ByJames B, writer at
Just a lame nerd with little better to do than rant and rave about movies, anime, video games, animation, comics, etc.
James B

The Darth Bane Trilogy by Drew Karpyshyn is a rare specimen in both story-telling and enrapturing world-building, not just within Star Wars, but fiction in general. In the movies, and much of the Expanded Universe, the "Dark Side" of the force is like this embodiment of evil whose influence must be fought against. What Drew Karpyshyn provides is a look at a man who embraces all of the power the Dark Side of The Force has to offer. Not because he's just so evil, or he gave into desire, or he wants to watch the universe burn. In fact, this Sith Lord is among the most emotionally composed, clearest thinking individuals in all of galactic civilization.

Dessel (Bane's birth name) grows up on a world where its citizens are used by the Republic to mine its natural resources for armor and weapons. The only influence the usual "good guys" have ever displayed in his eyes is arrogance, abuse, and superiority. As such, he doesn't see the two sides as black or white, but as two conglomerates of equal power and feigned altruism desperate for the chance to make the galaxy into what they deem best.

Dessel's joining the Sith Empire can even be argued to be in a way the fault of the Republic. After winning a high-stakes game against a commanding officer, using mystical foresight he'd later recognize as a manifestation of The Force, Republic troops ambush Des and end up being among the few casualties actually carried out by the future Dark Lord's own hands. In order to escape to a place the Republic wouldn't follow, he joins the Sith. The actions of republic authority drove him towards the Sith. There he learned ways to achieve power and order that would not only keep him from being a victim again, but, in his mind, eliminate the hypocritical rule the galaxy is under.

I don't plan to give much away aside from the bare bones plot established fairly early on. The greatest strengths of this trilogy are the character moments, the tangible evolution of Bane and the galaxy around him. He has some of the greatest physical and mental feats in Star Wars, and maybe in literature throughout this trilogy, and is easily not only one of the most badass, but one of the more relatable an interesting characters I've ever read about. Others whom become involved with him, or involved with those people are all unique and fleshed out characters, despite their lack of screen time, and the series does an excellent job of establishing a universe, that 3,000 years prior to the movies, feels more vivid and has more personality than it ever did across all six Star Wars movies.

I honestly feel like this is an excellent read even for those with the faintest interest in Star Wars. It's far more about the characters and the lore, as well as the political and social intrigue, than the movies ever were, and in my opinion, it's of higher quality. I've always said I liked Star Wars, but Knights of the Old Republic made me fall in love with it, and the same man who wrote that game continues here to, quite honestly, curbstomp its source material, expanding and improving upon it while being an excellent stand-alone trilogy. The Darth Bane Trilogy is among the best stories in the Star Wars mythos and one of the most fascinating reads I've ever experienced. Anyone with the vaguest knowledge or interest in Star Wars should pick this up.


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