I reviewed the Star Wars: Episode I audiobook (you can check out that review here). I’ve been listening through the Star Wars books on Audible – going through the ones that are part of the canon since Disney acquired Lucasfilm. Attack of the Clones is the second book I finished!
This review won’t have spoilers beyond what’s in the film – there is some talk about what’s going on in characters heads, etc, but any brand new scenes, etc, I won’t spoil.
Attack of the Clones is probably my least favorite Star Wars film. It’s a shame because it has a lot of elements I love – Anakin and Padme’s relationship really starting, a lot of focus on Padme (who is one of my favorite Star Wars characters), a lot of time on Coruscant and Naboo, my two favorite Star Wars planets, Zam Wesell, etc. But as many have previously said, the acting was stilted at several parts, and Anakin and Padme’s relationship was not as fleshed out as I would’ve liked – in terms of, we didn’t get a lot of insight beyond “you’re a Jedi and I’m a Senator” to Padme’s discomfort, her lack of reaction to the Sand People, etc.
The book fleshed so much of that out. SO MUCH! Anakin and Padme’s relationship makes so much more sense. Anakin’s awkwardness is explained so much (beyond the obvious “he grew up in the Jedi temple and isn’t used to flirting with girls probably”). He has visions of marrying Padme, and he knows, knows, that his visions always come true. So imagine talking to the person that you know beyond a doubt you’ll marry, but they haven’t seen you in years. Awkward. It makes his stumbling and such make so much more sense.
Padme, for her part, also gets more of an in depth look at her thoughts and feelings. You get more backstory on her, more of what her job is entailing. Her family and friends keep pushing her to stop burning out and make time for herself, and I think they do a wonderful job of showing that she does desire more of a personal life (love, etc) while still wanting to focus on her career and the Republic which is her main passion. I think the books’ focus on her incredible passion for the Republic is so important, since it’s a huge reason why I’m totally fine with her death in Episode III (which I’ll get into more when I read that book). And you also see how her feelings for Anakin are growing, but her worries of her job needs, putting the people she loves in danger, etc make her more reticent to follow through. Her struggles and thought process are so much more complex than the more simple I’m a Senator/you’re a Jedi line in the film.
Anakin’s dreams and visions are delved into more (and are CREEPY AS HECK), and you can really see the dark side start brewing. There are also more interactions between side characters like Yoda and Mace Windu, and some more depth into other character appearances like Shmi, and another that I shan’t mention for spoiler purposes. You also get even more details into how the Republic is cracking and eroding…and how great Palpatine is with all his attempts to save it! What a friend to the Jedi he is. (Insert my appreciation for what a long game this guy plays.)
We get more insight into Count Dooku as well, Kamino, etc. Basically it’s all the fun and good stuff in AotC, plus some great exposition that smooths our the awkward bits.
Phantom Menace was a good book, but stuck pretty closely to the script. Attack of the Clones fleshes things out way more, and left me wishing that more parts of this book made it into the film, because it explains so many things that led to awkward parts in the film. My only critique is it still doesn’t get into Padme’s thought process with the Tusken Raider. I totally understand that she loves Anakin, that she saw firsthand Shmi’s body and what had been done to it, and let’s be real, humans’ views of Tusken Raiders are probably pretty low; but Anakin’s admission of slaughtering a bunch of women and children and her barely reacting always stood out to me as odd, and it’s not really covered in the novel either. Aside from that though, I truly enjoyed the book, and give it a 9.5/10. If you like Star Wars, I highly recommend this book, and also recommend listening to it on Audible!