Here we are. At last, we’ve arrived at the book I’ve been dreading because it is just that good. (Thanks for that, Matt Stover.) In 2005, Del Ray published a novelization of Revenge of the Sith and two novels that take place on either side of it, forming an unofficial trilogy. I’m also including another book in this post just because it needed a place to go. This is also the review where I finally did post some reaction pictures so I could properly express my anguish. (Enjoy the spam of my face.) However, if you’re going to take nothing else away from this and the past few posts, take away that I would positively love to see both Stover and Luceno write more books in this era. Please.
Labyrinth of Evil
This is by far the prequel lead-in book that has the most to do with its film. (So, in retrospect, my decision to go to the bookstore and read through this hardcover I couldn’t afford the day before the movie was released was a good one but then again 15 year old me probably should’ve had the good sense to get it from the library weeks before.) Because it goes directly into the film, it ends up being one of the most worthwhile of the lead-in books to read. However, even though it’s a lead up, the book still has its own story to tell and that tale never really drags. Luceno’s action sequences are well done and he has an excellent grasp of all the characters.
Speaking of which, no one writes Palpatine like James Luceno and no one has the ability to make the Prequels make more sense like him either. He drops in some references, like the one to Plagueis, that apparently went right over my head when I originally read that book but that had me nodding and going “ohhhhh” as I read it this time. He also references tons of things from the rest of the Prequel books without it ever being heavy handed. What’s even more impressive to me is that he manages to write the best Palpatine in a book that was still under the ‘LOLZ DON’T TELL ANYONE THAT SIDIOUS IS PALPS’ gag order. The writing accolade obviously extends to how he writes Sidious. Luceno does keep up the ruse for those who live under a rock and weren’t aware of Palpatine’s secret identity but he doesn’t sacrifice characterization to do so. Applause all around really.
Luceno also writes a pretty good Anakin and Obi-Wan. I love that Obi-Wan’s plan of attack to find this pilot is to go drink in every bar until they can find her. Best plan ever, Boozy-Wan. This era is absolutely his forte. Actually, I’d love to see him write a political Amidala book or even an early days of the Rebellion book based purely on how he handled those characters in this book. Actually, I don’t have any complaints with how he handled any of the characters, even the ill-fated Captain Dyne.
Overall, it’s actually a pretty good read. It tells the story that it needs to tell and never lets the reader get too bored. It’s a nice mix of action and politics and the hunt for Sidious. If you skipped this, it’s one of the Prequel books I would recommend going back and giving a shot. Honestly, I’m thrilled to have rediscovered this book.