Quick-take: Simply Awesome.
This is the antihero novel I wanted to read.
Bane grew up in a colony mining minerals. It was unending years of hard labor to feed the republic's insatiable appetite for raw materials to fight the war against the Sith. Bane just wants off the blasted planet. Through a series of events, he does escape... by joining the dark side. He has no love for the dark side. He just knows he hates the republic. However, gradually, he does fully embrace it.
The moral code of the dark side is not particularly moral. Is selfishness, betrayal, and murdering the weak truly ideals worth embracing? I am very impressed by the mental gymnastics the author puts Bane through to justify his actions. Bane is a bad character doing evil things, and the way the book is written it is difficult to not pump your fist in triumph with each terrible conclusion.
The character development is sublime. We follow Bane's progress through each forward step, and each backward step (basically he lost some power by choosing a less-evil path), as he gradually dives deeper in to the dark side and chants the code of the Sith:
Another nice lesson Bane repeats to us: "Those weak enough to beg for mercy don't deserve it." I guess, according to Sith lessons, if you are not an almighty Force god, you deserve death.
I have no idea why anybody would sign up to follow Bane's moral code, but wanton murder and betrayal sure does make for some entertaining reading. This book easily gets the full 5/5 stars, and I have already started on book 2.
Check out another review.