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Bane of Kings reviews Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, written by Matthew Stover, a Star Wars novel.
“A kick-ass action novel that’s almost as good as the films themselves.” ~The Founding Fields
If you’ve been following this blog for quite a while, you’ll have noticed that I took the plunge into Star Wars fiction with Death Troopers, a novel by Joe Schreiber, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Now, it’s been a long time before I would buy another Star Wars book, but I’m glad that I made the right choice. Matthew Stover is a New York Times Bestselling author, due to his adaption of The Revenge of the Sith, one which I personally haven’t read – but due to enjoying this novel, I will try and hunt it down.
Set soon after the Battle of Endor, and indeed after the novel The Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyers, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor pits the main characters from the original trilogy, Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, the two droids, as well as including Rouge Squadron, against the might of the devious Lord Shadowspawn and his army of Black-armoured Storm Troopers.
The first thing that jumps out at you when you look at the cover of the novel is the title. Sure, the main story revolves around Luke, but did the novel really have to have the whole, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor as its title? Wouldn’t it be best if Stover just left it with The Shadows of Mindor?
Oh, and in case you didn’t realise, Mindor is the planet where the story is set, and of course – is set immediately after the defeat of the Empire, the death of the Emperor and Vader, where the main gang along with a couple of new additions are put to the test against Lord Shadowspawn.
If there’s one thing about the majority of Star Wars novels, they’re going to be comfort reads nothing that doesn’t take a lot of attention to detail. The stakes are normally very high, and in this case – Shadowspawn is a lot more deadly than first appeared, and it seems that the very future of the New Republic is at stake.
If you enjoyed the original trilogy, you’re going to enjoy this novel. It has loads of stuff that reminded me of the movies, including space-dogfights with the Rouge Squadron, lightsaber duels between Jedi and a Sith Lord, and plenty of stuff that will keep you hooked in this comfort read.
Although at some points, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor does have you thinking that the characters might at some point actually die, the fact that you know that they’re too big to be killed off this early in the Star Wars series, which kind of ruins the tension.
Character development is mainly focused on Luke himself in this novel, as we watch Luke dealing with the fame that has sprung up around the Galaxy after the death of the second Death Star, and the Emperor and Vader themselves, and we watch Skywalker develop a bit more in the three-hundred odd pages that this story, which is quite good to see, especially in a tie-in novel to one of the most popular movie series of all time.
If there’s another problem that I had with Stover’s work though, it was that he found the need to spell out every word that Chewie said, and R2-D2’s beeps as well. It gets annoying after the second time, and boring after the third, despite this allowing for some amusing discussions between the wookie and Han Solo.
The battle-scenes were enjoyable as well, as Stover knows how to write a good action. The short prologue at the beginning, which was set after the events in the novel finished, allowing the author to set the scene and provide a nice little introduction which will get you all interested.
Stover really had to get the characters right in order for this novel. Luke, Han, the lot – which was one of the risks of including so many of the movie characters (In fact, all of the main gang), in one novel, because if you don’t get it right, it simply won’t be Star Wars, and I can tell you now that Stover not only writes these characters well, he writes them exceptionally well.
What’s more, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor is set immediately after the movies, so you don’t really have to read any other book beforehand, which is partly why I’ve avoided the many series such as Fate of the Jedi and so on, not really knowing what to delve into first.
Although, Fate of the Jedi has tempted me, a bit, I must say. But, I digress. Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor is a novel that I’ve enjoyed perhaps even more than Death Troopers, despite its flaws. However, due to its flaws though, I have to award it a rating of the following:
Previous Star Wars Novel: The Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyers
Next Star Wars Novel: Rogue Squadron by Michael Stackpole