Review: Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

Reviewed by Michael Hickerson (SoSF Editor)

At long last, a "Star Wars" novel that remembers the "Star Wars" universe is supposed to be fun.

Set after the events of "Return of the Jedi" and a couple of other books in the continuing series, "Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor" tells the story of Luke's first and only mission as a general of the New Republic. He's sent out to investigate the planet of Mindor where a group of stormtroopers led by Lord Shadowspan is playing havoc with the local government and planet and disrupting Republic space traffic. Turns out this is just a ploy to get Luke out to investigate so he can assume his throne as the replacement to both the Empreror and Darth Vader.

It sounds dark, ominious and serious, but Matt Stover keeps the novel light, fun and moving along at a crisp pace, something I can't say of a lot of other "Star Wars" novels of late. If the title sounds pulpy sf, then you're thinking along the right lines for this one. At one point, it's revealed that our heroes from the movies are the subjects of badly written, highly inaccurate, pulpy and best-selling accounts of their exploits in overthrowing the Empire. So, Luke has to contend not only with these rogue stormtroopers but also his own reputation from these books. It's here the book really is at its best, seeing Luke struggle with this conflict. It's done in a serious way, but not so deadly serious you can't have some fun with it. Stover seems to realize that these are not paragons of all that is good in the universe and has fun poking at the characters a bit. One funny chapter involves Han, Leia, Lando and several others all being at a peace conference and having to leave to go and resuce Luke. Seeing how the dominoes fall with each one in stunned disbelief that other has left in front of them is nicely done and works well because it feels realistic based on the characters.

After a glut of "Star Wars" books that took themselves too seriously and were so mired in continuity that they could be off-putting to the casual reader, it's nice to see a book that is fun, accessible and recalls why all want to revisit a "galaxy far, far away."

Michael Hickerson

Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover
Published by: Del Rey (December 30, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0345477448
ISBN-13: 978-0345477446
Genre: Science Fiction

Comments

  1. Sounds like a star wars book not written by Karen Travis that I would want to read.

  2. A very good summary and review. This was one of the best Star Wars novels I've read in a long time.

  3. Jeremy Wagner says:

    Does not sound all that good to me, sounds like a book for people who are only casual readers. The fan base for Star Wars novels want the continuity, its the fanboys and fangirls who buy the Star Wars books and thats who you have to keep happy

  4. But Jeremy, Shadows of Mindor IS chock-full of EU nods for the diehard fan, from The Courtship of Princess Leia (which mispelled "Mindor" as "Mindar", as Han notes), to foreshadowing Dark Empire, to some surprise returning guests from the Clone Wars, the old Marvel comics, even references to Karen Traviss' Mandos! Quite honestly, this book is pretty much an EU fan's wet dream. But it remains accessible to casual fans because the EU elements aren't integral to the plot, drenched in them as the book may be.

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