To begin, it’s best to put this novel in context. This novel was written from eight unproduced The Clone Wars scripts that would have take place over the course of Seasons 6 and 7. It follows the journey of Quinlan Vos, an energetic and whimsical Jedi Master often tasked with going undercover in the seediest parts of the galaxy, assigned with a dark task by the Jedi Council: the assassination of Count Dooku. At the suggestion of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Quinlan Vos seeks out Asajj Ventress in an attempt to ally with and learn from her experience as the Sith Lord’s spurned assassin and apprentice.
The novel centers around Vos and Ventress’ relationship as they attempt to hunt down Dooku. Golden does an admirable job with both characters, showing Vos’ charming and whimsical personality darken as he follows Ventress’ instruction in the Dark Side of the Force while Ventress herself is deftly written as sarcastic, damaged, and conflicted about her true self and her feelings for Vos. Vos, in particular, ebbs closer to his darker appearances in the now-Legends Republic comics, although this novel goes out of its way to overwrite all of those comics narratively. The interactions between Vos and Ventress are both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and the portrayal of their relationship alone is worth the price of admission.
Furthermore, the novel explores the dark path the Jedi Council begins to tread closer Revenge of the Sith as both assassination and execution are discussed as real options. Dark Disciple does a fantastic job of showcasing the erosion of the Jedi’s idealism as they begin to carry out dark acts in the name of the greater good. The Jedi Council’s debates over these subjects are especially intriguing, featuring Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi on opposite sides of the argument.
Despite these highlights, there was one major problem with the book. Specifically, the novel often felt disjointed and rushed. Day, weeks, and even months often would pass in nothing more than a paragraph, robbing the reader of key developments in the relationships of characters, especially the evolving relationship between Vos and Ventress. This story would have been better served if it had been split in two, one for each four-episode arc. Despite this, the ending is cathartic and bittersweet, leaving almost nothing unresolved.
If you’re a TCW fan, or just a fan of Asajj Ventress, this novel is well worth the read. If you’re a Quinlan Vos fan, you’ll find much more of the dark Vos from the comics than the Vos shown in The Hunt for Ziro in TCW. If you’re not interested in Quinlan Vos, Asajj Ventress, of TCW in general, you can safely skip this novel, although you’d be missing out on one of the better TCW stories if you did.
Book reviewed by Space Dragon contributor Matt Pellegrino