Book review: ‘Shadow of the Sith’ is a cinematic Star Wars read

If you’ve listened to me chat about Star Wars for more than 30 seconds, then you’ve probably heard me talk about my love for the sequel trilogy. 

I know they were (and still are) somewhat controversial, and not all fans agreed on how they turned out. And you know what? I can respect that. However, I personally adore them and all the new characters they introduced, and I honestly wish Disney/Lucasfilm would give us more content set in this timeline. (Side note: I have not and will not stop shouting about a “Finn as Jedi” Disney+ series until this project is announced. This sort of fan persistence led to the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, so I remain optimistic.)

The weird thing about the Star Wars sequel trilogy is that each film has a unique feel and tone, so there are groups of people who love one of the films but not the other two, like two of the films and hate the other one, or despise (or love) all three. Wherever you land on the sequel trilogy spectrum – and in particular, the final film, The Rise of Skywalker – the new novel Shadow of the Sith is worth your time to read. 

This book is written by Adam Christopher and bridges the gap between the Star Wars original and sequel trilogies, filling in some of that post-Return of the Jedi timeline and also fleshing out some of the mysteries introduced in The Rise of Skywalker, such as how Palpatine returned, what those creepy Sith cultists were doing on Exegol, and what the deal was with Rey’s parents.

If you’re like me and loved The Rise of Skywalker and found it to be a fun, pulp-y space opera action/adventure, you’ll find that same spirit in Shadow of the Sith. However, if some of the plot twists from that film still nag at you, you’ll find some closure here too. 

I actually listened to the story as an audiobook, narrated by William DeMeritt, and I highly recommend it in that format. The Star Wars audiobooks use music and sound effects to enhance the narration, so it almost feels like you’re listening to an audio drama. The story felt very immersive and cinematic, and I could see the characters, locations, and action sequences in my mind as I was listening. 

The story follows a mission involving Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian (a great, under-used pairing, if you ask me; plus, the Star Wars universe always needs more Lando content in general). Lando has been searching for his kidnapped daughter and stumbles across a rumor of a re-emerging Sith threat. He seeks Luke’s help, and their story eventually intertwines with that of Dathan and Miramir, Rey’s parents. 

I know Palpatine’s return was a controversial narrative choice in the sequel trilogy, but I was personally OK with it, since it’s clearly mentioned in the prequel trilogy that Palpatine is interested in using dark side powers to transcend death. The Rise of Skywalker didn’t have time to go in-depth on all of the dark science/cloning/creepy stuff that went into Palpatine’s return, but that is explored more here. You’ll also learn more about the Sith Eternal, the cult that is obsessed with restoring Palpatine to power. 

Also, it was really nice meeting Rey’s parents and getting to know them as fully-developed characters. Fans speculated and argued for years about the identity of Rey’s parents, and not everybody loved the answer we were ultimately given. While having Rey be a “nobody” was my first choice, I’ve warmed up to Rey Palpatine, especially after reading supporting material like this. This novel explains who her parents are and why they seemingly “abandoned” her in Jakku. 

This book was a lot of fun to listen to, and it always makes me happy to have the sequel trilogy era explored in greater detail. I’m curious to see if years down the road, we get a sequel trilogy renaissance much like the prequel trilogy renaissance happening now. As much as I love the original trilogy, Star Wars isn’t just about those three original films. I hope books like Shadow of the Sith will help more people appreciate the sequel era – and yes, get that Finn as a Jedi series on Disney+ FINALLY greenlit. 

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