Because I’m not enough of a nerd with the Star Trek, it was only a matter of time before I turned my attention to the Star Wars books and gave them a try. So here I am, starting at the beginning of the post-Jedi timeline with Kathy Tyers’s Truce at Bakura, the first in the long developing timeline that expands beyond the movies. While there was enough here to keep me interested—and several things that shined—this was an uneven outing for me to start an expanded universe journey.
Truce at Bakura is very much a Luke story. When the story is firing on all cylinders, you have some great introspection of a very young man who is straddling a line between wanting to rebuild a quasi-religious order and performing the functions of an officer in the Rebel military—because that’s what he’s become. Luke struggles when put in command—a skill he’s going to need to learn to develop even though he intends to use it in another arena entirely. He reacts awkwardly—in his thoughts—to Han and Leia because he had moments of flirtatious notions that the sudden revelation of his family rendered impossible. He is at a loss to reconcile how he came to view his father—and his father’s ultimate redemption—with the vision all his friends and comrades have of him single-handedly destroying Darth Vader and the Emperor. These are all great moments within the book and made me like Luke a little more.
Then there’s the rest.
The romantic story between Luke and one of the Bakurans comes off as forced and, for me, lacked dimension or feeling—and Luke himself seemed entirely too desperate. The recklessness with which he pursues a formerly brainwashed and tortured force adept as an apprentice made me think he didn’t pay much attention to everything Yoda taught him—or what Yoda thought of him in the beginning. For too much of the book, this feels like the impassioned, reckless Luke of Empire and not the calmer, more reasoned Luke of Jedi.
The other major character piece involves Leia accepting Darth Vader as her biological father. While I get what Tyers is shooting for, I can’t say it did much for me because there wasn’t really much of Leia processing so much as yelling. After a little while it blended together.
Truce at Bakura’s a quick read, and what Tyers is aiming for with Luke is a goal worth aiming for. Though I wonder if, for as high stakes as the plot was and the size constraints of this kind of book, she tried to tackle too much.
I gave this book three stars on Goodreads.