The Wrath of Darth Maul
Published by Scholastic
Adrick's Rating: 4 out of 4
Forged by rage
Taken as a child and trained in the ways of the Sith, he became the apprentice to the greatest evil the galaxy has ever known…
Honed by the Dark Side
After years of plotting in secrecy, he and his Master will take revenge on the Jedi Order—and the once-mighty Republic will tremble…
The savage story of Darth Maul has been shrouded in mystery—until now.
I absolutely love the series of Star Wars biographies from Ryder Windham. Each one seems better than the last, and the Wrath of Darth Maul is the tightest, most focused, and most revelatory installment so far.
Of course, it helps that unlike Vader or Obi-Wan, Darth Maul appeared in only one film before he died…or appeared to, at least. Thanks to recent revelations from the Clone Wars cartoon, we now know that Maul survived his battle with Obi-Wan. Ryder Windham teases with a few post-duel scenes taken from an upcoming episode of The Clone Wars, but the real focus of Wrath is on Maul’s early years.
We learn that Maul was raised on the fiery world of Mustafar, where he endured torture, neglect, and brutal training at the hands of Darth Sidious. Later Maul is sent to a military academy on Orsis, where he must hide his growing dark side powers from his fellow students. Along the way Maul meets a training droid and a sympathetic student who believe they have befriended him—but can an ascendant Sith Lord really have a friend?
Windham strikes just the right tone in his portrayal of Maul. We are sympathetic to the horrors inflicted on Maul by Sidious, but never doubt that Maul has become a vicious, almost feral creature. It’s easy to feel sorry for Maul, but Windham doesn’t shy away from showing us the darkest parts of Maul’s life. It’s pretty gutsy for a young reader novel, and even darker than Jude Watson’s Darth Maul Journal.
The Journal was once the definitive source for Darth Maul’s early life, but Wrath introduces a lot of new material. I’m not sure exactly how much of this was Windham’s, how much was contributed by Darth Maul short story and Darth Plagueis author James Luceno, and how much was dictated by the writers of The Clone Wars, but it is integrated seamlessly with the Journal material here. Windham even expands upon the Journal, giving us the names of the unidentified planets on which Darth Maul trained.
Wrath’s coverage of The Phantom Menace is well executed as well, with Windham weaving together elements from both the Journal and the film novelization. Right up to the end Darth Maul is a force to be reckoned with…and the book points squarely at his return.
Now, to be honest, I think brining Maul back after his bisection is a little silly. But it’s great to see a novel like Wrath of Darth Maul embracing all aspects of Maul from the stories we know, and those that have yet to be told.
The fan in me really wanted to see more of Maul’s missions from the few stories that have featured the tattooed Sith Lord, but I admire Windham for sticking mostly to Maul’s training and fall. Previous books in this series seemed like they were spread too thin, but Wrath covers just the right amount of material. This book gets pretty intense for a young reader novel, so parents may want to read it first to know what their kid is getting into.
Maul eating a rat raw. Also a snake. And a lizard. Ewwww.