Author: Ryder Windham
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Era: Rise of the Empire
This review contains minor spoilers.
The Wrath of Darth Maul is a somewhat unassuming book that may have slipped under the radar of many fans. It does, however, excellently chronicle the life, death, and even rebirth of one of fandom’s favorite Sith Lords. This Scholastic book is aimed at a younger audience, but Ryder Windham manages to make it enjoyable for fans of all ages, not unlike the well-loved Jedi Apprentice series.
In some ways, this book shares many similarities with the recently-released Darth Plagueis: both fill in the back story of a famous Sith Lord and provide insight into the events of the films. Granted, Darth Maul’s history has already been revealed in the Episode I Journal – Darth Maul and in Darth Plagueis, to some extent, but The Wrath of Darth Maul neatly ties everything together. And when we say everything, we do mean everything. The number one reason for fans to pick up this book is to find out how Darth Maul could have possibly survived his bisection at the end of The Phantom Menace. Thankfully, Windham doesn’t shy away from explaining what happened. Or, at least, part of what happened.
The Wrath of Darth Maul begins in the aftermath of The Phantom Menace before quickly jumping back in time to describe how Maul was found (as seen in The Clone Wars), raised, and trained. The reader will often feel bad for Maul, despite the horrible acts he commits over the course of his life. Some of the more gruesome scenes, however, are glossed over. Windham also does a fantastic job of incorporating events from various EU works into the book, particularly the aforementioned Episode I Journal – Darth Maul and Darth Plagueis.
The book deals with Maul’s relationship with his Master, his loneliness, friendships–and lack thereof, and difficult training. More importantly, it lays the groundwork for the return of Darth Maul in the upcoming Season Four finale of The Clone Wars. Many of the characters introduced in last year’s Nightsisters arc make an appearance, paving the way for Savage Oppress’ search for his brother at the end of this season.
I was actually surprised at how much this book reveals, and it makes me wonder just how much of Darth Maul we will see in The Clone Wars. Does the series pick up where the book leaves off, or have readers already had the season finale spoiled? It will be interesting to see how much the TV show and the book overlap, if at all.
The Wrath of Darth Maul is a very interesting book. Those looking for a long novel may be a bit disappointed, thanks to its short page count and somewhat large font. But the book doesn’t need to be massive. It does a great job of detailing the life of Darth Maul, from when Palpatine first found him to his death and inexplicable rebirth. In the end, answers will be found, but they only open up even more question; questions which I hope The Clone Wars will answer.
Reviewed by William Devereux
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