Star Wars Book Review: Dark Disciple

  • Author: Christie Golden
  • 359 pages
  • Published in 2015
  • Canon
  • Placement in Timeline: Clone Wars era (between AOTC and ROTS)

What It’s About:

Dark Disciple is a novelization of some Clone Wars episodes that were scripted but never made; unfortunately, the series was cancelled before they could be produced.

This one has the Jedi Council so desperate to defeat Count Dooku that they decide to send a Jedi to assassinate him. They choose Quinlan Voss for the job–and direct him to go to Asajj Ventress for help. (Sounds like a disaster already).

Vos and Ventress end up falling in love, as Ventress teaches Vos to tap into the Dark Side in order to kill Dooku. Both things (love and dark side emotions) plunge Vos into uncharted territory and threaten both his life as a Jedi and the future of the galaxy.

My Thoughts:

Dark Disciple is, ultimately, a love story; and while I enjoyed it, I’m not sure it quite worked for me for a few reasons.

First, my mental picture of Asajj Ventress will always be this:

Asajj Ventress
Skinny egghead Ventress; lives off Dark Side fumes.

And that’s just not pretty any way you look at it. However, I do realize that the Dark Side twists a person, both physically and mentally. Since Ventress freed herself from the grip of the Dark Side, her physical appearance has changed, possibly to this:

Asajj Ventress
Weirdly pretty Ventress, much healthier but still grumpy.

This is more palatable, and I can see Vos finding her attractive. But it was hard for me to keep this image in mind while I read. Not that it should matter; we all know that love is blind, right?

Anyway, poor Vos is doomed the moment he takes the assignment. It’s wrong on so many Jedi levels, as a little voice keeps whispering to Obi-Wan Kenobi, our proverbial Star Wars moral compass. Not only is the mission itself a dark path, but Ventress leads him to the darkness within himself–believing, of course, that it’s the only way to defeat Dooku, and that she’s helping the man she’s falling in love with.

It’s a dangerous line to walk, tapping into the Dark Side but keeping enough control to not let it overcome you. Ventress knows this from experience, and it’s something Vos will find out.

I wasn’t particularly familiar with Quinlan Vos, except for that one Clone Wars episode (Season 3 Episode 9, The Hunt for Ziro) he’s in with Obi-Wan, tracking down Ziro the Hutt. He’s presented, both in that episode and in this book, as a sort of renegade Jedi–not to the extent of a Rael Aveross (see Master and Apprentice), but one who doesn’t quite fit the mold of a model Jedi. He’s ebullient, affable, always cracking jokes. But very good at what he does, a Jedi Master who’s more than capable of holding his own.

In other words, not one I thought would be susceptible to attachment or the Dark Side. He’s not angry like Anakin, or ambitious like Dooku. But there are extenuating circumstances. Ventress, unbeknownst to the Jedi Council, teaches him to walk the line between the Dark Side and control. Once he opens up that avenue within himself, all emotions–including love, anger, ambition–are fair game. And once Vos is captured by Dooku (sorry about this small spoiler) torture and psychological abuse apparently finish the job. Or have they?

The whole question of has he or hasn’t he fallen to the Dark Side (he seems to go back and forth) kept up my curiosity and need for answers as the story went on.

Vos and Ventress seem an unlikely couple, and it was kind of weird. But I rooted for them anyway. I’ll always root for love. It was nice to see Ventress let that emotion in.

And Obi-Wan’s continuing misgivings about the whole mission only strengthens my admiration and faith in this most superlative of Jedi. Because, if there had been any doubt before, this mission clearly shows that the Jedi have truly lost their way, and Obi-Wan knows it.

The whole point of this rambling is that I enjoyed Dark Disciple, and it gave me some things to chew on, which is what the best Star Wars books do.

If you like love stories, and/or if you’re a Ventress fan, you’ll like this book. If you find love stories nauseating, or prefer Ventress in all her Dark Side glory, this book isn’t for you.

I’m the former, so I’m going to go ahead and give this book four lightsabers.

Rating: 4 out of 5 lightsabers

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