The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.
The events of this book occur one year before The Phantom Menace.
I will admit as excited as I was to read this book, because Darth Maul is a character that I loved in The Phantom Menace and was sad that he got such little screen time, I was also very worried about this book. While I haven’t read many of the books that happen before the original Star Wars trilogy, the few that I have I did not enjoy. So obviously I was worried that this book would also fall into the didn’t like it category. However when I started the book it became clear that I had nothing to worry about, as right from page one I was almost completely absorbed into the story.
One thing I really liked about this book was seeing more background on Darth Maul. His character was definitely flawed and it was appealing to see that he wasn’t perfect. He showed weakness at times, seemed to be almost reliant on knowing what his master wanted even though he had limited communication with him and made a number of mistakes during his time at Cog Hive Seven, a prison. While he wasn’t perfect he did grow along the way as well, and no he wasn’t perfect even at the end of the book, but it was clear he had learned a great deal from his time and became stronger both mentally and physically.
Among all of the other characters in this book there was a great mix of personalities and species. True to Star Wars the variety of species ranged from humans, to Twi’leks, and even included Wampa’s and other dangerous creatures. Slipher, the IBC agent, was a pretty interesting character to watch over the course of the book. At first he was subtle in who he was and what his true purpose on Cog Hive Seven was, but as things progressed he began to show his true purpose and also true identity. Senator Damask had a relatively small role in this book however that didn’t mean that his involvement was small, in fact it was quite large and important to what was happening within the prison. It was fun to see how he would say that he and Palpatine’s goal’s were the same yet it was obvious that they were anything but.
The illusive character of Iram Radique, was interesting, as there is much talk of him and what he does but no one has ever seen him. It certainly left me guessing at who he was among all the many prisoners and workers found within the prison. And of course we can’t forget one of the most unique characters in the book, and that is the prison Cog Hive Seven itself. Not only is it a one of a kind prison but it’s ability to shift and change it’s configuration, not just to facilitate the inmate fighting schedule, but also for the benefit of the owners when they need an escape route, played a key role in a lot of what happens within it’s ever changing walls.
Over all I would say this was very good for a pre-new-trilogy book. In fact I would go as far as to say this is probably my favorite book that I have read which occurs before the original trilogy. This book will definitely appeal to those fans of Star Wars and also to those who enjoy the science fiction genre.