This review was originally posted on The Geeky Waffle. It has been reposted here with permission.
I will be perfectly honest, I went into Shadow of the Sith unsure what to think of it, and hesitant at the premise to say the least. By the sound of things, it was going to at least partially bridge the gap between Star Wars Original and Sequel trilogies, which I am always here for. It was also going to be a Luke and Lando adventure, which was a welcome concept. But that it was going to be the book to double down on the Rey Palpatine plot introduced out of nowhere in The Rise of Skywalker was the part that gave me pause.
Now having read it, I find myself just as conflicted as when I started.
I want to say from the outset, that absolutely none of my issues lie with author Adam Christopher. Shadow of the Sith is an extremely well-written book. The lore he has added around the Sith, Sith acolytes and Exegol is all fascinating stuff. I had a lot of fun watching Luke and Lando run around the galaxy together. This would likely be a very different conversation if Episode IX hadn’t gone the way it had in several respects.
The biggest hurdle for me to clear was the introduction of Rey’s parents. We are introduced early on to Dathan and Miramir, a young couple on the run from Palpatine, seeking not only to save themselves but their young daughter, Rey. In all honesty, if they had just been a random doomed couple that Luke and Lando wanted to find and protect, I would have been all in on their story. As characters existing in a void, they are both sweet and compelling.
But knowing who exactly they are and what their existence cost Rey — one of my favorite characters in the whole saga — in terms of her agency and her character arc, any time they spoke of their daughter it was a sobering reminder that sadly diminished how invested I was in their overall story.
For what it’s worth, Christopher does his best by the characters in the story, attempting to inject a degree of foreshadowing to line this story up with their eventual sequel trilogy plots. But Lando’s dedication to finding his stolen daughter, and Luke’s belief that his nephew Ben will make a great Jedi one day just wind up feeling so tragic, because we know — as of right now — that these things will never come to pass.
Also he gave us not one, but two chapters with Padawan Ben Solo. I never thought I’d see that. While the scenes weren’t exactly focused on him, it did make my cold heart grow a size or two.
All that said, the Sith side of the story is chilling and compelling, and I enjoyed it with zero caveats. Luke Skywalker discovering the darker side of the Sith, and the presence of Sith artifacts while facing a terrifying new threat? Yes, more of this kind of thing, please. I am always here for stories that make the world seem bigger rather than smaller.
It was always going to be a thankless task to try and make sense of some of the more out of left-field decisions made by J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio in The Rise of Skywalker. Ultimately I think the enjoyment of this book for others depends on how they felt about that film, and specifically how they felt about Rey Palpatine. If you liked that, you’ll like this. For me personally, the book hasn’t turned me off of Adam Christoper’s writing. As I said, it’s well written and I will happily read another Star Wars book of his should he write one.
Shadow of the Sith is out June 28, 2022. Special thank you to Del Rey for an advance copy for review purposes.