Star Wars: Darth Maul - Shadow Hunter by Michael Reaves
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I listened to/read the audiobook version of this novel which is abridged.
This was the first book about Maul real-world chronology, but the second one about him in-Universe chronology. Both of them suffer for the same problem, Darth Maul is awesome, but is not shown to be amazing here.
Yes, movie spoiler if you haven't watched Episode I, Maul does get his ass handed to him [really separated from him] at the end of the first movie. And yes, in this book he is still learning and is not quite as fully skilled yet. However, the gap between this book and the movie is minimal and so there isn't really that much learning that he did here that would help him improve. Unlike the prior book, Maul is weak here not because of restrictions, but because the story focuses on Maul and a Jedi. Inevitably this leads the book to steer you to root for the Jedi and the information broker, Lorn Pavan and his droid. (view spoiler)[And although both die in the end it is not really because Maul defeated them, she sacrifices herself to save others and he ends up getting tricked into giving up the information to Senator Palpatine [whom we know is Maul's master Darth Sidious] before being killed in his hospital bed by Maul. This leaves the droid unaware of his master's whereabouts and he shows up again in several more of Michael Reaves's books, which seems out of place. Also, as long as I'm spoiling things, a complaint about carbon freezing [which is used in this novel]- it is not a common way of storing living people, that's why it was risky to trap Luke in such a way and was first tested on Han in the movies. And yet, carbon freezing has become a mainstay of Star Wars books and graphic novels, there was even a carbon freezing guns in video games. Universes should be expansive and although authors have to maintain the delicate balance of anchoring a story to the known with showing new [unknown] material, while at the same time not contradicting other established facts reusing something like carbonite on people so often just cheapens it and the suspense of Han being frozen. (hide spoiler)]. The story does not go the way you would expect it to and so that it surprising, but overall the book was fairly disappointing.
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