April 6, 2016

Rule of Two by Drew Karpyshyn

“There must only be two, No more and no less.” ― Drew KarpyshynRule of Two

Blurb: In the New York Times bestseller Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, Drew Karpyshyn painted a gripping portrait of a young man’s journey from innocence to evil. That man was Darth Bane, a twisted genius whose iron will, fierce ambition, and strength in the dark side of the Force made him a natural leader among the Sith–until his radical embrace of an all-but-forgotten wisdom drove him to destroy his own order . . . and create it anew from the ashes. As the last surviving Sith, Darth Bane promulgated a harsh new directive: the Rule of Two.

Two there should be; no more, no less.
One to embody the power, the other to crave it.
Now Darth Bane is ready to put his policy into action, and he thinks he has found the key element that will make his triumph complete: a student to train in the ways of the dark side. Though she is young, Zannah possesses an instinctive link to the dark side that rivals his own. With his guidance, she will become essential in his quest to destroy the Jedi and dominate the galaxy.
But there is one who is determined to stop Darth Bane: Johun Othone, Padawan to Jedi Master Lord Hoth, who died at Bane’s hands in the last great Sith War. Though the rest of the Jedi scoff at him, Joshua’s belief that there are surviving Sith on the loose is unshakeable.
As Johun continues his dogged pursuit of the man who killed his master, Zannah, faced unexpectedly with a figure from her past, begins to question her embrace of the dark side. And Darth Bane is led by Force-induced visions to a moon where he will acquire astonishing new knowledge and power–power that will alter him in ways he could never have imagined. . . .

Format: Rule of Two is the second book in the Darth Bane trilogy. I am reviewing the Audio format of the book as narrated by Jonathan Davis. The audio book is 10 hours and 12 minutes in length. The novel was originally publish by Del Rey books in December of 2007.The tale is told in limited 3rd person POV between four main characters, the main characters being Darth Bane and Darth Zannah.

Setting: The store picks up on the world of Ruusan in the aftermath of the thought bomb. There are quite a few more worlds in this one than were in the first novel in the series. I was surprised at the diversity in the locations of the story but each setting played its role in the cunning and maneuverings of the two Sith lords. The setting of Ruusan is of particular importance in the second novel as the people of the republic are still dealing with the aftermath of what happened on and to that world. 

Characters: The story largely revolves around Bane and Zannah. Their seperate POVs are complimented by Johun (an apprentice of General Hoth's), and also Zannah's cousin whom was maimed and left for dead at the end of the last novel. Several other familiar characters are introduced on the light side from the last novel, various Jedi as well as chancellor Tarsus Valorum. The use of the two supporting characters POVs was at first unknown to me and I thought was just providing some background Republic information. I soon discovered the author had much more in store for their use and I was pleasantly surprised by how these characters were fleshed out and what became of their story arcs.

Plot: Darth Bane believes that he and his apprentice Zannah must bide their time. Patience will pay off when they can strike from a position of strength. In the meantime, Bane tasks his apprentice with causing just enough distractions with separatist groups to keep the Republic occupied without actually being enough of a threat that Bane and Zannah's own rule would be in danger when they take power. The novel focuses around these ideas and also the need for the two to keep their existence secret. Biding time for when they are ready, they keep everything they due in complete secrecy as Bane establishes a network of spies and diplomats that will securely give him eyes and ears throughout the galaxy. Meanwhile, Bane trains Zannah, and with a time jump of 10 years we see Zannah go from a young girl to a beautiful and very dangerous woman. But Zannah is still an inferior to Bane. But with his teachings she believes she will one day be able to take the mantle from him and become the dark Master of the Sith. But it is difficult even for the two dark lords to keep their existence a secret forever...

My Thoughts: The sequel to Path of Destruction did everything I'd hoped the sequel would and much more. It is difficult for a story to be based on political meanderings and deception without the reader feeling bored. I maintained interest throughout the story, partly because the writing was so strong and also because the little mysteries that were created the story. Often in Drew Karpyshyn's writing of this tale, he uses good writing devices to create multiple unpredictable situations that resulted in my inability to stop listening to the novel until I absolutely had to (i.e. work). I'm invested in Bane and Zannah and their attempt to ascend to rulers of the galaxy. I find this interesting for me because even though I read a lot of Grimdark fantasy, it is still strange to root for characters that are so evil in their nature and ideology. Even as a Star Wars fan, rooting on the death of Jedi is not an easy thing for me in this particular fandom. Drew's ability to have me so invested in these characters is a testament to his storytelling ability and I am so very eager to see what's in store for me at the conclusion of the series. 

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 Website: Drew Karpyshyn's Website
Buy the Book: Rule of Two on Amazon

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