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Revenge of the Sith: Star Wars, Episode III    by Matthew Woodring Stover order for
Revenge of the Sith
by Matthew Woodring Stover
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

George Lucas's film, Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, will be in theaters May 19th, 2005. Prior to that date, readers have the privilege of reading Matthew Stover's adaptation of the film in his book by the same name. Stover's masterful writing, character development, and scene descriptions, smoothly pave the way for the bridge linking Episode III to the first in the original trilogy, The New Hope (Episode IV). The author lends insight into the expected and unexpected, with suspense, and both joyous and sad emotions. He writes, 'This story happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It is already over. Nothing can be done to change it ... This is the twilight of the Jedi. The end starts now.'

The book is divided into three parts - 'Victory', 'Seduction', and 'Apocalypse'. Stover shows us the Jedi Knights' camaraderie and efforts to save the Republic, as well as Chancellor Palpatine's increasing control of the Senate, and his enticement of Anakin Skywalker, with words such as 'rage is your weapon'. The author describes characters as they are at that moment in the saga, beginning with 'This is Obi-Wan Kenobi: A phenomenal pilot who doesn't like to fly. A devastating warrior who'd rather not fight. A negotiator without peer ... He is the ultimate Jedi. And he is proud to be Anakin Skywalker's best friend.' And 'This is Anakin Skywalker: The most powerful Jedi of his generation ... An unbeatable pilot. An unstoppable warrior.'

Anakin and Padme expect the birth of a child, and he has dreamed of her death in childbirth. He will go to any lengths to prevent that dream from becoming a reality. He goes through introspection - who he is, what he wants, and what he is to become. The Jedi Council resists giving the Master title to Skywalker, because of lingering doubts, one of many sore spots for Anakin. A quagmire develops as suspicions and tensions rise, with suspicion of a conspiracy against the Jedi Knights. Palpatine assigns Anakin a position on the Jedi Council requesting he report their activities. In turn, the Council asks 'the chosen one' to report Palpatine's activities to them.

Skywalker consistently walks the fine line between what a Jedi should be and the 'dark side'. Here's a significant philosophical exchange between Palpatine and Anakin. 'The Jedi use their power for good,' Anakin said. Palpatine replies, 'Good is a point of view, Anakin. And the Jedi concept of good is not the only valid one ... a Jedi gains power through understanding, and a Sith gains understanding through power. They embrace the whole spectrum of experience, from the heights of transcendent joy to the depths of hatred and despair ... that is why the Sith are more powerful: they are not afraid to feel.'

Matthew Stover blends dialog and action as expertly as a maestro conducts a symphony, with many vividly descriptive duels (which I look forward to in the film). This linking Star Wars episode completes the picture of how events and characters, which preceded the original trilogy, came to be, encompassing the brotherhood of Kenobi and Skywalker, the emergence of the Empire, and the demise of the Jedi.

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