Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, by Matthew Stover.
I AM NOT S**TTING YOU AT ALL.
Remember when I said I'd do it? That I'd read it and see if the essential story could work as a story and if it was just the execution of the movie that was s**t? Remember?
Holy cripes. I was breathless through it.
This is one of those moments where I'm so caught up and twitchy about the goodness of something that I'm helpless to make anyone understand; I can't find the words that'll make you all drop everything and go running off to give this a shot, and that kills me, that I can't. Oh.
I shall try.
The style...it's exactly the sort of thing I like to read and it's the sort of thing I try to emulate when I write. Calling it a novelization is impossible, ridiculous. Stover uses a narrative voice that works like a storyteller come to tell you a ballad of legends and heroes; he uses the trick of slipping into present tense at pivotal moments, to tell you who these characters are at this moment and what they are and why they'll fall or why they'll win. It WORKS. He took scenes that were drivel on-screen and saves them by either fleshing them out or altering them or telling them from an alternate POV or even, in a case or two, slipping by their badness altogether. He makes you ache for the partnership that is/was Anakin and Obi-Wan. (Oh, I'm still on the verge of tears over it, I am.) He lets you understand what the hell Count Dooku was up to at last. General Grievous is no longer stoopid. Palpatine concealing his plans from all the Jedi becomes plausible.
Stover dares to include lines that poke fun at and at the same time make you nod somberly at elements where Lucas's story faltered: Order Sixty-Six is the climax of the Clone Wars...It's not a thrilling climax; it's not the culmination of an epic struggle. Just the opposite, in fact. The Clone Wars were never an epic struggle. They were never intended to be. Yes, that's in there. This is clearly someone who loves Star Wars and wanted to pay tribute to what RotS could have been, and tell it in a form that would do it honor at last.
It reads like fanfiction.
I was wide-eyed, I was holding my breath, I was unable to put it down.
He took Anakin's conversion to the dark side and it was as if he said, "Okay, even I'm not sure I can sell everyone on the moment of his complete conversion--" and he used that, he showed us--in a way that a skilled writer can do in text but might not be able to accomplish in another medium--how even Anakin could not believe it was happening to himself. Stover did that deftly, brilliantly, in order to help the reader past it, even if he could not rewrite that weakness entirely. This is an author who can make you punch the air with your fist just reading the phrase Obi-Wan said mildly. Who did not let the phrase "Evil is everywhere" get anywhere NEAR his book. Who took this yawner of an exchange from the film:
GENERAL GRIEVOUS: You fool. I have been trained in your Jedi arts by Count Dooku himself. Attack, Kenobi.
OBI-WAN: You forget I trained the Jedi that defeated Count Dooku!
and instead turned it into:
"Come on, then, Kenobi! Come for me!" he said. "I have been trained in your Jedi arts by Lord Tyranus himself!"
"Do you mean Count Dooku? What a curious coincidence," Obi-Wan said with a deceptively pleasant smile. "I trained the man who killed him."
Who titled one of the chapters Chiaroscuro. Who saved Padme from being a mere womb on legs, who made Threepio seem effing witty. How the f**k did he do that??
Jesus. I have just become a freaking Star Wars fangirl all over again.