Here’s the non-Clone Wars spoiler re “The Wrath Of Darth Maul.”
Right off the top, if you don’t want to know how Maul survives to appear in Clone Wars, DON’T read this book until those episodes end. It’s all at the very beginning and at the very end of the story. My reaction to reading all of it was along the lines of, “They’re going to have to sell sand in the desert to get folks to buy this improbable story,” but we’ll see.
What a year it’s been for Darth Maul. He’s been partying down like it’s 1999 all over again, with his mug plastered on Star Wars goodies, TPM back in theaters, and his triumphant return to the GFFA on Clone Wars this spring. There’s a new short story about him in the re-issued TPM novelization and there’s this book aimed at pre-teens. Windham has written similar books about other characters like Luke, Obi-Wan, and Vader/Anakin. (Please tell me why they never write about female characters?)
Most of the book looks back at Darth Maul’s life, combining elements introduced recently with Jude Watson’s Darth Maul book from 2000. In a way, it’s a companion to “Darth Plagueis,” filling in details on what exactly Sidious was doing with Maul, what was Maul told, and whether he was a Sith. As with Watson’s earlier book, one can’t help but feel a little sorry for young Maulsy. The kid was abused physically and psychologically from the get-go. He was like a pit bull mistreated and beaten as he was trained at the same time to be a killer.
But just when you think you’re going soft on the fellow, there’s a breaking point in the book where there’s no turning back. When Maul reaches 7 or 8 years old, he is taken from his hideaway on Mustafar and brought to a military academy to hone his skills. There he befriends—sort of—a female cadet. After several years, Maul has an encounter with Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters. They attempt to bring him “home.” Sidious figures out that a Mandalorian instructor at the academy snitched and to ensure nobody else ever discovers Maul’s true identity (and thereby protecting Sidious as well), Sidious orders Maul to kill everyone at the school. It’s very similar to what happens to Anakin in ROTS, only Maul shows zero remorse even when he is faced with killing his friends.
The last part of the book is basically “TPM According To Darth Maul,” and it throws in a long side adventure with him battling some pirates. It seems kind of pointless until the incident causes an injury that explains why Maul couldn’t defeat Qui-Gon the first time.
“The Wrath of Darth Maul” is quite violent and very entertaining to read. If you enjoyed “Darth Plagueis,” you’ll enjoy reading this too even though it’s not quite as epic in scale.