padme is unconscious he lets her fall to the ground and screams at Obi-Wan, blaming him for everything. The duel that ensues between two men is one of the best moments in the film and the book.
I loved the way it switched back and forth between the two duels- the other being the fight between Sidious and Yoda. I also loved how Mr. Stover described the fights. The ones between the Masters of the Jedi and Sith Orders is a battle between good and evil itself, light vs. dark, winner take all while the duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin is described as a personal, grief-ridden struggle between two beings who love each other. In the end, Obi-Wan manages to best Vader and Vader tumbles onto the banks of a river of lava, with his remaining flesh limbs severed from his body. While Anakin screams his hate for Obi-Wan- his father, his brother, his best friend, Obi-Wan responds with the best line in literature or film-
"You were my brother Anakin, I loved you." Obi-Wan leaves Vader's fate to the Force and departs Mustafar to take Padme, to a medical center. She gives birth to twins, whom she names Luke and Leia and dies soon after but not before giving Obi-Wan the japor snippet which Anakin had carved for her so many years ago. Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Senator Organa discuss their next move and decide to separate the twins until they are old enough to over throw the Galactic Empire and their father. Yoda goes into exile on Dagobah, Obi-Wan takes Luke to Tatooine to live with his aunt and uncle and lives nearby, to watch over him. Bail Organa adopts Leia into his family and he and his wife raise her as their own. Darth Sidious rescues his apprentice from the lava river and manages to heal him.
The part when Anakin wakes up in his suit might as well be the best scene in the entire book.
"This is how it feels to be Anakin Skywalker forever" it reads and we see how truly alone Anakin is now and how he must live with the consequences of his actions-towards Padme, towards Obi-Wan, towards the Jedi Order, and towards the Republic. The shadow is all he has left.
This is how it feels to be Anakin Skywalker..forever.
Luckily, the ending has a glimmer of hope, of good yet to come and even as the surviving Jedi weep, even as twilight descends on the Jedi and the republic and the galaxy is thrust into a dark infinite night, even though it appears all hope is lost Mr. Stover shows us that we still have hope that the galaxy will be set right.
"The dark is generous, and it is patient, and it always wins-but in the heart of its strength lies weakness: one lone candle is enough to hold it back.
Love is more than a candle.
Love can ignite the stars"
Thank you Mr. Lucas and Mr. Stover for your beautiful and tragic well-spun tale.
May the Force be with you.
May the Force be with the surviving Jedi
and May the Force be with us all.
Love can ignite the stars.