Darth Bane: Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn
Review by Kevin O’Bedlam
“Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.“
I’m a Trek guy, but not one of those weirdos that thinks Trek and Wars are mutually exclusive and all that nonsense. However, being a Trek guy, I don’t know very much about the Star Wars universe (I still haven’t seen Jedi). One of the regulars at my LGS, Joe (that link is somewhat NSFW), told me that I absolutely needed to read this trilogy. I discussed it with my tattoo artist, who’s a big Star Wars guy and he confirmed that it was worth a read.
Path of Destruction just happened to be the best place for a Wars noob to start reading into the extended universe. It’s set something like 1000 years before Episode 1 in the Old Republic. Everyone who’s seen the movies knows all about the Jedi way of life, and of course the Sith (Vader, Palpatine, Maul, etc) are painted as faceless bad guys that are difficult to relate to. This book provides a great entry point into learning more details about the way the Sith operate, makes the reader able to empathize with them, and (if it’s even possible) makes them seem cooler.
Bane (who was one of the first characters written about that started using the Darth name) starts out his story as a blue collar ‘normal’ guy in the Star Wars universe, though at odds with the often times too perfect seeming Republic. Path of Destruction follows his story as he joins the Sith army, and is eventually recruited into the Dark-Side version of Hogwarts. Bane’s a pretty important guy in Star Wars canon, but if you don’t know his significance, don’t spoil this book for yourself by looking it up on Wookiepedia (yes that’s a real site.)
The most interesting part of this book is the perspective it gives on the Dark Side. Karpyshyn does a fantastic job of justifying all of the Sith treachery and malice and making the reader begin to understand both sides of the coin, as it were.Not just does it clarify why the Sith do what they do, it explains why they are at odds with the Light Side of the force. This, in turn, makes the entire Star Wars universe more dynamic by changing the paradigm from ‘Good vs. Evil’ to ‘Ascetic vs. Hedonist’.
I typically try to avoid ‘licensed’ books (the warhammer 40k books in particular are usually atrocious) but Karpyshyn paints this world with vivid strokes, which I think, is probably due to having a great deal of creative license. That must be because the Old Republic lore is a bit more of a void than the movie lore and allows for more elbow room, but maybe he’s just that good of a writer.
So yes, it was worth a read and has likely sent me into a never ending spiral of reading Star Wars extended universe books, but if they’re anywhere as good as this one, that won’t be a problem. I may even get around to watching Jedi one of these days.
5 slaughtered Jedi Initiates out of 5 .
but don’t take my word for it!