Science Fiction

Star Wars: Dark Disciple

Author: Christie Golden

Published By:
Del Rey Books

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Okay, I'm worried what Disney is going to do to Star Wars, but thus far, that hasn't stopped me from checking out some of the recent books published after the big Disney purchase.  Especially when it comes to Star Wars: Dark Disciple, a book featuring my favorite Star Wars: The Clone Wars characters, Asajj Ventress.

                As the Clone Wars rage on, Count Dooku becomes more monstrous, murdering innocents simply to make his point known.  The Jedi Council makes a surprising decision regarding what to do with the Count - Dooku must be assassinated.  They decide to send in the unorthodox Jedi Master Quinlan Vos.  Used to undercover missions, Master Vos should find it easy to locate the only person who might be able to get him close enough to complete his task, former Dooku apprentice, Asajj Ventress.  The trick will be how to get her to trust him enough to divulge her secrets.

                Vos finds Ventress working as a bounty hunter for hire and his winning personality and knack at getting himself out of bad situations wins Ventress over.  She takes him on as a partner and, as Vos finds himself developing feelings for Ventress, he reveals his true mission.  Ventress believes that the only way Vos can complete his mission is with exposure to the Dark Side.  She takes him as close as she can to the Dark Side without him falling prey to it, thus hopefully giving him the willingness to commit murder...a very un-Jedi-like passion. 

                But when Vos is captured and Dooku turns him, can Ventress ever hope to get him back?  Can the Jedi?

                This book is a novelization of a story arc written for The Clone Wars by Katie Lucas, but never aired before the series was cancelled.  Christie Golden brings this story arc to life in such a fashion that I can picture every scene perfectly in my mind's eye.  Kudos to Katie Lucas for such a dramatic story arc as ever has appeared on The Clone Wars.  Too bad it never saw fruition on the screen.

                There are some interesting moments in this novel.  First off, fans of Ventress are vindicated.  We always knew that beneath that deliciously dangerous exterior, there was a vulnerable woman looking for companionship...for someone to believe in her.  Ventress' growth as a character in Dark Disciple is dramatic.  Coming back from the Dark Side and allowing herself to feel for others is probably something no one in the Star Wars universe could ever believed of Asajj Ventress, but she not only achieves this, she shows herself willing to sacrifice for others.  This is a character that, had the tale been different, could have been a great force for good.

                What is most interesting to note is the fact that as Ventress turns away from the Dark Side, the Jedi seem to be turning towards it.  Deliberately choosing assassination instead of capture leads the Jedi perilously close to the Dark Side.  Yoda and Obi-Wan sense this, but the rest of the Jedi, led by a flip-flopping Mace Windu (never my favorite character), seem to ignore this, preferring instead to rid the galaxy of the terror that is Dooku.

                I also found interesting the talk about using clones versus machines to fight a war.  When addressing the Separatist Movement, Count Dooku makes it a point to note that less lives are being lost in this war on their side because they are using machines to fight.  This is in vast contrast with the Republic, which is willing to create life and then send it into battle to die.  The sacrifice of life on the Republic part as compared to the use of machines on the Separatists' part almost makes the Separatists look like they are fighting the battle on the right side of things.  That is, until Dooku takes part in senseless genocide for the heck of it - then we are reminded just who the bad guy is here.

                So, am I angry that the storyline of Jedi Master Quinlan Vos has been altered yet again.  Well, let's look at the changes.  Vos still falls to the Dark Side, learning under Count Dooku, but the way he falls, and his ultimate redemption, are actually preferable in this new storyline than in the old.  I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed Dark Disciple despite the changes to the continuity of Vos' storyline.  Star Wars: Dark Disciple is a great read for any Star Wars fan, but especially those of Asajj Ventress.  Thank you, Christie Golden and Katie Lucas for completing the tale of the character we always knew was hiding under that dark exterior. 


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