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Star Wars. Labyrinth of Evil

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4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Superb prequel to Episode III 7 novembre 2006
Par Andrew Pruette - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
James Luceno wrote the first book in my chronological re-reading of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Cloak of Deception, and it was a wonderful five-star kickoff. Happily, Labyrinth of Evil does not disappoint in any way. Revenge of the Sith is my second-favorite Star Wars movie behind The Empire Strikes Back, so getting an entire prequel devoted to setting up the thrilling action of the film itself is a real treat.

Revenge of the Sith starts in the middle of a gigantic space battle over Coruscant. The opening crawl summarizes why we are there and what has gone before, but there was so much story the movie didn't have time to cover. That's where Labyrinth of Evil comes in, letting us spend time with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker at the height of their friendship and their powers, before it all goes bad. After spending very little time with this duo during the Clone Wars books, it's almost a relief to get back to focusing on them and the other main film characters. This focus also makes the book very accessible, even to a casual Star Wars fan.

On the flip side, Luceno makes a grand effort to weave in tasty tidbits of the EU throughout the tale, so dedicated fans will not be disappointed. The comics, books, and cartoons all get their due at various points, and he reaches way back to before The Phantom Menace to pull together what feels like the last step before we pitch over the cliff and fall into the Dark Times.

The book starts with a long chase/action sequence on Cato Neimoidia, a planet we glimpsed during the Order 66 montage in Sith. This is an excellent example of how this book expands the scope of Episode III and kicks off some of the major plot threads of the film. Why did Darth Sidious choose that particular time to set his final plans in motion with the Separatist invasion of Coruscant? That question is abundantly answered in Labyrinth of Evil, and in a chilling scene, Intelligence officer Dyne gets to learn the full truth of exactly how high in the government the Sith influence goes. Good stuff.

This book also works to put to bed some lingering questions from Attack of the Clones. The tale of Sifo-Dyas and his friendship with Count Dooku is sketched out by Yoda, although I would have liked more substance here. The mystery of who erased Kamino from the Jedi Archives is also answered.

There is another source to examine in discovering what happened right before Episode III, and that's the superb Clone Wars cartoon. It tells a very similar story of the Separatist kidnapping of Chancellor Palpatine, although it differs in some key details. On the other hand, the book gives us an adventure with Anakin and Obi-Wan totally distinct from their trip to Nelvaan in the cartoon. Rather than try to forcibly reconcile the differences between the two, my inclination is to celebrate having both available and choosing which to consider your personal canon. In mythology, stories generally have the same nugget of truth at their core but can differ sharply in the surrounding details. If we're to buy into George Lucas' explanation of Star Wars as a modern-day myth, perhaps this phenomenon of two similar yet distinct stories is a manifestation of that identity.

The real strength of James Luceno in this galaxy far, far away is his ability to write a book that feels like a Star Wars film. Just like Cloak of Deception sets up The Phantom Menace so perfectly, exploring exactly the places that more insight was needed, Labyrinth of Evil fits hand-in-glove with Revenge of the Sith. I had more flat-out fun reading it than any book to date in my chronological journey through the Expanded Universe.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 "Next move? Spring the trap!" 15 août 2007
Par Erick Bertin - Publié sur
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
By now you've seen how it all ends, right? Episode III wraps up the Star Wars saga and ties all the loose ends, right? Well, it depends of your interpretation of "loose ends". If you're a casual fan of the saga, you've probably seen the prequels and never gave them a second thought. But if you're a fanatic, chances are you left the theater with the feeling that a few things here and there were left (purposely?) unanswered. And as we all know, Star Wars has a tendency to create fanatics, not fans, and it is for this second type of audience that this type of products (Expanded Universe novels, comics, cartoons, video games, etc) are created, so they can find some of those answers that they crave for.

Indeed, Labyrinth of Evil by James Luceno is a novel that depicts the events that immediately precede those seen in Episode III. Therefore the novel deals with the last weeks, days and even hours leading to that climax: we get to see how the Sith's plot to take over the galaxy finally comes to fruition, as the Jedi walk into a giant, centuries in the making "pincer move" that is forever going to change the face of that galaxy far, far away. And while it may seem a pointless thing to chronicle (since we all knew how it was going to end, even before the release of Episode III), Luceno actually manages to pull off a very entertaining, engaging book. The book was written in close collaboration with Lucasfilm and Matthew Stover (author of the novelization of Episode III) in order to have them mesh seamlessly.

The action starts in Cato Nemodia, home to the dastardly Nute Gunray (and other leaders of the Trade Federation), where Anakin Skywalker, now a fully fledged Jedi Knight, joins his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi with the objective of bringing Gunray and his entourage to justice. But instead of that, they come up with something potentially more valuable: clues as to the whereabouts and identity of the mysterious Sith mastermind, Darth Sidious.

From there, we are taken for a galaxy-wide ride, a race against time, with the Jedi trying desperately to uncover their insidious enemy, and the Sith's relentless drive to rule the galaxy. The novel (re)introduces all the major characters that we saw in Episode II and all those who will be seen in Episode III, in addition to a plethora of minor characters that play small, yet critical roles in this galaxy-spanning game of (holo)chess. The action is abundant, from deep space battles to melee skirmishes, and on to the greater conflict between the light and the dark sides of the Force.

Luceno's style of writing is pretty "graphic", if I may say so, meaning that he relies more on creating pictures of the characters rather than telling us word by word what they're thinking. He often lets a lot up to the reader to interpret from the "body language" that he endows the characters with. I've read some other comments stating that, because he has to introduce a lot of new locations, characters, alien species and/or vehicles, he spends a lot of time describing such things to the detriment of plot/character development, but I honestly don't agree with that; take his description of the new Republic ARC-170 starfighter for example: it is accurate enough for the reader to get a good impression of what the ship looks like without being too long, but it also leaves room for interpretation without being too succinct, a good balance all in all.

Another observation made about the novel is that, by making references to other Clone Wars novels (Dark Rendezvous, Cestus Deception, Shatterpoint,etc), comics (Republic) and even the Cartoon Network animated Clone Wars, it sometimes looses focus and confuses the reader with a bunch of bits that they might not be familiar with. Being a MAJOR Star Wars fans myself, I was familiarized with 95% of the references made and I enjoyed them a lot, but I guess I can actually see how they can be bit confusing for the casual fan. But let me ask you this: when you first saw Episode IV, did it really matter to you not knowing which planet Princess Leia was from? That information WAS NOT in the opening crawl for the movie, and yet we enjoyed it, didn't we? Well, I truly believe that the same can be said about these references: they don't get in the way, they just add, and if you're a dedicated fan you'll be delighted, as they are a real treat.

And as mentioned before, there's one more reason for Star Wars fans to pick this one up: the loose ends. This novel actually DOES tie a fair share of those, which I'm sure caused a lot a sleepless nights to a whole lot of people (LOL). What am I talking about? Naaah, I'm not gonna ruin it for ya, you're gonna have to read it, mates!!! You wouldn't want me to spoil them now, would you? And I wouldn't want to, either, anymore than I would have liked to reveal that Chewie was Luke's father BEFORE Episode V. (Uh, that how it goes...?)

And while I really enjoyed reading the book (and it didn't take long for me to finish it), there is one tiny little thing that left me wondering: the ending of the book. Chill, I'm not gonna ruin it, either, but let me say this: up until that point, Luceno had managed to perfectly balance the story he wanted to tell with the information about the Clone Wars from the other sources, including the Cartoon Network mini-series. But here, we find an almost totally different take on it, with the end result of two conflicting versions of the events. Some may argue that they are not entirely dissimilar, but the fact remains that they are different enough from each other to create a conflict. There are things about both interpretations (the one of the novel, the one of the mini-series) that I like, but in the end, I guess I'll stick with the mini-series' as the "canon" one.

Ultimately, I think that this is a book that can be enjoyed even by casual Star Wars fans, but I think that its true appeal will be fully appreciated by diehards, mostly. So there you go, if you're interested in going a little deeper than the movies, this is a great place to start and, in conjunction with the Episode III novelization and Luceno's next Star Wars book, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, makes for a compelling, truly enjoyable read.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Smooths Anakin's Transition 29 avril 2014
Par CONSUPUR - Publié sur
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
I'm glad I grabbed this book, it smooths Anakin's transformation, and covers General Grievous' background. It also ads insight into the Palpatine's Mechanizations involving Grievous and Dooku. NOTE: This is not a good stand-alone story, but rather a effective bridge between Episode II & Episode III. I recommend the following order of reading/watching, if you're coming back to this story line.

Darth Plagueis, Episode I, Episode II, Labyrinth of Evil, Episode III, Rise of Lord Vader
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Well Done Prequel for a Prequel 8 juin 2010
Par Mike - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
The infamous rush to find Darth Sidious. This book is still a seat grabber even though reading it, we all know that they don't find out that Palpatine is the Sith Lord until Revenge of the Sith but it doesn't matter. James Luceno does a great job of keeping suspense and action going despite most reader's full knowledge of the outcome.

I'm not going to jump into too much of an in depth review as that has been done already. I will say that combining this with Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (which was far better than the movie) and Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader (Star Wars) is a great "Dark Lord trilogy" as it has been called by Amazon.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 pretty good 19 juillet 2005
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Labyrinth of Evil tells the story of the last days before Revenge of the Sith and not only is it better than the Attack of the Clones novel but it's strong enough to stand on it's own.

The feeling of the book is bittersweet. Anakin has never been more emotionally stable. He's a general, he's Palpatines pet and Padme's husband. He and Obi Wan have finally formed a smooth partnership. Except for one ugly incident it looks like Anakin is on his way to becoming a great Jedi knight. But of course we all know how this is going to turn out.

The dark side has fallen over the republic. Yoda knows in his heart that the situation is hopeless. The only thing the Jedi can do now is see it the end.

The side characters were done well. Dooku is presented in a interesting light. He's brilliant, he's lethal and considers himself to be far superior to Maul and Grievous. He seems to be wavering between a sentimental longing for Jedi acceptance and his need to be a ruler. Grievous is described in an almost sympathetic way. He is a servant of the Sith, he's a monster but not by choice and he's probably meant to be a forshadowing of Darth Vader.

Finally, the senators and citizens are Coruscant are described. They're mostly selfish, lazy and such cowards that you wish the Jedi would all just decide that these people aren't worth fighting for. The book is a dazzling combination of intense action scenes and deeply emotional little scenes that rush without lagging to the end which is the opening act of Revenge of the Sith.

The book is pretty darn good. Check it out.
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