Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Path of Destruction: A Novel of the Old Republic (Star Wars: Darth Bane)

Book Review by Dan Tres OMI:
Path of Destruction: A Novel of the Old Republic (Star Wars: Darth Bane)
written by Drew Karpyshyn

For those of you who are readers of the Dark Horse (DH) comics, one will be familiar with Darth Bane. When fans get to the movies, the assumption is that the Sith have always been a two man show. One would be the master who embodied the power of the Dark Side and the other would be the apprentice who would crave the power. There was a time when there were several Lords of the Sith and there were many Sith academies throughout the galaxy. Each time, the Jedi were able to defeat the Sith because quite frankly the Sith would succumb to infighting. They were to envious of one another. They would spend too much energy fighting themselves then they would the Jedi.

Over one thousand years before the Battle of Yavin, the Sith have taken over a great portion of the galaxy. They have the Republic and the Jedi on the run. The Sith was finally united under Lord Kaan. It was through his leadership that enabled the Sith to gain the upper hand. Things look grim for the Jedi as more and more worlds fall the Sith. The Sith take advantage of the crumbling Republic by convincing more and more worlds to join their cause.

Enter “Des,” a miner on the backwater world of Apatros. He lost his mother at a young age and is abused by his father and other fellow miners. His father gives him the name “Bane” because he felt that his only son has brought him nothing but misfortune. Des never knew he was a Force adept. He just followed that “instinct” that helped him through fights and sabacc games. After a series of altercations, Des is forced to finally leave Apatros and join the Sith cause. In several battles, Des proves himself to be a tough and reliable foot soldier. He is promoted to a sergeant and is soon leading the charge. After refusing to lead his troops into a suicide mission, Des physically removes his commanding officer and changes their plans. His mission is a success after Des preforms several superhuman feats. It was through his action that the Sith Lords take note. He is arrested under the orders of Lord Kopecz and sent to the Sith Academy on Korriban. Des finally accepts the name Bane as he begins his apprenticeship in the ways of the Sith.

The book is superbly written. The perspective is that of the Sith so the Jedi are bathed in a negative light. Despite his insistence on hurting others and his hunger for power, one can help but to root for Darth Bane. He betrays everyone that even attempted to help him. Karpyshyn walks the reader through Bane's miserable life. Even after so many setbacks, Bane refuses to give up and finally realizes the solution to the Sith problem. Karpyshyn drops subtle hints throughout the book but the reader only comes to the conclusion towards the end.

The book focuses on the dark side of the Force. This is rarely done at all. Even when we see Jacen Solo start down this path, the authors tend not to focus on the subtleties of the dark side. Karpyshyn fills the reader in. He makes the reader feel sorry for Bane. If he was born on another world, things may have been different. He may have become a powerful Jedi. Bane does go on a path of destruction.

Despite the fact that Bane is physically imposing and powerful, he learns that it is not physical strength that will help the Sith win the day but it is their treachery, patience, and cunning that will prevail. Once he learns this he sets his plan in motion to beat the Jedi. Yet Bane begins with the destruction of the Sith order.

There is one major flaw in the book. There is a mention of the Vaapad lightsaber style. If one checks the EU, one will learn that Mace Windu was the creator of this style of fighting. While Vaapad does force the user to hinge onto the dark side, only the most powerful Jedi can wield it. However, it is mentioned in an event that transpired over 900 years before the birth of Mace Windu. Also if one has read the DH comics, one will find much of the material to be all too familiar. The book is still worth reading because one learns how Darth Bane set the Sith up for destruction.


Amadeo said...

I almost picked this up, but I had to get Sacrifice...I hope you read that joint.

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