A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Kathy Tyers pens the first stand alone novel in the Expanded Universe, following on the tail of Timothy Zahn’s trilogy. The events in this story take place right after the events depicted in The Return of the Jedi, Han Solo and Leia Organa know they care for one another, but haven’t quite figured one another out, and Luke Skywalker is recovering from his encounter with the Emperor and Darth Vader.
And speaking of Vader, Leia attempts to come to terms with the revelation about her father.
But all of that has to take a bit of a backseat when a message arrives for the Emperor from the edge of Imperial space. They are under attack by a previously unknown alien species known as the ssi-ruuk, who are intent on conquering human life, and enteching them into battle droids (not those battle droids) and other machinery – their spirit will live in in a trapped kind of hell as the machines run off their energy.
Not a bad idea at all, and for the most part I quite like how Tyers tells her story, it’s just the ssi-ruuk sound a little too much like intelligent, slightly larger than human-sized dinosaurs (with some changes of course). I just had some problems visualising them in my mind’s eye, and making them believable.
With the Emperor and Vader dead, and imperial forces shattered and scattered, Leia and the leadership of the Alliance thinks they have an opportunity to help the planet Bakura, and the Imperial forces there that called for help. And perhaps a truce can be arranged, and perhaps a lasting peace.
The action feels very much like a Star Wars tale, and a lot of the dialogue and characterisation feels right on the mark, and its interesting to find that Luke is feeling a little lonely, and is also wrestling with the fact that he may have to think about becoming a teacher if the Jedi are to rise again.
Barring the appearance of the ssi-ruuk, and maybe that’s just my hangup, this one is a very enjoyable Star Wars story, though it took me a little longer than I wanted it to actually get into the story. But once I was into it, it was very easy to see most of it in the theatre of my mind. It probably helped that I had my Star Wars playlist(oh that John Williams) guiding me through it.
This was Tyer’s first novel set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but she has more tales to share yet, but before then, I begin a new Star Wars trilogy next time as I dig into the first novel of Kevin J. Anderson’s The Jedi Academy Trilogy.
Until then, may the Force be with you…