Adam Christopher’s Shadow of the Sith, the latest canon novel in the Star Wars universe, sets out in uncharted territory with new stories that help develop familiar characters. More importantly, Shadow of the Sith sets out to fill in some gaps created by the sequel trilogy.

When Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker released, it created some division amongst fans. Regardless of your stance on the film, Episode IX left fans with a lot of unanswered questions. The reality is that there was just too much ground to cover in The Rise of Skywalker, and the film moved at such a pace that it created more questions than it answered. Questions about what happened to Rey’s parents, as well as how exactly did Lando Calrissean and Luke Skywalker work together hunting Sith artifacts are explored in Shadow of the Sith.

Ultimately, Adam Christopher weaves an impactful tale of characters dealing with fear, loss, and the pursuit of what eludes them in their lives.

Plot and Heroes

Shadow of the Sith features Master Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissean approximately 17 years after the Battle of Endor and 13 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is a time of peace and transition, which makes this period almost more interesting to explore. When there is no clear enemy to fight and the lines between good and evil become more blurred, the motivations that each character has are even more impactful.

Luke Skywalker is at the peak of his Jedi power in Shadow of the Sith. Gone is the impulsive farm boy from Episode IV. Even the conflicted Skywalker, who flirted with the Dark Side in Return of the Jedi, is gone. Replacing them is a poised, powerful Jedi who is defined by thoughtfulness and kindness as he builds his Jedi Academy.

Haunted by dark visions in the force, Luke is counseled by Lor San Tekka and embarks on a journey to discover the meaning behind these visions. While investigating a dig site, Luke experiences a powerful force vision, followed by a reunion with an old friend, who he learns is engaged in a related adventure.

Almost two decades on from leading the Rebel assault on the second Death Star at the Battle of Endor, Lando Calrissean is a changed man. Sure, the appearances of flair and extravagance are still there. But the loss of his daughter years before has left Lando scarred and broken. When he sees a young family trying to protect their daughter, Lando recognizes an opportunity to get a lead on the location of his own, as well as address some of his own pain by helping another family.

The catalyst for the story in Shadow of the Sith is Dathan and Mirimar, young parents on the run in a desperate attempt to protect their six year-old daughter. A daughter who agents of darkness are pursuing to deliver to Exegol. To her grandfather. That girl is known only as Rey.

The Villains and Other Characters

Luke’s dark visions warn of a new threat rising on a faraway planet.

That threat, if you have seen The Rise of Skywalker, is the fleet of the Final Order and the Sith threat on Exegol led by a clone of Sheev Palpatine.

However, Luke is not the only character seeking to unearth the secrets of Exegol. The baddies in Shadow of the Sith offer a lot of depth, will appeal to hardcore fans, and set up further stories during this period.

Fans of The Clone Wars and the Darth Vader comic series will recognize Ochi of Bestoon, who we last saw killing Rey’s parents in The Rise of Skywalker. Ochi is an assassin who is pursuing the secrets of the Sith to bring him happiness and fulfillment in life. The Sith Eternal promise him the path to Exegol if he delivers Rey to them.

If you read the Aftermath trilogy by Charles Wendig, you will be somewhat familiar with Kiza. In the Aftermath trilogy, Kiza is a member of the Acolytes of the Beyond. While they are not force sensitive, the Acolytes worship the Sith and the teachings of the Dark Side. She has the Mask of Panshard, which is a Sith relic containing the essence of Viceroy Exim Panshard. Over the course of the novel, Kiza is overwhelmed more and more by the Sith power pulling them to Exegol and Palpatine.

What Works Well In Shadow of the Sith

I’m a sucker for when a small piece of a Star Wars film of Disney Plus show is taken and expanded on greatly in the novels. That is exactly what Adam Christopher has done with Shadow of the Sith.

Here, we learn more about Sith Wayfinder. We learn how Ochi of Bestoon came into possession of the dagger that helped point the way in The Rise of Skywalker. We learn a lot more about Kiza’s past and see what exposure to Sith artifacts has done to her.

Lando’s journey in Shadow of the Sith is fascinating. We find him as somewhat of a broken man, still reeling from the loss of his daughter years earlier. Through his search for both Rey’s family and his own daughter, we are witness to Lando’s search for internal peace. His pain and loss help him find clarity and direction in life. By the end of the novel, we leave Lando in a much more similar place to where we find him in The Rise of Skywalker.

It has been portrayed in other Star Wars novels but seeing Luke Skywalker at the height of his Jedi Master era is always a welcome plot point. Not only does the reader get to see some of the early days of his Jedi Academy, but we see the seeds being planted that would contribute to Luke’s abandonment of the Jedi Order later in life.

One scene in the first half of the book is particularly great. I’m also a sucker for great character development and powerful moments that good development makes possible. The scene where Anakin communicates with Luke while protecting him in one of Luke’s dark visions is fantastic.

What Doesn’t Work In Shadow of the Sith

Shadow of the Sith is weakest when it becomes a chase story, hopping from planet to planet. While the strength of the book is character development and Sith lore, the weakness comes when it becomes a fast-paced justification for Star Wars: Episode IX.

Much of Shadow of the Sith is spent ultimately explaining why things existed as they did in Episode IX. Why was Ochi of Bestoon on Pasaana? Why was his ship, the Bestoon Legacy, left there? Why was Lando still on Pasaana when Episode IX began? What happened to Rey’s parents and why was she left on Jakku?

All of these questions are given an answer in Shadow of the Sith.

In a way, that is a good and satisfying thing. On the other hand, it further exposes the weakness of Episode IX that so many things needed to be explained in a novel after the fact. I feel like much of this would have worked much better as a prologue novel released before The Rise of Skywalker hit theaters in 2019.

Final Thoughts

It’s not a perfect story, but Adam Christopher weaves a fun, meaningful tale in a time that hasn’t been explored too much in Star Wars. For fans looking for more explanation from Episode IX, Shadow of the Sith will fill in a lot of gaps for you. If this is the beginning of a series or trilogy, I think there will be a lot more to explore here, and Christopher does an excellent job at character development. Let’s hope he’s given the chance to continue the adventures of Luke and Lando with more stories.

THE GOOD
Great character development
You really want to cheer for Rey’s parents
The Sith lore is wonderful
THE BAD
Too much of an explanation for Episode IX’s flawn
7.5
Good

Review Summary

Shadow of the Sith is a fun, fast-paced story that finds Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissean hunting down Sith relics and a dark secret.

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