Despite ending prematurely in order to make way for Rebels, Clone Wars was a series with a vast amount of potential and great ideas. With many plot threads, scripts and ideas left floating about, it was only natural that someone would adapt them into a full novel. In the case of Dark Disciple, this was to help finish off the story arcs surrounding conflicted Jedi Quinlan Vos and the now renegade Asajj Ventress. Their task? Hunt down and assassinate Count Dooku, ending his threat once and for all.
The story is simple, focusing upon two popular background characters and follows an interesting arc which is perfect for both Vos and Ventress. With both having switched sides and barely escaped brushes with the Dark Side, they are the best assassins to bring down Dooku and understand the threat he poses. Both have seen him fighting first-hand and the novel always utilizes their growing distrust and tension as a great source of meaningful conflict. Atop of this, having gone undercover, their questions of what it truly means to be a Jedi work surprisingly well, although sadly nothing we've seen before. This is the problem here, the book might be competently written when it comes to the fight scenes, but fans of Star Wars are extremely familiar with this song and dance. We've seen Vos doing this before, we've seen Jedi like Jacen Solo tempted by the Dark Side far more meaningfully explored in other stories, so much of Dark Disciple seems like a simple rehashing of over-used tropes.
Even the book itself is more reliant upon favoured characters than building new ones. While the Jedi Council (including an oddly out of character Mace Windu) are understandable, the massive ensemble of notable bounty hunters led by Boba Fett are not so much. These characters are there purely for fan service, and even the major outcome of their big fight scene is barely covered. This in of itself might have been fine, but even the story's very structure is flawed, matching the television series too closely. There is little environmental description of many environments, or atmospheric detail of any kind, and the overall pacing is oddly stretched out meaning the story often makes you want to start skipping pages. Combined with a few too many unexplained switches in allegiances, and the book gradually devolves into an exercise in frustration.
Dark Disciple is unremarkable and, while it has a few good ideas, the execution is lackluster. If this is the standard to which the new and improved Disney driven setting plans to stick to then we were better off with the Expanded Universe.
STAR WARS: DARK DISCIPLE / AUTHOR: CHRISTIE GOLDEN / PUBLISHER: ARROW/ RELEASE DATE: MARCH 31ST