Thursday, May 30, 2013
Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Description: The turning point for the entire Star Wars saga is at hand. . . .
As combat escalates across the galaxy, the stage is set for an explosive endgame: Obi-Wan undertakes a perilous mission to destroy the dreaded Separatist military leader, General Grievous. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine continues to strip away constitutional liberties in the name of security while influencing public opinion to turn against the Jedi. And a conflicted Anakin fears that his secret love, Senator Padmé Amidala, will die. Tormented by unspeakable visions, Anakin edges closer to the brink of a galaxy-shaping decision. It remains only for Darth Sidious to strike the final staggering blow against the Republic–and to ordain a fearsome new Sith Lord: Darth Vader.
Based on the screenplay of the final film in George Lucas’s epic saga, bestselling Star Wars author Matthew Stover’s novel crackles with action, captures the iconic characters in all their complexity, and brings a space opera masterpiece full circle in stunning style. (from Amazon.com)
My Thoughts: I will not lie, Matthew Stover's Revenge of the Sith is one of my favorite novels of all time.
I'm sure you're skeptical. It is, after all, a Star Wars novel, and the novelization of a movie to boot. However, Stover is a truly masterful writer, and his novelization is a significant improvement to the movie by the same title.
Revenge of the Sith is probably one of the best-written novels I have ever read. Stover uses words and sentence and paragraph structure incredibly well to convey ideas and feelings. Reading this book, I always know that Stover crafted his use of words very carefully.
This book is essentially a tragedy: it is, after all, *spoiler* the story of the downfall of the Jedi Order and the Republic, as well as the story of Anakin's final steps into the Dark Side. It is not all darkness, however; it is also the story of brave Jedi knights, striving to do what is right in a world that seems full of wrong, and of how the Empire is ultimately defeated. *end spoiler* I think that this aspect of the Star Wars universe--the good vs. evil aspect, the fact that people fight against evil despite impossible odds and still win--is why I love Star Wars so much.
Each section begins with creepy but thought-provoking statements about darkness and light (not entirely Biblical). Stover clearly makes this story about both the individuals and the broader struggle of evil vs. good, making the book feel truly epic. He tries to help us understand each major character, and I found it well-done; it even made me almost like, or at least understand, Anakin, who is probably one of my least favorite characters of all time (precisely because he normally comes across as so flat, irritating, and whiny).
Revenge of the Sith is also a huge improvement over the movie of the same title (in fact, every time I read this book I have a strong desire afterwards to watch the movie. Every time that I do, I am very disappointed). Part of this is simply because Stover had more room to work with, since he was writing a novel, and it is easier to explain and create sympathy with characters when you can portray their thoughts and feelings through words rather than through conversations and close-ups. Stover also, however, added scenes (approved by George Lucas) that helped make many characters' actions much more understandable as well as that created both a mood and an environment that the action was taking place in. Anakin's turn to the dark side becomes more understandable, for instance, even as it also becomes clear that his reasons were all wrong. He spent some well-used words creating the mood of the Republic at the time: exhausted by the war, struggling to deal with the horrors, unsure of what it meant for them or how they should live their lives. It strengthened the story quite a bit. Finally, Stover expanded on the character of Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, making him a thoroughly creepy and in-control villain. He shows how Palpatine has been planning for this moment for years and years, and he comes across as incredibly painstaking, intelligent, manipulative, and all-across evil.
If anyone is wondering or concerned, the Force isn't a huge aspect of this book. There are some descriptions of how individual Jedis interact differently with the Force (which are fascinating for any Star Wars people), but the Force is otherwise little mentioned, and does not come across as something anti-Christian. The focus of the book is the characters and their struggle against evil. BUT this is the only Stover book set in the Star Wars universe that I can whole-heartedly recommend, from a Christian viewpoint.