Is your child a Star Wars fan who’s curious about the ways of the dark side of the Force? Are you frustrated by the existence of last year’s reference book Star Wars: The Secrets of the Jedi and do you find yourself wishing for a companion volume to provide the opposite perspective to your youngling? Well look no further than Star Wars: The Secrets of the Sith, which came out in October from Lucasfilm Publishing and Insight Edition’s “Insight Kids” imprint.
Written once again by author Marc Sumerak (Star Wars: Droidography), Secrets of the Sith is told from the perspective of Darth Sidious, AKA Sheev Palpatine, the dark-side being who orchestrated the events seen across all nine films of the Skywalker Saga.
The book is presented as Palpatine’s ultimate manifesto, written with (perhaps foolhardy) boastful confidence before his final confrontation with his granddaughter Rey on Exegol in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Intended as an overview to Sith beliefs and practices, Sidious provides an introduction to the dark side– not to mention its opposition in the Jedi Order– before detailing the circumstances behind his rise to power during the Clone Wars and apparent downfall at the hands of his apprentice Darth Vader and Vader’s son Luke Skywalker. He then walks readers through specific powers that the Sith possess, followed by his plans for the future in the form of Rey and her Dyad Force-bond with Kylo Ren. We get further clarification of Snoke’s role in Palpatine’s plans, a history of the Skywalker clan, and a deep dive into Sith tenets like the “Rule of Two.”
Kids will learn about lightsaber design from the viewpoint of the dark side and how kyber crystals are “bled” to turn them from their more pure Jedi colors to Sith red. We also get a breakdown of the various acolytes, apprentices, inquisitors and masters who have served the Forces of Evil. And a good deal of real estate is spent setting up the climactic throne-room battle in The Rise of Skywalker, though anyone familiar with the films will already know how that ends. Every few pages or so there’s a pop-up illustration– or insert of an in-universe document– depicting a particular event or artifact (like a Sith wayfinder, for example), and artist Sergio Gómez Silván (J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World: A Pop-Up Gallery of Curiosities) does a beautiful job of rendering all of the concepts throughout the book, frequently providing perfect likenesses of the characters and locations we’ve seen in the long list of Star Wars movies and television series.
As the ostensible “writer” of this oversized hardcover volume, Palpatine’s conclusion is that the Sith will ultimately rise again. And as longtime Star Wars fans, we know the Jedi will always show up to defeat them in the end. But for young ones who may still be getting into the franchise, Star Wars: The Secrets of the Sith is a great way to have them better understand where those who follow the dark side are coming from, what their goals are, and what precisely they might be capable of… although we wouldn’t necessarily want them going down that path themselves.
Star Wars: The Secrets of the Sith is available now wherever books are sold.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.