First off, I liked the concept of the book. But James Luceno wrote “Darth Plagueis” like Damask led his life (in the fictional sense), boring. I rather enjoyed the meat and potatoes of the story and I appreciate the back story to one of the most important references of the new trilogy, but the device in how it was delivered was hard to swallow.
I understand Damask chose to be a Sith of a different nature and rule by manipulation rather than force, no pun intended. But you can still write a gripping tale without confrontation. Star Wars: Darth Plagueis lacked the power to draw you in and entice you to read through the night. In fact I found this a chore to read in the sense that it took me a month to read because I felt like I was forcing myself to like the book. While the beginning of the book was down right boring the book did improve as Palpatine was introduced and began to grow as a Senator and eventually into the evil man we grew to love/hate.
A few points that I found difficult to handle:
*The “Virgince in Force” was really that. In TPM I always felt that was such a horrible angle and by RotS I found it great because after Palpatine’s discussion with Anakin it appeared as if Palpatine manipulated his birth, which in this story Luceno brought it into the hands of the Force itself trying to create a balance to the rising power of the Sith regime.
*While I incredibly enjoyed that this book resolves into the events of TPM it is a bit contradictory because Plagueis is so instrumental, but yet never referenced in the film even as a passing image. (Yes, I understand the need to remember this is a post story, but the power of the character is far to powerful and important to have been so monumental to be in the seen-and-not-heard.) While this is a fault, it is also a great strength at the same time. The ultimate Catch-22.
*Darth Maul is not a Sith, but just a disposable assassin.
A few points that I found wonderful:
*As above the mixture of TPM into the story. 90% of the integration was perfect, the hand Palpatine had in bringing Padme to power, the involvement in the Clone Army and the fall of Valorum all worked and transitioned well.
*Sith focus, and the victory of the Sith for once. The good guys can’t win every time.
If you put in the effort the final 1/3 of the book really does pay off with a solid ending. Luceno would have been better served writing this as a book about Palpatine and shifting focus on his rise rather than Plagueis’ demise. It does not sound like this is a big change, but the failure of the book was the solo focus areas on Plagueis, and had that been omitted and compressed to sort views in the story about Palpatine it would have drastically improved the flow and enjoyment of the story.