April 2, 2016

Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn

“Honor is for the living. Dead is dead.” - Drew Karpyshyn, Path of Destruction
On the run from vengeful Republic forces, Dessel, a cortosis miner, vanishes into the ranks of the Sith army and ships out to join the bloody war against the Republic and its Jedi champions. There, Dessel’s brutality, cunning, and exceptional command of the Force swiftly win him renown as a warrior. But in the eyes of his watchful masters, a far greater destiny awaits him. 
As an acolyte in the Sith academy, studying the secrets and skills of the dark side, Dessel embraces his new identity: Bane. But the true test is yet to come. In order to gain acceptance into the Brotherhood of Darkness, he must defy the most sacred traditions and reject all he has been taught. It is a trial by fire in which he must surrender fully to the dark side–and forge from the ashes a new era of absolute power.

Path of Destruction  is the first book in the Darth Bane Trilogy. I am reviewing the Kindle format of the novel which was 338 pages in length. It was originally published on September 26th, 2006 by Del Rey books. The novel is apart of the Star Wars Expanded Universe which has now been converted into the Star Wars 'Legends' non-canonized Star Wars materials. The tale is told in limited 3rd person POV between a limited number of characters.

The novel takes place between four planets in the Star Wars galaxy: Apatros, Korriban, Lehon, and Ruusan. The varying settings are contrasted between the rough mines of Apatros, the harsh valley of the Dark Lords and the Sith academy on Korriban, an ancient force-sensitive temple on Lehon, and the war torn battlefields of Ruusan. Though the author chooses to lean heavily on Star Wars fans to already have some understanding of the planet environments, there was still enough time and attention given to the world building so that someone unfamiliar with the Star Wars universe would be able to smoothly understand the changing settings without it detracting from the story.

Many characters are introduced and there are some varying POV characters throughout the tale, but the story revolves around the character Des/Bane. As Des transforms into Bane, there are many characters that are introduced that become influential to Bane's learning and personal feelings about the Sith and the Dark Side. The support characters each had their uses to the main character and story and each was fleshed out well that successfully had me invested in the outcomes of their respective relationships with Bane. 

The story is ultimately Bane's transformation from innocence to a fierce user of the Dark Side of the Force. As Des he recognized he had an ability to do things others could not, things that were not natural. As he is forced to flee from the republic, Des eventually is made aware that he is special. Not long after this, he is taught to embrace the Dark Side. But as a Sith, he is not content. The Brotherhood of Darkness makes all Sith Equal with one another against the Republic. Bane recognizes that the Sith did not always operate this way and tradition should matter more. Before long he decides to take matters into his own hands and the fate of the galaxy will be at stake.

I felt the author had full command of the story. There was a clear direction throughout the novel with very little divergence or unnecessary pit stops. As a long time Star Wars fan, I felt the author respected the source material well but did not let it limit him from creating an amazing cast of characters with a well drawn out plot. Being put in the passenger seat of the inter-workings of the Sith was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The novel succeeded in drawing me in quickly and failed to bore me. If you're a Star Wars fan, or would just simply like to read a good book with a morally non-traditional character, this is definitely a solid read for you. 

About the Author: Drew Karpyshyn is a Canadian author and game designer. After working at a credit union for some time, he eventually became a game developer. He joined BioWare towards the end of the Baldur's Gate series, and wrote the tie-in novel for Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. He stayed with BioWare, where he worked on Neverwinter Nights, and became the Senior Writer on the critically acclaimed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
This Star Wars connection gave him the opportunity to write Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, his first hardcover. Karpyshyn still works for BioWare where he is the lead writer for the Mass Effect series.

Author's Website: Drew Karpyshyn's Website
Buy the Book: Path of Destruction on Amazon

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