The Crystal Star
by Vonda N. McIntyre
Published by Bantam Publishing
Scott's Rating: 2 out of 4
Helen's Rating: 1 out of 4
Leia's children, Jacen and Jaina, are kidnapped by a twisted former Imperial officer named Hethrir. He is talented in the Force and plans to create evil Jedi out of the twins and other children he has kidnapped. Meanwhile, Leia, Chewie, and the gang attempt to track the kids down.
Meanwhile, Luke and Han follow clues about a colony of hidden Jedi to a space station near a dying star that is turning into a crystal, thus the title, THE CRYSTAL STAR. This crystal is disrupting communications and the Force which causes trouble for Luke. The trail leads them to a strange cult which worships a strange blob being from another dimension called Waru.
I really liked the cover! Drew Struzan is the master when it comes to painting the SW Universe. As far as the story goes, I liked seeing the twins personalities develop. That was the highlight of this book for me. This was the first SW novel I can recall that dealt with the kids.
The ideas of Han and Luke having an adventure while Leia takes off on one of her own sounded good. I also liked the image of a brindled Chewie - for some reason I found that humorous. The plot moved on at a quick enough pace so the novel didn't take long to read.
So, Waru is a being from another dimension being worshipped by a cult. Is it just me or does this sound more like a plot to Star Trek than Star Wars? This is debatable, but I feel that Star Wars always followed certain rules. Sometimes it would stray from being technically correct with sounds in space and movements of space ships, but it always stayed within certain bounds. I feel that a Crystal Star and beings from another dimension both fall outside of the boundaries that the SW Universe covers. This really turned me off to the story. That is not to say it was a bad story, but I felt it wasn't a good STAR WARS STORY. I also felt that Hethrir was not a good character. He was bad, but he didn't strike me as dangerously evil, which he was supposed to be. I also thought Luke's falling in with the cult was not really interesting or believable.
I mean no offense to the well meaning efforts of Ms. McIntyre, but this novel failed on several levels. The protagonists were one-dimensional, the crisis faced by the main characters not completely explored, and the conclusion predictable. In the Crystal Star, once again the Solo children in jeopardy at the hands of Imperial loyalists is used as a plot device. Hethrir was no different from characters in other novels who wanted to revive the old ways and grab power for themselves, yet there was an unfulfilled story potential in that Hethrir was non-human. It was never clear why he served the Empire. I never bought into the idea that Vader trained Rillao or Hethrir in secret, yet gave Hethrir a position within the Empire. The re-introduction of Xaverri from Han Solo's past could have been wonderful, but I never managed to summon compassion for her or her plight. Additionally, I would have liked to see a fuller treatment of the slavery plot line. For example, how did it manage to flourish for so long after the fall of the Empire? Finally, there never was a real tension involved in the conclusion of the story. The outcome never seemed in doubt.
Definitely Waru, that big blob of pus from the Star Trek world. Shatner can have him back, for all I care!
On this I agree with Scott. Waru.