Maul: Lockdown was one of the last books released in the Legends canon, released only months before the Legends announcement was made. As such, it flew under my radar, between school and the announcement, and I had only heard of it recently as I was going through the Adventures. Is it worth tracking down? Your mileage may vary.
Here’s where interconnectivity, without a guiding Story Group, unfortunately starts to fall apart a bit. The whole premise of this novel is Darth Maul’s infiltration of a gang to obtain a nuclear weapon from them. Darth Sidious hopes to use this weapon on Darth Plagueis in a final effort to kill him without needing to fight him. Readers of Darth Plagueis may be familiar with this plot: we saw it as the attack on Hego Damask on Sojourn. This would be cool, except Cloak of Deception climaxes in the Eriadu Trade Summit, which happens at the same time as the attack on Sojourn. Maul: Lockdown says that the Eriadu Trade Summit has already happened, even though the attack on Sojourn is a future event. What are you going to do?
This novel sits at an interesting place. It combines a heist-premise with a prison break with…well, honestly, a lot of gore. I was actually uncomfortable with the level of violence in this book. I can’t just say this because I am squeamish: I’m comfortable with Game of Thrones violence, but this felt like a lot. Blood and gore were exquisitely detailed, and non-lightsaber weapons and even body parts are roped into the circle of violence in the novel. Sure, the franchise is built on the concept of war, but this book felt like it relished in its high level of violence.
The novel not only takes violence too far, but it blows up a small detail about Maul into his entire identity. No matter how much we like the silent but deadly Maul in Episode I, there was a lot more to him that we saw in The Clone Wars. This novel reduces him to merely a killing machine
, in effect. There is a mystery: who is Iram Radique? But Maul is not much of an active investigator, except torturing people to gain information. Don’t go into this thinking Sherlock Holmes, go into it thinking more…well, I’m not sure what would be a better comparison. But there are no trails of clues, merely trails of bodies. I was disappointed to see Maul reduced down so much where we had seen much more of him from TCW.
The setting, Cog Hive Seven, is interesting enough. It is a floating prison in space, able to change shape if need be. The whole structure can shift and grow, or retract, based on the number of prisoners. The facilitator of the facility, Sadiki Blirr, hosts gladiator matches and allows gambling based on the outcome. This runs afoul of Nemoidian and Hutt alike, brokering a mistrust between her and Jabba the Hutt. Cog Hive Seven is a hub for both Iram Radique’s henchmen and those of Komari Vosa, known as the Bando Gora. These three gangs don’t come into quite as interesting a conflict as I would have liked, but the revolving prison adds a new dimension to a simple gang war.
The plot is divided into three major portions: the gladiator combat, finding Radique, and escaping Cog Hive Seven and avoiding the Syrox. The gladiator combat is where the violence is glorified the most. Hybrid creatures, humanoids with outrageously violent and harsh weapons, and other beasts are pitted together randomly by the prison guards. This is sport for those watching, but of interest to people in the fights as they can let out some steam. Really, they have no choice: a bomb implanted in each prisoner’s heart would force them to fight or explode. These portions made me extremely uncomfortable, and I was ready to move on as fast as possible.
The second act of the plot follows the growing tension between Blirr and Jabba the Hutt, and Maul’s ever increasing search for Radique. Jabba is interested in Radique’s weapons as well, hoping to sell his weapons for more profit. Jabba sends hired henchmen into the prison, hoping to find him before the Bando Gora does. When Blirr finds out about the plot, she has all of Jabba’s henchmen murdered by some of the more fierce fighters in Cog Hive Seven. Again, the ending of this scene also made me incredibly uncomfortable, and I was ready to move on as fast as possible. At this point, Maul finds Radique and acquires the weapon. Radique promises that if Maul helps him escape, he will deactivate the bomb in his chest.
As Jabba strikes back at Blirr, we move into the third portion of the book. Cog Hive Seven’s self-destruct sequence is activated, pushing everybody into conflict with everybody else. Blirr is killed by syrox, a beast who lives within the prison who feeds on the consciousness of dead prisoners. As Maul tries to escape with Radique’s nuclear device, Radique turns on him. He will no longer deactivate the bomb. Unfortunately, this whole point becomes moot as the leader of the Bando Gora, Komari Vosa, appears to challenge Maul and acquire the weapon.
Komari Vosa’s appearance may have been a delight to fans of the comic. Wookeepedia tells me that she was a Jedi involved in a war with the True Mandalorians who turned to the Dark Side. Dooku eventually killed her after she lost a battle with Jango Fett, which then helped Dooku decide on Fett as the template of the Grand Army. Phew. As someone completely ignorant of that story, I can’t say I was too excited by her appearance. As it stands, her appearance seems out of place. She and Maul come to no resolution, only coming together to fight the Syrox before going their separate ways. Thankfully, this fight was far less violent.
Unfortunately, Maul: Lockdown was the first major roadblock on the Legendary Adventures. It has years of Legends continuity behind it, but still stumbles out of the gate on a simple timing error. On its own, you may never know the difference and the book could be judged on its own merits! But it’s a weird continuity error which made me even more uncomfortable with a book I wasn’t a fan of anyway.
The Old Republic Era: Dawn of the Jedi: Into The Void | Lost Tribe of the Sith | The Old Republic: Revan | The Old Republic: Deceived | Red Harvest | The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance | The Old Republic: Annihilation | Knight Errant | Darth Bane: Path of Destruction | Darth Bane: Rule of Two | Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil
The New Jedi Order Era: Scourge
Canon Novel Reviews:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars Young Reader Reviews:
Adventures in Wild Space: The Escape (Prelude)
So You Want to be a Jedi?
Beware the Power of the Dark Side!
Poe Dameron: Flight Log
Princess Leia: Royal Rebel (Backstories)
Darth Vader: Sith Lord (Backstories)
The Force Awakens: Finn’s Story
Forces of Destiny:
Daring Adventures (vol 1) | Tales of Hope and Courage
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Reviews:
“A Hero Discovered” 1×01 | “The Mines of Gabralla” 1×02 | “Zander’s Joyride” 1×03 | “The Lost Treasure of Cloud City” 1×04 | “Peril on Kashyyyk” 1×05 | “Crossing Paths” 1×06