Dynasty of Evil  - Drew Karpyshyn “Only the strong survive, because only the strong deserve to”
Ten years have passed since Darth Bane lost his orbalisk armor, and he realized what we all do at one time: that he is growing old and weak. The problem is that Zannah, as his apprentice, hasn't challenged his position as Master, making Bane wonder if she is strong enough for the position. Now, he must find the “Fountain of Youth” so that he can find a new apprentice to train.

I Liked:
Ever since the hardcover came out, I've been chomping at the bit to sink my teeth into this novel. The entire Darth Bane series had been amazing, and I really wanted to know how it all ended (even if I could guess). Would Karpyshyn be able to make this series three for three? In short, the answer is a loud, boisterous “Yes!”
Darth Bane and Darth Zannah are rejoined this time by Serra, the daughter of Caleb the healer. In what proves to be a smart move, Karpyshyn keeps his character list down; our character list is rounded out with Lucia, Serra's bodyguard, Set Harth, a Dark Jedi, and the Huntress, an Iktotchi assassin.
Darth Bane continues to floor me. He is an astoundingly good character, even if he is the “villain”. He is smart, he thinks of the future, and, more importantly, he doesn't kill just because. Any time he does kill, it is meaningful. He even says at one point how it doesn't prove strength by killing everyone in his path. If one is weak, there is no point to “prove” your strength by blasting one to smithereens, even if you are powerful enough to completely destroy your antagonist. I like this pragmatic approach. Very appropriate for the secret order of the Sith.
Darth Zannah also is remarkable. I like how she was planning to get rid of Bane, but first wanted to find an apprentice. Planning and patience are her keys. This next compliment is going to sound very strange coming from me, but Zannah is probably the only female character I've ever found who can use her sexuality as a tool withOUT coming off as too sexualized. One of my biggest complaints is the “sexy villainess”, that girl who would practically jump anything at any time to get what she wants. Zannah isn't that kind of woman. She is patient, cunning, calculating, and doesn't over-rely on her sexuality to compensate for her other skills (never once did I forget she could kill in the blink of an eye). And in my book, that is absolutely awesome.
The new characters are really good as well. I liked how Serra could remember Darth Bane, and I liked seeing her storyline wrapped up. Even though I was pretty sure I knew how her story would end, I was still biting my teeth. Further, I liked how Karpyshyn actually had her get married (and for love!). There is too little of that in Star Wars. Lucia was a clever twist; her being part of the Gloom Walkers, her being under Des/Bane's command was a REALLY interesting obstacle, particularly when you consider how Serra views Bane as an evil man while Lucia is eager to repay him for his heroic actions in the war. Set Harth was well-written as a Dark Jedi. I definitely felt there was a difference between the darkness in him and the darkness in the Sith. Lastly, the Huntress, while having a slightly blasé name, was a good addition. She had an interesting talent and came into the story in a unique way.
The story is, again, brilliant. Zannah isn't challenging Bane, so he has to think of the future—and how to extend his. In many ways, this is the book we've been anticipating from Path of Destruction: who is going to win, Bane or Zannah? Or will both lose and someone new rise in their places? We've got several characters who might take up the mantle—Set, the Huntress, even Serra.
Although a portion of the novel focuses on finding Andeddu's Holocron, the story is more than just a video game “Find X to get Y”. It is about the rise and growth and passing of the torch of the new Order of the Sith; yes, some of that requires hunting for Holocrons, but the Holocron search is, in my opinion, a distant second objective to the story (who will be the master?).
I also know that a lot of the book relies on miscommunication and coincidences. That is true, but I did like how the characters didn't have sudden knowledge of what the others were doing (Zannah thinks that Bane was captured because of the Holocron; Bane thinks Zannah is out to kill him; the Jedi think that they were attacked because of the Sith artifacts). Too many Star Wars novels (even my favorites by Zahn) rely on telepathy of sorts. As for miscommunication, I will say it made sense in all the cases (Bane and Zannah distrust each other, Serra kept her past a secret, etc.).
Lastly, writing style. Karpyshyn's writing is engaging, quick paced, and delightful. There were times I would be reading, glance at the page count and be shocked that forty pages had gone by. He definitely keeps you interested, and there are no “saggy” sections, in which characters sit and talk about nonsense for pages on end. And yet, this isn't mindless action, there are great character moments for all our major characters as well as the differences between Jedi and Sith.

I Didn't Like:
I have exactly two problems with the novel. The first deals with the characters/writing and the second deals with the ending. I will denote the ending problem with big SPOILERS.
It's that characters tend to summarize their life stories at odd places. The most egregious example is when Serra returns to her father's shack and then gives us a summary of the pages we've already read and then basically said: “And the moral of the story is...” This completely slows the pace to a crawl, doesn't add anything the readers, who have already read Serra's journey, already know, and feels completely out of place in such a dark novel (“Beware the Dark Side...now let's watch the Sith fight to be Master”).
My final complaint is the ending. While I like the duel, the outcome is most decidedly unclear and leaves up much for interpretation. I would prefer a little more closure...

The way the novel is written, it appears that Bane might have overtaken Zannah's mind. However, reading Karpyshyn's website, he intended Bane to have been defeated, but a part of him remained. This was not, as I said above, very clear in the novel. When Zannah's hand twitches, we could easily assume that Bane won and lied when Cognus/Huntress asked if she was Bane.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
I can't recall anything. If there was anything, it was likely Star Wars swears.
Zannah often uses her sexuality to flirt information from people.
Kinda heavy. A character dies early on (within the first three or four chapters), and the body count rises as it continues. One of the more gruesome scenes involves Bane escaping prison and killing multiple guards with his bare hands.

The Darth Bane trilogy has been a breath of fresh air in the somewhat stagnant Star Wars universe. By this time, you really know the characters, and you greatly anticipate the “passing of the torch”. Even the ambiguous ending can't mar the great journey that Karpyshyn has taken us on. In short, if you liked the previous two, you will definitely like this one.