Star Wars, Episode II - Attack of the Clones by R.A. Salvatore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is hands-down the best novelization of the prequel trilogy. Matthew Woodring Stover did a pretty good job with Episode III and Terry Brooks did the best he could be The Phantom Menace, but R.A. Salvatore really brought this novel to life. He wrote this novel after he wrote Vector Prime and I don't know if he was given the opportunity because of how bad the fan reaction was to the incident (view spoiler)[[spoiler for another book alert] where he was told to kill off Chewbacca in that book (hide spoiler)] or if he was given it for another reason, but either way he pulled it off. Most, if not all, of the deleted scenes from the movie were in the book and they didn't add a lot to the novel, but it didn't detract from it either. It is certainly interesting to see how different authors given scripts by the same man all write uniquely different stories.
However, this does not mean that the story itself is great, just the telling of it. The following is more a critique of George Lucas's script and movie. I've complained in several other reviews of books that come [in-Universe] chronologically before this book, and it will also be a complaint in my upcoming reviews of Clone War era novels- everyone wants to make Anakin evil, or at least to show their own hints of him going to the Dark Side. George Lucas got greedy here too, and wanted to foreshadow it too strongly with (view spoiler)[the death of Anakin's mother being the catalyst for his slaughter of the Tusken Raiders (hide spoiler)]. As the podcast, StoryWonk's Story and Star Wars points out so well, the story of Star Wars is a hero's journey mixed with the dramatic irony of Anakin's downfall. Sure, some foreshadowing might be necessary, but we should not see the hero fail; his flame should not be flickering, but getting too bright. Even so, it happens here and it is a shame, and what adds to that shame is Padmé's acceptance and nonchalance about it. For a better and more thourough review of the shortcomings of the movie, while still respecting it and not discounting it totally, be sure to list to the review by StoryWonk, and their whole series in fact.
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