Chad Bearden's Reviews > Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Woodring Stover
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Feb 02, 09

bookshelves: star-wars-novels
Read in January, 2009

Well this one really takes me back to the Bantam days of the Star Ward EU. Back then, a seeming horde of novels were tossed off, one after the other, where all the primary Star Wars characters were thrown into some calamatous peril, then worked together to take down the villain of the month. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that formula, but it began to ware pretty thin in the waning days of the Bantam SW-EU contract. I would read the novels as they came out, but I always felt myself pining for the Zahn's original Thrawn trilogy, Anderson's Jedi trilogy, or the quite amazing X-Wing books. Novels like "The New Rebellion" and "The Crystal Star" kind of stretched my completist tendencies.

When Del Rey took over (around '99?) the EU, they decided to go in a completely and shockingly extreme new direction. "Vector Prime" set up the years-long story line which saw the Yuuzhan Vong invade the galaxy, and many characters, new and old, die. Lots of people threw hissy-fits when Chewbacca was killed off, but I found it quite refreshing that the safety was off, and that anything could happen. Dramatic tension had been reintroduced to the EU!

Some people feel that Del Rey went too far with the doom and gloom, and though I have actually enjoyed the entire Yuuzhan Vong saga, as well as the "Legacy of the Force" arc, I can see why people might start to get tired of such dark storylines. Hence, the arrival of "Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor".

I liked it far more than I thought I would. On the surface, it looks a lot like the old Bantam books that I grew to hate. All the main characters are here, they all get involved in some way or another to defeat a villain of the month. But Matt Stover handles the characters so deftly, that I couldn't help but enjoy myself. I think one reason is that Stover takes Luke into some dark places that resonate really well with the Luke we'll come to see in the more recent stories. I kind of laugh when I see other reviewers calling this mindless fun, because its actually quite grim in places.

A few hightlights for me included:

* A few short sections giving a detailed account of the way R2-D2 looks at the world, which was clever and fitting...
* the involvement of a few Clone Wars characters Stover wrote in "Shatterpoint"...
* a glimpse at pre-marraige Han and Leia, before they were a serious couple...
* Lando in full-on military tactician mode (he's written so light and breezy lately, that you forget he was a quite successful general during the Rebellion)...
* very brief glimpses at some of the Rogues, who, aside from Wedge, have pretty much disappeared from the EU...

And the ne lowlight:

* the odd framing sequence rang a little hollow. I wasn't sure about the prologue, but I gave it a chance to see how it played out. But then the epilogue went off the rails. I think this would have been a stronger book if Stover had just left them off completely.

So, if you prefer your Star Wars novels quick and easy, this is definitely one of the better one-off stories.
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Neil Nice review! You [amongst other reviews I have read] had nicely summarized the good points as well as the bad. I know I was one of those tired of the 'darker story lines' and rather enjoyed this 'lighter' story about the 'early' lives of the Alliance's heroes. I do agree with you; the 'villain-of-the-month' stories Bantam released did get a little thin towards the end; the stories I enjoyed most in Bantam's books were the 'earlier' books that seemed to actually tie in with other stories during that 'series' as opposed to the later books which did not seem to tie in to other books in that 'series.' I also liked how Dark Horse was actively working with Bantam at that time so that the comics did not contradict the books and that, in some cases, the books and comics tied together [i.e. - Dark Empire I and the Jedi Academy as well as the Rogue Squadron books and comics]. Anywhoo; this was one of the few Star Wars books that I can say I actually enjoyed reading recently in quite a while.


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