In a continuation of my non-spoilers review of Dark Disciple I will now go into all my thoughts and feelings about the novel. You have been warned; spoilers and quotes below.
Oh yes, by the way, all these page numbers I am referencing correspond to the nook’s ebook edition.
Right away we know the mission to assassinate Count Dooku will fail. It is also known, if you’re a huge fan and know all the little details, that Vos doesn’t leave the Order for Ventress. Obi-Wan mentions Vos in RotS, “Saleucami has fallen, and Master Vos has moved his troops to Boz Pity.”
So, the story isn’t about will Vos succeed, and will Vos and Ventress end up together. It’s about how does it fail. I’ll get to that later and how I think it should have ended.
This Vos is very different from Republic comics character. I had forgotten many details but I knew he was much darker and I did not remember him being witty. I want to reread the comic books but in the meantime I did glimpsed at Wookieepedia to jog my memory. I had forgotten a lot, like the backstory that Vos was not raised at the Temple and that his great-aunt had killed his parents and was manipulating him. His path to the dark side in the comics and in Dark Disciple have some similarities but many differences.
My, my how the Jedi have fallen. Talk about moral decay. First the Jedi Council plan an assassination attempt, and to do so decide to secretly manipulate Ventress by playing on her hatred for Dooku. Then when it goes to hell they want to execute the Jedi they sent to do it. Ventress said it best to Vos, (page 105) “But it’s a big step from Jedi to assassin…Your Council doesn’t fully appreciate what it will take to accomplish this goal.”. I’m also glad she got to tell off the Jedi Council, (page 204) “I will remind you all that it was you who assigned him this mission. It was you who led him to me. Everyone in this room knew who and what I was from the beginning, Windu. Don’t fool yourself-the blame isn’t mine alone to bear.”
Mace Windu is the worst Jedi on the Council. He is a Dark Jedi. Assassinating Dooku was his idea (page 18), and executing Vos was his idea (page 252). I am surprised Windu didn’t nominate himself for the mission! If only he, if they all knew that above Dooku stood Palpatine pulling the strings they would have known their efforts were for nothing.
Obi-Wan is Windu’s polar opposite. He was against the assissination from the beginning, and defends that position throughout story, (page 141) “I still believe that sending a Jedi to assassinate a man is wrong. And I fear that I will likely lose not only a fellow Jedi Master, but someone I consider a friend, and we will have nothing to show for such a loss.”
Though he was contradicting himself when he suggested, (page 252) “Perhaps if Vos sees the count again, and has the chance to assassinate him, he’ll be able to resist the dark side. He could redeem himself – come back from it.” How is committing an very un-Jedi like act, assassinating someone, supposed to redeem a man who has fallen to the Dark Side?
Obi-Wan is guilty of suggesting Vos for the mission, but at least he owned up to it. [page 302) “We lost our way. We lost it when we decided to use assassination, a practice so clearly of the dark side, for our own ends, well intentioned thought they might have been…
I submit to you that Vos’s fall was of our making. And Asajj Ventress’s death is on all our hands.”
Of course we know the Order is still doomed. Once you go down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.
I really liked Obi-Wan in this novel. He’s not without fault, but he is the least corrupt Jedi on the Council. When Windu orders him and Anakin to execute anyone who gets in their way (page 283) Obi-Wan feels strongly against doing so (page 288) “This is wrong… Which part? Killing all three of them, even Ventress who tried to help? Executing Vos without a trail? Sending Vos to assassinate Dooku?
Obi-Wan may not fully trust Ventress and warns Vos of her character, but he does constantly defended Ventress to the Council.
(Page 172) “Former Sith,” Kenobi corrected, marveling not for the first time that he was now in the curious position of defending Ventress’s honor.
(Page 206) “Ventress came here in good faith and of her own free will to offer what help she could. I have given her my word that she would come to no harm within the Temple walls, and I will keep that promise.”,
(Page 228) Anakin believes Ventress is lying to them about Vos going dark. Kenobi “prefers to give her the benefit of the doubt” and believes her “emotions colored her perception.”
The Kenobi-Ventress flirtatious banter has always been a favortie aspect of mine. I especially loved when Obi-Wan advised Vos to banter, or flirt, with her as part of their power play. Then after all that on page 203 Obi-Wan beats around the bush when he asks Ventress if her relationship with Vos was professional or more. Maybe I am wrong, but I read that as jealousy.
While I have on occasion shipped Kenobi and Ventress I have become a shipper of Ventress and Vos in this The Clone Warsuniverse.
Yes, I ship some dark and twisted couples. Most of the time I know they are doomed from the start.
At least I know it and I wouldn’t sugar coat Vos and Ventress. He deceived her with his identity and his mission (though she was smart enough to catch on), and he went all Sith eyes and tried to kill her when he found out she lied to him about his Master’s murder.
It’s twisted, but still, I really enjoyed the gradual development from a professional partnership to lovers. It was my favorite part of the book.
Who else would have loved to see the scene about the “nod and wink” on TV? 😉
This paragraph is very poetic, “The outfit was elegant and subtle, and the woman in it was vibrant and strong. The overall effect made Vos like a falcon poised in that exquisite instant between free fall and flight, and for a moment he couldn’t breath.” (Page 145)
Was this scene on page 129 intended for TV? “Ventress didn’t trust herself to speak. She showed him instead, pulling him toward her and kissing him passionately. Vos responded at once, returning the kiss with a fierceness that heightened her desire.”
I just wanted Quinlan and Asajj to forget Dooku and just live a life of adventure together as bounty hunters. Of course, I knew that wouldn’t happen. Still, at a certain point the story dragged out. I could have done without Vos being Dooku’s secret apprentice and returning to the Order as a double agent to sabotage their missions. The parts that took place on Christophsis were especially tiresome.
Here is my take on how it should have ended:
After Kenobi, Skywalker and Ventress rescue Vos from being in-prisoned on Dooku’s ship the lovers part ways. Vos admits he did fall to the dark side, but redeems himself and wants to atone. That reasoning he gave Ventress (pages 214 and 239) was actually the truth. So he goes back to the Jedi to heal and find the light again.
Ventress accepts this. First of all because she loves him. Second, she knew it wouldn’t last forever (pages 71 and 240) and the Jedi were willing to take him back if he atoned (page 207). Third, she was willing to sacrifice him. She felt that if Vos was truly lost to the Dark Side she would have to kill him, because that is what her Vos would have wanted; (page 210 “Ventress recalled the difficulty with which Vos had finally reconciled himself to killing a simple, nonsentient creature. That man would be horrified to be used by Dooku to kill thousands of innocent beings.”
She knew that she pushed him to the Dark Side and he was not ready to walk that line (one that she mastered) between light and dark, where he could use the Dark Side but not let it consume him.
So they part ways, returning to their previous lives while healing from the pain.
Then in the epilogue Vos survives Order 66, he’s reunited with Ventress and they go off into the Unknown Regions together. Sort of similar to her fate in the Republic comics.
That would make more sense to me. The turn that Ventress took did not. I am not referring to her redemption. I was happy she was willing to walk away from it all and not give into her hate and desire for revenge (page 258 and 296). The character development there was well done. I am referring to her behavior as a lovesick, jilted woman who drowned her sorrows with alcohol. That was so very out of character.
Even as a woman in love she would not become so careless that she would blindly follow Vos and Dooku to Christophsis without answers. What happened to “Asajj Ventress is highly intelligent and doesn’t suffer fools gladly.” (- Obi-Wan, page 35)? Or “There was a handsome idiot who told me once that for a team to work, there has to be trust.” (- Ventress, page 262)?
Although that was my biggest disappointment, I still loved the story. Everything else about the novel was worth the 4.5 out of 5 rating I gave it.
There are some great moments. I’ll end on a high note with some of my favorites:
The nod and wink or the full on gambit, pages 69-70, followed by Ventress telling Vos, “Your virtue is safe with me. Your discomfort is rather charming, actually, but I’m sure you’ll get over it.”
When Vos and Ventress celebrated their missions with some alcohol and they shared some soulfull moments. Page 74, “What’s worse…to have unhappy stories, or to have no story at all?”
“Anakin, of course, didn’t trust Ventress as far as he could Force-throw her.” (Page 207)
“Ventress felt a brief flash of amusement as she realized that for the first time, she was actually rooting for Skywalker.” (Page 212)
“Ventress, by all that is good in this galaxy, can we please settle this later?” -Obi-Wan, page 216.
Even though this part of the story was unnecessary, I would have loved to see this Obi-Wan and Anakin brotherly-banter on the show (for different storylines).
Page 243 when Anakin is pretending not to hear Obi-Wan over the com and does not stay the course with his fancy maneuvers. “The Force, Kenobi mused, had to be protecting him. Otherwise, Anakin’s impulsiveness would have gotten him killed a thousand times over.”
Pages 264-265, Anakin and Ob-Wan commandeered a Separatist shuttle and Anakin reprogrammed two battle droids that he could operate remotely to help them get around Dooku’s ship. They would walk ahead of him and Obi-Wan in the halls to be their eyes and ears.
The whole scene is amusing but this exchange had me laughing so hard and, gosh, I miss this show.
“And clearly, you just plan on waltzing in.” – Obi-Wan
“Roger, roger.” -Anakin talking in his headset so it sounds like the droid.
I’ll stop there. I think I wrote enough to start some discussions. If you are a fan of The Clone Wars and have read the book, let’s discuss!