Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
A Novel of the Old Republic
Written by Drew Karpyshyn
Del Rey Books
Cover price: $25.95; September 26, 2006
I’ve really been looking forward to starting this series, because, if nothing else, it meant that I had a whole heap of new books to read. But from another perspective, it means that I have the chance to pass on to you, the reader, my love of Star Wars novels.
For the next 7 weeks, in the lead up to the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated film, each week I’ll be posting another Countdown to Clone Wars review, looking at, sometimes just one, other times a group of Star Wars books. We’ll touch on the Clone Wars, the rise of the Empire, the fall of the Empire, and the beginning of the New Republic. Our first book is Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, and our last book will be the ninth book in the X-Wing series, Starfighters of Adumar.
But for now, let’s get stuck into what turned out to be a really enjoyable read.
Darth Bane: Path of Destruction centers on a new character for the Star Wars universe. This is primarily because it is set over a thousand years before the battle of Yavin (BBY and ABY is the timeline the Star Wars universe goes by; Before and After the Battle of Yavin, which took place at the end of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope).
Our primary observer is Bane, not surprisingly, considering his name is on the book and all. He starts out on a mining facility, before quickly joining the Sith. However, as the book elaborates, the Sith that people hear about is not a “mystical Force using order” but rather a group opposing the Republic. They’re made up of foot soldiers, just like any army, and led by the Brotherhood of Darkness.
The story tells of Bane’s instruction in the ways of the Force, after he is found to be strong in the Force. He is naturally strong and also naturally angry due to his life up to that point. It is a fantastic look at the other side of the Force, a side that has only ever been held with contempt by authors and the films.
In reality, the Jedi way of “all for the good of others” is not a widespread feeling in our day and age. So to finally see the Dark Side, or as I like to call it, The American Way, represented in this book is a nice change, even if it is a little morbid and angry.
The series is written by Drew Karpyshyn, who got his start as a game designer/scenario/scriptwriter. He wrote the full story for the game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. His third attempt at a novel, but not his last, Path of Destruction shows a real understanding of the topic matter.
I will say that the story does two things to me that irk me a little. The first was the speed with which he did away with a world he had only just built. Without giving away the book, the Sith order that Bane enters into does not manage to stay that way for long. I would have liked at least a little bit of time dealing with the Sith order as it was.
Secondly, and possibly only in my head, is the fact that he once again creates a need for me to read books not yet written. My interpretation of the introduction of this Darth Bane series is to answer questions about what came before the events of Phantom Menace. But Karpyshyn writes this book, continually referring to events that take place 3000 years before this book takes place.
Now a quick search on Wikipedia reveals that the main reference point for Karpyshyn, Darth Revan, is a character in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. That he wrote the story for the game is all good and well, but it’s a computer game, and not necessarily conducive to good storytelling.
That being said, this does reiterate the point I am trying to make through this Countdown to Clone Wars series; that the Star Wars expanded universe is a well crafted and thought out entity, lapping over various mediums including comics, novels, computer games, and more.
Darth Bane: Path of Destruction scores 7 out of 10, as it is a brilliant look into an era we have yet to encounter, but still has a few flaws.
So that’s one book down, 26 to go. We’ve got 7 more weeks of this, and I hope you’ll stick with me through it all, all the way through to Star Wars: Clone Wars. I’m hoping to get some interviews with the authors, and I’d love to hear from you the reader as well, so make sure to leave comments, or contact me via my own blog at JoshSHill.com/Joshtastic/. And you can check out the Amazon List (which I’ll keep updating as we go along) here.