The Waru Express is moving once more! Did you miss my weekly descent into madness? (Editor’s Note: Probably should’ve taken more than a week off but oh well.) I return to my journey through the Star Wars universe with the two books that take place right after the Battle of Endor. The Empire defeated just because the Death Star blew up again and some people tore down some statues? Hardly! (Editor’s Note: I’m amused that this has stayed true in the new canon.)
The Truce at Bakura
It may not make my Top Ten list but I definitely enjoy reading Truce at Bakura every time I pick it up. It’s a fun read that could work quite well as a starting point for a new reader to the Expanded Universe. Even though the Rebels and the Empire have a very tentative truce against a common enemy, it still has a very Star Wars feel to it. It feels like the logical next part of our heroes’ adventures. The more I think about it, the more I like that Kathy Tyers chose to write an immediate sequel but had them facing a different enemy while simultaneously having to keep an eye on the Empire.
I also really enjoy getting to see Leia handle the startling revelations that she and Luke are twins and that she too is the child of Darth Vader. Obviously news of that magnitude isn’t going to be accepted calmly and without question. Can anyone really blame her for having less than warm and fuzzy feelings for the man who tortured her? (Editor’s Note: Bloodline did it better, sorry.) On a similar note, I like that Kathy Tyers also shows us that Luke did have some medical issues from being electrocuted with Force Lighting a lot. Actions and their consequences are the best, folks.
Also, if you don’t love Eppie Belden when you read this book then you’re probably reading this book wrong. There is undoubtedly some trope pertaining to sassy old ladies who put up with nobody’s crap and kick some butt along the way. Whatever that trope is, I adore it and also adore Eppie who really is having none of that rotten Imperial Governor’s $#@!. I also like the character of Gaeriel Captison. In a way, she’s what Leia might have been like if Alderaan had been a more remote planet with leaders who didn’t stand up to the Empire. Gaeriel gets to go through a nice character arc in the books and then she and Luke decide to break each others’ hearts and not try out being together because they have too many responsibilities. It’s kinda sweet in a way. (Editor’s Note: Welcome to our first “Luke Skywalker has a crush for like as many seconds as this book takes!” installment.)
At the end of the day, this is another book that I’d recommend you check out if you skipped it in the past and it’s also one that I recommend if you’re looking to ease your way into the Expanded Universe. (Editor’s Note: Still true.)
Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor
Oh look! A Matthew Stover novel! Spoiler Alert: that basically means I automatically love it. Don’t let the cheesy title fool you: it’s actually a great novel although I will say that I’d love to watch some of these holothrillers that get name dropped.
Part of what makes Stover such is a great writer is that he really gets characters. From the Big Three to the flyboys of Rogue Squadron to everyone else, he writes them all really really really well. Stover writes a really good Leia and a really good Han and pretty darn entertaining Hobbie. My biggest issue is that Tycho flying a B-Wing feels completely wrong to me because he’s definitely a speed jockey and wouldn’t fly something as slow as a B-Wing. However, if that’s my biggest problem with anyone’s characterization? That’s a pretty darn good sign.
It also has a pretty good plot. It’s hardly typical Star Wars especially given the more Shatterpoint-esque villain but it’s a wonderful story nonetheless. And no, before anyone says anything, I don’t mean that previous sentence in a bad way at all. All I mean is that this plotline isn’t something I’d expect to see in a film. I still found to be very engaging and Stover sets a fast enough pace that I never found time to get bored with the story.
Yet again, poor Nick Rostu keeps getting the short end of the stick. Nick, how do you keep getting yourself into these situations? You’re in your 40s or 50s by now. Shouldn’t you have learned better? At least you make it out alive with your girlfriend though. (I’m still waiting for my short story with General Windu and his aide Major Rostu, by the way.) I do think that you need to read Shatterpoint before this book though to fully appreciate a lot of it because of some of Stover’s character choices. That Kar Vastor reveal gets me every time and it wouldn’t have been nearly as good if I hadn’t read Shatterpoint. (Editor’s Note: In case I wasn’t clear enough…READ SHATTERPOINT FIRST!)
Overall, it’s a REALLY good read in typical Stover style but it also won’t make you inclined to rip your heart out from emotions at the end.
And just like that, we’re into the Bantam Era! Much to my relief, I think that I’ll mostly be reading books that I enjoy for the next month or so since the next part of the list is comprised of books that I like. That is good news for me and unfortunately bad news for those of you who come for the snark. Next up are the X-Wing books!
Originally posted to Tosche Station on January 29, 2013.