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The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks
Published by Del Ray Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks is the novel of Episode One of the Star Wars saga. Sadly, it suffers from many of the same problems as Dune: House Atreides. Part of it may simply be that the long years of anticipation, combined with all the hype and excitement, simply built expectations to such a shrill height that it became impossible to fulfil them.
All the same, there are still some serious internal problems in the story which cannot simply be overlooked. There are several places where the writers are obviously making a conscious effort to explain certain things from the original trilogy, and it shows.
The storyline seems rather diffuse, with Anikin's story and Queen Amidala's competing for our attention instead of being integrated. In several places it looks like George Lucas decided to simply rehash the most dramatic elements of the earlier movies, in hopes that what worked then will work again. (In particular, the final battle with Darth Maul reads like a rather bad combination of Obi-Wan's fight with Vader in A New Hope and Luke's fight with Vader in The Empire Strikes Back).
Overall, I find it a disappointment. I'd suggest going back and watching the original trilogy again, or re-reading the novelizations of those movies.
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This review posted January 1, 2000
Updated March 23, 2001
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