Audio Novel Review: Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott

Published: April 30th, 2019
Author: Cavan Scott
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Format: Audio Novel (382 minutes)
Cast: Orlagh Cassidy as Asajj Ventress, Euan Morton as Dooku, Pete Bradbury as Gretz, Droom, Jonathan Davis as Qui-Gon Jinn, Neil Hellegers as Ramil, Sean Kenin as Sifo-Dyas, January LaVoy as Jor Aerith, Saskia Maarleveld as Jenza, Carol Monda as Lene Kostana, Robert Petkoff as Ky Narec, Rebecca Soler as Yula Braylon and Marc Thompson as Yoda

The synopsis;

Delve into the history of the sinister Count Dooku in this audio original set in a galaxy far, far away….

Darth Tyranus. Count of Serenno. Leader of the Separatists. A red saber, unsheathed in the dark. But who was he, before he became the right hand of the Sith? As Dooku courts a new apprentice, the hidden truth of the Sith Lord’s past begins to come to light.

Dooku’s life began as one of privilege—born within the stony walls of his family’s estate, orbited by the Funeral Moon where the bones of his ancestors lie interred. But soon his Jedi abilities are recognized and he is taken from his home to be trained in the ways of the Force by the legendary Master Yoda.

As he hones his power, Dooku rises through the ranks, befriending fellow Jedi Sifo-Dyas and taking a padawan of his own, the promising Qui-Gon Jinn—and tries to forget the life that he once led. But he finds himself drawn by a strange fascination with the Jedi Master Lene Kostana, and the mission she undertakes for the Order: finding and studying ancient relics of the Sith, in preparation for the eventual return of the deadliest enemies the Jedi have ever faced.

Caught between the world of the Jedi, the ancient responsibilities of his lost home, and the alluring power of the relics, Dooku struggles to stay in the light—even as the darkness begins to fall.

The review;

It was a little bit of a surprise when Dooku: Jedi Lost was announced, not that Cavan Scott was the author and how soon after its announcement it was to be released. It was the fact that it was going to be an ‘audio novel’ with no physical book release. I am no stranger to audio books, but this is different, and I like it!

Here in the UK, we have a long running radio drama called The Archers. First broadcast in 1951, for nearly 70 years it has been broadcast to entertain the masses and is still going strong. I know at its announcement, Cavan did mention this on stage. A very surreal moment when you hear a radio favourite of your grandparents being used as a reference point for an up and coming Star Wars project. The radio dramatizations of the original trilogy of the 80’s were a way of keeping the stories alive in a format that was quite pioneering, so to have this new release in a similar format is a great move.

Music and sound effects have long been a tool of the producers of audio books, but the addition of a full voice cast makes this something special. The casting of the actors behind the voices is impeccable and gives a realism to the listening experience that makes me smile.

Marc Thompson and January LaVoy are no strangers to Star Wars audio books and their voices are familiar to me. But they are joined by some very talented actors. There are 2 stand out performances for me. Firstly, Orlagh Cassidy portraying Assaj Ventress. This is a character that I really do enjoy, and I would love to see explored more in future literature releases. Secondly, I must mention the work of Jonathan Davis. He sounds so much like Liam Neeson, it’s almost hard to believe it is not him.

While listening to this, I have also been reading Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray. No spoilers, but these 2 stories entwine with each other. Characters, planets and plots collide which is another reason I liked it so much. It also meant I could imagine the voices used in Dooku: Jedi Lost for the characters in the book. I’m a little dubious about the accent used for Rael Aveross but can see the reasoning behind it and makes it an interesting choice.

The plot is very clever and gives so much back to bolster the plot lines of the prequel trilogy. The path of Dooku rejecting the Jedi Order and how close he was to the Dark Side from an early age, but still believing his life was never going in that direction. One thing that is interesting, we know he uses Sifo-Dias as his cover on Kamino, but their relationship was of such a close nature, that indicates to just how far Dooku does fall. We have heard so much about Jedi and their family ties from Yoda, but as Dooku was his Padawan and family was a major part of the reason for him becoming a ‘Lost Jedi’ it made me think about his stance when he was so opposed to Anakin joining the order.

As Star Wars writers go, Cavan Scott’s stock could not be higher currently. After successful runs with the Adventures in Wild Space, Choose Your Destiny, Star Wars Adventures and Tales from Vader’s Castle. These forays have been for a younger audience, but have captivated readers of all ages, me included. There is a level on intricacy in the plot line, which has now brought him to the forefront of a lot of peoples thinking. It is also written with a huge knowledge of the subject matter. I have been lucky enough to interview Cavan and he is a self-confessed lover of Star Wars but has a vested interest in other franchises, including Doctor Who and Warhammer. I think this helps him with his final product and gives him a fresh and possibly different approach to some writers.

I really enjoyed listening to Dooku: Jedi Lost and would recommend it to anyone. It made my morning and evening commutes on public transport to work a joy! Many of you will agree that’s no mean feat to make commuting an enjoyable experience! I am sure I will be listening to this again at some point very soon.

Availability;

Dooku: Jedi Lost is currently only available in Audio Novel format. It can be purchased via Penguin Randon House, Amazon, iTunes and many other online retailers.

You can also hear an excerpt via the embedded link below.

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