The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader

March 10, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

vaderThe Rise and Fall of Darth Vader by Ryder Windham


Ryder Windham has written a series of novels showing the entire arcs of certain characters in the Star Wars universe. This is the third of those I’ve read, and so far, they all take material from other sources and put them all together in one seamless examination of the character. The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader is probably the most extensive of those, since Vader is the only character to feature in all six of the movies.

The problem is that the book is mostly just a summary of those six movies, though Windham also supplies some interstitial details from other books. I haven’t read any of the Expanded Universe books surrounding the original trilogy era, but it was obvious when Windham was summarizing events from those books. He also fills in gaps that the prequel trilogies created, allowing us to see Vader ponder over Luke’s surname and what it means to him, recognize C-3PO in The Empire Strikes Back, and even remember Boba Fett from Geonosis. He also finally convinces me that Vader did have good in him like Luke said in Return of the Jedi. It was always a sticking point with me that the narrative of the movies didn’t show us any of that good, but, since the book is told from Vader’s perspective, Windham does a good job of filling in those blanks.

It’s also interesting to see how this book butts up against the new canon, since Windham reveals more about how the plans for the Death Star were stolen. Needless to say, the events as he describes them don’t match those of Rogue One. I know that story, as well as the others he mentions in this book, will be covered in later novels, but it was still intriguing to see the differences.

On the surface, these books don’t seem necessary for those who are following the EU, but since Windham examines events from the earlier movies in context with the events from the later ones, it does supply more explanation than is given just in the movies. For adult readers, though, I still think these books are best for readers who, like me, want to know as much as they can about the EU. Otherwise, they’re just repeats of stories you already know.


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