Darth Bane: Path of Destruction

February 27, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

pathDarth Bane: Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn

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Back when I was investigating which Star Wars books to read (I didn’t initially intend to read all of them, though that’s the way I went), I saw several articles talking about the significance of this series within the Extended Universe. I was eager to start the series, even back when I started on Into the Void, so I was excited when I finally made me way to it. It’s bad when I let my expectations get so high (it’s a good way to be disappointed), but I couldn’t help it. Luckily, the story was strong and I was engaged for most of the book.

The story takes on the feel of a fantasy novel here, as Bane is an average person who has a remarkable talent to channel the Dark Side of the Force. Once he gets to the Sith Academy, he quickly excels at all he does, even faster than the recruits who have been there for several years, developing their skills since a young age. Plus, Karpyshyn gives us hints that Bane may be the focus of a prophecy regarding the Sith’ari, a perfect Sith who would lead the Sith to their destruction while making them stronger than ever. So there’s a bit of a Mary Sue-ness to the character, though Karpyshyn gives him enough struggle and doubt to keep him from being perfect. In addition, he shows Bane working hard to develop his skills, instead of just coming to them naturally.

I like Karpyshyn’s skills. In the first section of the book, he captured the tension of a simple card game that went on for about thirty pages. It reminds me of Brandon Sanderson’s ability to describe a battle between two magicians drawing with chalk and still make it exciting. Additionally, Karpyshyn manages to make a sympathetic character out of Bane. Sure, he’s a Sith-in-training, but he’s the least despicable of all the other Sith in the book, and he at least has good reasons for holding on to his anger. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Karpyshyn develops the relationship between Bane and the rest of the Academy as a victim-bully relationship.

Karpyshyn doesn’t nail the landing all that well. It seems rushed, like he realized he was already over his word count and needed to wind up everything. His method for defeating the Sith came out of nowhere, and was really a laughable sort of idea. Then, he encounters just the person he needs at the end of his journey, which, yes, could be attributed to the Force, but the series (movies and all) is lousy with coincidences that could be attributed to the Force. It gets a little old after a while to fall back on that to explain away sloppy storytelling.

Still, I tore through this book. I think it rates up there with Deception, partly because, like that novel, the author takes the story down from a grand scale and makes it personal. This is the first book in a trilogy, and I expect the series will become more grand as it progresses, but I enjoyed seeing Bane’s development, even if he does go on to be an antagonist.

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