by Isis | 2/12/2014
" The storyline of this concluding book is much more focused than Rule of Two. In this book, the focus is very much on the inevitable duel between Darth Bane and Darth Zannah and the question of who will emerge the victor, a question which overarches the entire book and provides the connecting plot point. However, this greater focus brings with it its own problems and downsides. The reader knows that this is going to be the climactic ending of the book, and as a result, quite a lot of the preceding build up feels like unnecessary window dressing, kinda like the author has sat down and said to themselves "okay, I gotta write this story about this final duel but I gotta get a whole book out of this material... what can I do to fill up the rest of these 300 pages?" The answer to that is send Zannah off on a pointless side trip (view spoiler)[(Set never becomes her apprentice and Bane admits that the mission is just to get her out of the way) (hide spoiler)], then send Bane off to get the macguffin which happens to solve the problems in the plot and waste time, and finally throw in a pointless side plot with Serra which means that people have to run all over the galaxy for a bit on a wild goose chase, and voila, 300 pages filled!
The other problem is that the Rule of Two, as Bane explains it, means that the Sith Order is perpetuated because every apprentice is destined to kill their master and take up the mantle. This means essentially that the Sith Order, under the Rule of Two, can only function if the apprentice defeats the master and renews the cycle (or at the least, the master has more than one apprentice and is defeated by the final challenger). Therefore the reader almost knows well before the actual deciding duel that (view spoiler)[Zannah must win and defeat Bane. (hide spoiler)]
Thereâ€™s also the issue that the book is 300 pages, which is usually considered the minimum for a decent novel. Just short of 300 pages, to be exact, and itâ€™s no surprise that other books that short in the Star Wars series have come under criticism because they could easily have been made more concise and merged with another book in order to create one solid and meatier story instead of two separate, rather sparse stories. I definitely think that this book and Rule of Two could have been condensed into one book; cutting out the unnecessary chaff from both, producing a novel meatier and grander in scope than a rather sparse 300-page offering. Lots of the action felt engineered by the author, particularly with Baneâ€™s macguffin hunting, but also the side plot with Serra which didnâ€™t really affect the outcome of the overall plot at all â€“ notice how the plot with Serra is only sparked off when by pure chance, Serra learns of her fatherâ€™s death and that Bane is still alive, a random discovery so unlikely that you can definitely see the authorâ€™s hand in it.
My last criticism is that the characters in this, and also in Rule of Two as well, were too vague and not fleshed out enough. Rule of Two pretty much only had four main characters. Dynasty of Evil expands upon this to a grand total of six significant characters â€“ Bane, Zannah, Serra, Lucia, Set Harth and the Iktotchi â€“ and the other characters are barely more than references. Even these six feel lacking somehow. Weâ€™re often shown what they do, but their motivations and reasons for doing so are hard to fathom, and in some cases as a result, this must be explained in an expositional scene delving into the thoughts of the character. This is a far cry from the Bane we met in Path of Destruction. Path of Destruction Bane was fleshed out, his situation and background clear to us and permeating his choices in the present, his feelings and motivations stark and desperate, creating an anti-hero that you could understand and empathise with even as he trod ever darker paths on the journey to becoming a Sith Lord. He doesnâ€™t do terribly much in either the previous book or this, and it feels a little bit like Bane sits on his hands whilst sending Zannah out to do all the dirty work. This is a far cry from the Bane of Path of Destruction, gripping his destiny with both hands and pursuing in relentlessly. Bane just doesnâ€™t feel quite active enough after cutting a swathe of destruction through Path. Of all three books in the trilogy, I have to say Path of Destruction is my personal choice.
That said, the story was logical and trotted along at a fair pace, enough to make me keep wanting to turn the page, and I finished the book in an afternoon, although that might be due to the book being so short. But there was a certain eagerness to finish it and read just one more chapter. The writing was competent, although it felt rather sparse and some parts felt like padded filler, it was more a sense of competent writing not reaching its potential and instead striving to spread out a thin story, rather than truly terrible writing. A competent read, certainly not atrocious and will provide decent enough entertainment, but you could miss it without any real problems.
6 out of 10. "