EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

Del Rey's novel 'Lords of the Sith' shows the power of the dark side

I recently had a chance to read the newest Star Wars novel, Lords of the Sith, and before I get into the review, I wanted to talk about the Star Wars canon and how this fits into it as a whole. If you know all this, feel free to skip a couple of paragraphs. I don’t mind.

When Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas, one of the big changes that occurred was a redefinition of what does and doesn’t fall within the Star Wars canon. Disney and Lucasfilm created the Lucasfilm Story Group to look at all of the different stories within the Star Wars universe and decide which of them would remain in the “official” canon, and which would be classified as noncanonical. It created quite a stir, I’ll tell you, and fans had some serious adjustments to make.

Additionally, when those changes were made, it created room for new stories, and Lucasfilm has been hard at work creating them. As it currently stands, the official canon is defined as containing the Star Wars films, The Clone Wars animated series, the Star Wars Rebels series, Dey Rey’s (the books’ publisher) novels from A New Dawn forward, the new Marvel Star Wars comics, and new Star Wars Rebels novels from Disney. I may be missing something, so here’s a timeline if you want to take a look. In fact, Lucasfilm recently announced their Journey to The Force Awakens, which will include 20 new books ranging from novels to picture books, all of which will be considered canonical, and fit within the existing structure.

Here’s where Del Rey’s newest novel Lords of the Sith, written by Paul S. Kemp, comes in. Lords of the Sith is the latest in the line of new novels and tells the story of the rebellion on Ryloth both from the Empire’s side (from the perspective of Darth Vader and the Emperor) and from the Rebel side (from the perspective of Cham Syndulla—who appeared in The Clone Wars and is father to Star Wars Rebel‘s Hera (see, told you it ties in!)—and his second-in-command, Isval).

Before beginning the review, there is one other thing to address: When this book was announced and advanced reading copies went out, there was a great deal of talk about how this story was groundbreaking because it featured the first LGBT character in the Star Wars canon. A lot of people were talking about this and, I’ll be honest, I expected it to be a BIG DEAL in the book. However, Moff Mors, the character in question, is a secondary character and her sexuality is mentioned only once, in passing, as she discusses her late wife. So, if you were hoping to read this book because you thought it would center on an LGBT character or deal with big societal issues, you’ll likely find yourself disappointed. Personally, I’m sorry that I went into it that way because it affected how I read it. But, if you know that Mors is just another character and that her sexual identity is just a thing that is (which is still cool, when you consider that at least it’s a first), you’ll be fine.

If you are looking for a book that gives you a great look at the dynamic between Vader and his Master, you’ll definitely enjoy this. Vader and the Emperor spend a great deal of time being badasses, and I came out of this with a much healthier fear of Palpatine than I had going in. There’s also a more in-depth look into the mind of Vader, and at the man behind the Sith Lord, Anakin Skywalker. It’s easy to think of Vader as this BAD GUY who Force chokes people and embodies the pure power of the Dark Side. This novel goes deeper and, given that it takes place after the death of Padme in the films and his loss of Ahsoka Tano in The Clone Wars, it’s fascinating to see what really turned Anakin into Vader. It wasn’t the suit or the injuries that precipitated the suit. It’s the mindset. We haven’t really had a chance to see how Anakin became Vader until now, and it’s fascinating.

However, for me, the real standouts in this story where Cham and Isval. We already know Cham Syndulla was a rebel and freedom fighter from The Clone Wars, but understanding just how much of a strategist and great leader he was really kept me reading. His second-in-command, Isval, was, by far, my favorite character in the story. First of all, she’s a badass, and I always like a good badass lady, but more than that, she’s just as integral to the fight to free Ryloth from the Empire as Cham is and she has her own motivations for what she does.

I’ll admit that some of the fight scenes got a liiittttttle loooong for me. Lots of flipping and slashing and action that felt more suited to a visual medium, but the story elements kept me hooked, and I felt invested in both the story and the characters until the end.

As a fan of Rebels and Hera Syndulla in particular, I loved seeing Cham’s story and realizing that this is the man who raised and trained Hera and likely played a huge role in her becoming such a strong, capable, kickass lady.

I’d definitely recommend the book if you’re a Star Wars fan—it’s a great addition to the bigger story of the Star Wars universe as a whole.

Lords of the Sith will be available on April 28.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like