Science Fiction

Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction

Author: Drew Karpyshyn

Published By:
The Ballentine Publishing Company

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                I’ve been putting off reading the Darth Bane trilogy for quite some time.  For some reason, I haven’t wanted to read the books of the Old Republic.  Something to do with preserving the mystery of the Sith before Palpatine, maybe?  Not sure, but whatever the reason, I am a completist and, as such, I couldn’t avoid this trilogy for long.  How else would I learn about the Rule of Two?

                It all begins with Darth Bane: Path of Destruction and an Apatros cortosis miner named Dessel.  Since the death of his father, Dessel has been working feverishly in the mines, trying in vain to pay off his family’s debt to the mining company.  Working in virtual slavery to the company, Des believes he is meant for more, but what?

                Fate answers that question in quite the interesting way.  An attack in the mines leads to grievous injury to the attacker and a suspension for Des.  All that free time leads Des to a long and lucrative sabacc game with members of the Republic army.  His win leads to another attack in the dark streets of Apatros and thanks to the mysterious power that has always protected Des in times of danger, the death of a Republic officer.  

                Escape from Apatros comes in the form of conscription into the Sith Army and their war against the Republic.  Des finds that military life suits him well and he is quickly elevated to the rank of Sergeant.  Unfortunately, so is his useless commanding officer.  When orders come down meaning certain death for his unit, Des defies them and enacts his own plan, drawing on the strange powers that he can’t explain, but continue to protect him from harm. 

His successful mission draws the attention of a Sith Lord who, instead of punishing for violating orders, sends him to their main academy on Korriban to train to become a Dark Lord in the Brotherhood of Darkness.  Choosing the name Bane in memory of his abusive father (who always told Dessel he was the bane of his existence), he now realizes greater potential.  But disaster leads to Bane’s true deliverance, for Bane is fated for much more than the Brotherhood of Darkness.  He will be the one to reconstruct the Sith, making them stronger than anyone can ever imagine.

I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed reading this novel.  There are times when I think that novels set during unexplored areas of the Star Wars timeline can be a little boring or harmful to the continuity of novels set during later times.  But Drew Karpyshyn actually made Dessel a character that I could enjoy reading about.  Sure, he’s a bad guy, but an intelligent bad guy who learns from his mistakes.  He’s ultimately a character that you can love to hate.

                There’s a great deal of this novel that I found quite interesting.  I love the fact that Bane learns that knowledge is power and that one can learn from history.  Bane learns that you are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past if you refuse to study history and learn from it.  Ultimately, Bane’s study of the history of the Sith is what enables him to become more powerful and mold the Sith into something greater than it ever was.  He realizes the mistakes that the Sith have made in the past and finds a way to correct those mistakes through the study of their history.   I enjoyed taking that path along with Bane, learning the history behind the Rule of Two and why armies of Sith always seem to fail.  It was also interesting to see just how powerful Sith could actually be if they reached their ultimate potential.

                I found the parallels made between the Jedi and the Sith by the author, such as their aversion to attachments.  The best parallel is made on the battlefield of Ruusan, when you realize that the lines between light and darkness have become blurred as the war between the Sith and Jedi rages on.  There is a point where there is no light, no dark, only the ravages of war…when the good become just as bad as the evil and vice versa. 

                Interesting characters, an enjoyable storyline, great battles, clarification on the Rule of Two and a promise of an even more interesting character in Bane’s new apprentice makes Darth Bane: Path of Destruction well worth reading for a Star Wars fan.  I would definitely recommend this novel to any fan of the Star Wars Universe and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next novel, Darth Bane: Rule of Two.


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