Final Score: 6.4

    ★★★☆☆ Plot

    ★★★☆☆ Characterization

    ★★★☆☆ Writing

    ★★★★☆ Star-Wars-iness

    ★★★☆☆ Personal Enjoyment


This book review contains spoilers for those who have not yet read Darth Bane: Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn.

This book is highly overrated, and I think I understand why: everyone loves being lured to explore the dark side and hearing Sith backstories. These two things, mixed with the reviews I heard were exactly why I was so eager to begin the Bane trilogy. However, the story’s execution is lackluster and left me wondering what all the other fans have been thinking…

I really enjoyed the first act of this book: the planet where Dessel originates, his occupation, the Sabacc games, how the story tells of his first few times tapping into the force and the play-by-play we the readers get during a couple combat situations. It’s great fun and made me excited for the Sith dealings to follow.

Once we get to the Sith training school things change. The lightsaber training is super fun and Bane tapping into the archives when the ignorant order-followers don’t feel the need to allows for a lot of opportunity to explore the teachings. Instead, we only hear that he is learning about power and deceit rather than being shown examples of how he’s being smart to employ these new tactics over time to thwart his student opponents.

Many things like this exist, even later in the story when he actually finds an ancient holocron. I found it difficult to stay engaged and interested during the third act of the book.

Pros:

  • The beginning, Bane’s backstory and beginning of his rise to power, are captivating and quite enjoyable
  • I really enjoyed the various locations throughout the book and Karpyshyn’s environmental descriptions
  • For the most part, the tone of book matches the pace and setting, if a bit rushed
  • The lightsaber duels are where this book shines – these were by far my favorite part, Star-Wars-iness wise

Cons:

  • Explore what the Sith teachings actually are beyond the main tenets! Please!
  • Not enough lore – while the code of the Sith as originally outlined in KOTOR is nice to reference, there isn’t much expansion past it (I’m guessing there’s more in the following two books of the trilogy..?)
  • Mostly one-dimensional characters throughout
  • Also, some of the character interactions become laughable in their predictability, and how poorly the characters make decisions
  • There’s a jarring shift that happens later in the book than it should, where we get another story being told from a different perspective
  • The Jedi side of the story is way too underdeveloped (due to its late introduction in the story) and becomes ultimately unnecessary
  • Thought bomb: interesting idea, but sloppy and juvenile in delivery

-Will Reinhardt