It was with some trepidation that I started this latest Star Wars novel, Maul: Lockdown. Kindly provided via NetGalley, it had several warning signs. First, it’s about a prequel trilogy character, one that barely qualified AS a character. Maul was red and black, and had a saber-staff. He got killed by Obi-Wan, which has to be kind of embarrassing, honestly. This had “retroactive badass” written all over it. That’s my term for a character that’s a throwaway or unimportant who later (in subsequent movies or ‘Expanded Universe’ stuff) gets turned into the most awesomest guy EVAR. Boba Fett is your poster child. The second knock against the book is the author, Joe Schreiber – his catalog is mostly supernatural horror, of the Eli Roth variety. The third knock was the completely unoriginal ‘prison/gladiator fighting ring’ plot.
There are some positives here though. The story does move at a solid clip, and the fights are the well-described brutality one might imagine of a prison fighting ring. Maul is sent to the prison to find an arms dealer who has been hiding there for years, and has a secondary mission of acquiring a weapon that Palpatine will use for his own nefarious purposes. The ending feels very abrupt, with things that seemed important earlier sort of glossed over. I kept trying to page past the end for more but there was none.
Maul: Lockdown wasn’t terrible by Star Wars EU novel standards, and if you are more of a horror fan it may be worth your time. For everyone else, it’s probably a pass. Here’s the link to check it out.