A novel by R.A. Salvatore
(2002, Del Rey)
Book 2 of the Star Wars Prequels
22 years before Star Wars: A New Hope
An investigation into an attempted murder leads to love for one Jedi,
and the discovery of clone and droid armies.
Read January 26th to 31st,
2014 in hardcover, for the 2nd time
The novelization of this movie makes the
movie much better. Attack of the Clones is my least favorite of the Star
Wars movies, but this book is better than all the novelizations except
for the brilliant Revenge of the Sith. It takes a mediocre love story
and fills it in, so that it defines the book, even becoming the most
believable part of the story! Every part of the movie that required
emotional attachment is made a hundred times better here. It's only
unfortunate that the author could not continue this through the
climactic battle, and especially the final scene, in which he simply
describes events from a narrator's point of view. Those could have used
more introspection, as well.
spoiler review is actually below, in more detail than I could possibly
give these days. I had forgotten how good this novel really was, how it
built on everything from the movie, improving every single aspect of it.
The author kept in much of Anakin's whininess, and some of the awkward
dialog, but that was easily passed over as he dove right back into the
My comparison below with
Menace isn't quite fair, either, as that author did expand several
scenes, and gave a limited amount of introspection. Unfortunately in
that book, much of it was from Anakin's point of view, which I thought
I can also finally answer some of the questions
I asked in the review below. Palpatine is a risk taker. He proved that
ultimately in Revenge of the Sith as he bet his life that Anakin would
save him from Mace Windu. He undoubtedly would have had various paths
for the clones to be discovered. The Separatists were defeated on
Geonosis, but the clones would have to keep fighting the longer war
against the droid armies. I guess one of the advantages of seducing a
fallen Jedi is that he comes already trained. The young readers' book
of the Jedi shows that Dooku had dabbled with the Dark Side even before
he was a Padawan, and always had a lot of pride. It also showed that he
and Qui-Gon never had a real relationship, and if we accept that
continuity, then there is no way Qui-Gon would join with Dooku.
Regarding Senate politics, I still can't figure out how the Senate could
so easily transfer power to create an army to the Supreme Chancellor,
yet not agree to create that army by themselves in the first place.
Finally, it's unfortunate that we don't get to know more about Qui-Gon's
transition to the spirit world even in Revenge of the Sith. But at least
we get a hint that Yoda was able to speak to Obi-Wan's former master.
I liked just about everything about this novelization. It expanded
on everything that needed expanding, at least until the end. The only
inconsistency I saw in the novel was the fact that Taun We had seen
Jango after his return from Coruscant before Obi-Wan arrived. Why then
did she ask how his trip had gone when she introduced the Jedi to him? In the
movie it is clearly implied that he arrived back from the assassination
attempt only shortly before. But that is a minor point in an otherwise
very well-written book. Besides, the father-son scenes were well worth
I only wish the author had continued to
expand on the inner emotions during the Battle of Geonosis, and
especially the aftermath. The fight scenes were shortened to good
effect, and the lightsaber fights were expertly described. But when
Obi-Wan, Mace and Yoda meet to discuss the Clone Wars and Darth Sidious,
and especially the secret wedding between Anakin and Padme, we really
needed a lot more introspection. Instead, it was a word-for-word
translation from the screen to the page. We didn't even get a
character's points of view, as it is all told from a narrator's voice.
Still, though unfortunate, the ending doesn't completely define
the book. It is the development of the love story that I noticed most.
And to be able to make this story come alive for me is a great thing.
Read June 24th to 30th, 2002
Very interesting, it moves with much better pacing than the movie, and
offers intriguing insights.
My first comparison with this book is the novelization of
Episode I: The Phantom Menace. That book was
simply a translation of events onto the page. There was no internal
contemplation, no thinking about events. I would have certainly loved to have
gotten into Qui-Gon's head as he is talking about the Living Force, or his
thoughts with regard to Shmi or Anakin. Unfortunately, that book now seems as
hollow at the events-focused Approaching Storm.
In this novelization, there are so many extras, it's amazing. It takes
the middle section of the movie, which was rather slow, and revitalizes it. Most
importantly, it makes the love story between Anakin and Padmé more realistic,
more gradual. We see most of it through Padmé's eyes, and we can see her
breaking down, giving in. It is true character development, as opposed to the
brief glimpses that we see in the movie.
What also helps tremendously are the scenes that are in the book, but which
never made it into the movie. Perhaps they will appear on the DVD. The book
actually starts a month before the movie does. Obi-Wan and Anakin are traveling
to Ansion -where Anakin has bad dreams about his mother, which were never
mentioned in The Approaching Storm. Was it
possible that Anakin was thinking of his mother and not Padmé during his
troubled interludes in that book? It felt more to me like he was thinking about
Padmé, but it's possible I was mistaken.
More importantly, though, Padmé is on Naboo, acting as a senator. She interacts
with her sister and her niece and nephew, which hints at her solitude, the
conflict between her career and her desire for a family, for unconditional love.
This adds immensely to the weight upon her, getting the stage set for Anakin's
reappearance into her life, which has been personally unfulfilled, opening the
door a crack for the passion that Anakin has for her to break through.
But it also makes it seem like Padmé is latching onto the first person who
declares his love for her. Seeing as this is a typical idea in movies, where
this happens all the time, it's not so bad as it might seem. But she hadn't
thought of Anakin for years, which makes their relationship seem more like a
rebound on her part -not from another lover, but from loneliness. Stepping into
that crack in her defenses, Anakin's obsession overwhelms her, so that he
doesn't give her the opportunity to think it through, and she must give in. But
who knows: at "her age", Anakin might be the only suitor who would come calling.
I don't think so, but then, I am obsessed with her too! But Padmé seems to think
so, and that's what is important.
Padmé's family also helps make the situation more realistic. I wonder whose last
name is Amidala? I was certain that Padmé's real last name was Naberrie, and
that Amidala was just her political name. I wonder, because it is never
explained. Her father's last name, I am certain, is Naberrie.
But I just loved their dinner conversation, and after-dinner conversation. Her
parents and sister want her to retire. Their concern is so real, so touching.
They also want her to fall in love, so desperately that they, too, are willing
to settle for the first person she brings home. They don't understand the life
of duty above love. They think, like all parents, that she should settle down
and have a family. And they can see Anakin's love for her shining through -as
well as her attraction to him, even if it isn't love yet. That gives more weight
to Padmé's statement later on that they "would be living a lie -one we couldn't
keep secret anyway". Their love is so obvious, to everybody, that there is no
way they could keep it secret.
The other extended scenes were even better. Once again, we start a month before
the movie does, this time on Tatooine, in the Lars homestead. The first chapter
was brilliantly wonderful! I love Owen and Beru. They are perfect, and fit
perfectly in with the roles they will take in A New Hope.
Every scene they appeared in, except for the awkward "small-talk" between Beru
and Padmé near the end of their stay, were stolen by those two. I especially
loved the sarcastic barbs traded between Beru and her future father-in-law. That
hit home. The food-fight was wonderful. I can see Beru being such a fun-loving
person, with an attitude and a wit to match that of Cleigg Lars. Everything
about them felt like a real family.
Of course, we get Shmi's viewpoint about her extended family, how she loves them
all, how Beru will fit into the family perfectly whenever she and Owen get
married. We see how she put coverings on C-3PO, and how she always talked about
Anakin and hoped to see him again, wondering where he was, how he was succeeding
at being a Jedi Knight. It was very touching. After she is captured by the
Tusken Raiders, we actually get to see the chase by the moisture farmers, and
the way Cleigg loses his leg, and only four people return. Very powerful stuff,
written extremely well by this talented writer.
The rest of the story follows the movie very well, words describing events, and
adding thoughts to them, making them come alive. The chase at the beginning went
on for a little too long -something that happens in the movie, as well. But the
climactic battle, both in the arena and afterwards, between the clone troopers
and the droid armies, and then between the Jedi and Count Dooku, were really
exciting. I especially liked the description of Dooku's fighting style, and the
explanation that it was very different, in an ancient style long ago abandoned
by most Jedi -and that's why he had the upper hand. And then there was the
description of Yoda's fighting.- how he barely even seemed to touch the ground,
or even the Count's lightsaber. He truly is a Jedi Master. And I think he wanted
to keep Dooku alive, which is why he failed in capturing his former apprentice.
I feel the same way about the rest of the book as I did about the movie. Some
things were good, others left me unimpressed -but that's more a problem with the
story than with this book. After all, the story wasn't conceived by the author.
But it looks like the author tried to tidy it up a bit. And the things that he
has the characters think, and the things that he says from a narrative point of
view, really made me think about the way things in the Prequel era are
progressing. And so I have a few questions...
1. How much does Palpatine know?!? Did he know that Jango Fett would use a
Kaminoan poison dart to kill Zam Wesell? That is the only reason Obi-Wan found
out about the Clone army. I imagine that the original plan was for the
separatists to attack with their droid army, and then somehow, for the clone
army to be discovered -but how would that have happened? I wonder about what his
backup plan was. The same thing happened in The
Phantom Menace. Things didn't go as planned, but the end result was pretty
much the same. Here, the clones have taken the war to the separatists. But I
can't figure out what the Clone War is that Yoda talks about. Will the clone
army continue to attack, even worlds that are not threatening to separate? Or
will they even attack worlds that have already separated -will they force these
planets back into the Republic? I want to know more... Hopefully Episode III
will answer some of this.
2. If Tyranus hired Jango Fett to create a clone army in place of Sifo-Dyas ten
years ago, was he an apprentice to Sidious right after Maul died? How quickly
did he get turned to the Dark Side of the Force? I guess we will find out in
Episode III, once again, since it should happen to Anakin then. I thought it
took a long time to nurture Maul; how long had
Palpatine been courting Dooku? But I also wonder if Dooku is planning to betray
his master. Giving the name of Sidious as a Dark Lord of the Sith, and telling
Obi-Wan that he is in charge of the Senate, seems like it might be a betrayal.
Given that Vader was, according to the expanded universe, always plotting
against his master, I suppose it should not be a big surprise if this is so.
3. If the Senate could easily vote "special powers" to Palpatine, why could they
not use the same efficiency to vote for the creation of a Republic Army? And I
don't understand what Bail Organa was saying when he mentioned that Amidala
could be the only one to start this vote. Was he not in opposition to the army?
Would he then not be reversing his decision as well?
4. I find it very interesting that Yoda and the Jedi do not know about the
spirit staying in the realm of the living after death. If Qui-Gon is the first
to do so, Yoda and Obi-Wan, as well as Anakin Skywalker, must have studied this
possibility later on. I really hope we get some information on this in Episode
But the most interesting parts of the book are the parts that are not in the
movie. They gave more insight, and made the movie make a little more sense. We
hear about the twenty people who have left the Jedi Order -perhaps this is only
in recent times, for it sounds like a very few for an organization thousands of
years old. Obi-Wan gets a scary vision of Anakin and Dooku superimposed. His
thoughts made the scene with the Jedi children more clear, when we learn of his
presumption, and the presumption that adults and Masters can make: it doesn't
occur to him or Yoda that the archive records could be altered -only to the
younglings. And I thought Padmé's barb to Dooku after he offers her release on
certain conditions was very well placed. He claims it is democracy, but she
knows that it is really what the Empire will become: survival of the fittest,
with blackmail and bribery all the way to the top. There were also some neat
scenes that expanded the father-son relationship between Boba and Jango Fett,
which I enjoyed immensely.
So I really enjoyed this book, and it is worth reading, just for the expanded
roles that everybody has. It offered many more insights than the movie, because
we could get inside the characters' heads. And that seems to be more important
in this movie than in any of the others, especially concerning the love story,
which was otherwise underdeveloped.
A graphic novel by Henry Gilroy,
Jan Duursema, Ray Kryssing, and Drew Struzan (2002, Dark Horse Comics)
Read on January 25th, 2003
Quite impressive, I must admit.
Although the colors were not as vibrant as they could have been, the art
had so much detail, and the story seemed even tighter than the movie.
The advantage to a graphic novel is also
its disadvantage. Graphic adaptations cannot be too wordy, nor can they
convey everything that a movie or book can. The authors have to be very
sparing in what they include. For this adaptation, it is a great
advantage, as the movie was not as tightly scripted as it should have
been. Much of the dialog differs from the movie, even slightly, and in
almost every case, it ends up being better than the script. The
best dialog from the movie, like the meeting with Watto, is left
The graphic novel also shortens many of
the long overdrawn sequences from the movie, making them more palatable.
Fast panels show us the speeder chase through Coruscant, and later, the
ground battle on Geonosis is much reduced, improving the flow of the
The battles, however, cannot convey the
sheer spectacle on the drawn page, at least not in this case. It's been
a couple of years, but I remember vividly the spectacular battles drawn
in the X-Wing comics, especially
Mandatory Retirement, as well as
Crimson Empire. Those details are not replicated here.
Although the lightsaber fights fare better, they can't do justice to
what the movie provides, which makes this a good compliment to the film.
Having just re-read
The Phantom Menace
graphic novel, I noticed some similarities of style, and while they
improved on the flow from that book, many of the things that I fault
there appear in this book as well. Apparently the writers didn't have
the dislike I do of the numerous narrative boxes, telling us what is
going on, while we can see that for ourselves. Still, there seemed
to be fewer of those, as the action didn't move from place to place as
often as in that book. One improvement in this book is giving Obi-Wan
some thoughts when he is hanging from the droid over Coruscant.
Unfortunately, that is the only scene where we get to delve into the
characters' heads. Otherwise, it's completely vocalized.
One set of narrative boxes that I did
like was the apparent defeat of Dooku at the hands of Yoda. Those boxes
could have been his thoughts as he realizes that he has to get away
instead of fighting a losing battle, and is presented more clearly than
in either the movie or in the novelization.
The artistry gives us nice details in
most every scene. Impressive full page spreads of Padmé and Anakin
kissing on Naboo, and the first time we see the clone troopers, deserve
the space devoted to them. Shmi's death looks a lot better than it did
in the movie, though Padmé's recovery after her fall on Geonosis was
missing, and needed
to be shown. I liked the inclusion of the "deleted scenes",
especially the trial on Geonosis and Padmé's reappearance at the Senate
at the beginning. (She also seems to show a lot more cleavage in this
book than in the movie -I'm sure she can use her sexiness to great
advantage in her profession...)
In all, much more structured than
Episode I, and though not a perfect graphic novel story, it was a very