Book Review: Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker’
*This review may contain spoilers for those that have not read ‘The Legends of Luke Skywalker.’ *
“Luke Skywalker? I thought he was a myth.”-Rey
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
A cargo ship hauling falthiers is making its way across the galaxy to Canto Bight. On board, the deckhands pass the time by swapping stories about the legendary Luke Skywalker. Is Luke Skywalker real? A heroic Jedi Knight or just a myth? The stories are just as mysterious as the man himself. And so, the deckhands will have to decide for themselves which ones are real and which ones are tall tales.
Ken Liu is a true pioneer. He is the first author to get his feet wet where Luke Skywalker is concerned. In other words, this is the first book about Luke we’ve received since the sequel trilogy began. Think about it, since Star Wars: The Force Awakens released two years ago, there hasn’t been one novel or young adult book about Luke Skywalker. Oh, we’ve gotten name drops, here-and-there, a few bits of dialogue from Leia’s memories in the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig, but nothing substantial. Yes, even for us, the fans, Luke Skywalker has become somewhat of a myth.
Now, keep in mind, this book is geared toward young readers. The reading level is said to be for 8-12-year-olds. But, as an avid Star Wars reader and wanting more Luke Skywalker in my life, well, that wasn’t going to stop me from getting my Star Wars fix. I mean, did we judge Yoda by his size? Of course not, so why judge a book by its reading level. I digress.
The journey begins with a mixed group of beings aboard a cargo ship hauling fathiers to Canto Bight. On their way, they decide to pass the time by retelling stories they’ve heard about Luke Skywalker, the legendary Jedi Knight. In between these tall tales, there’s an adventure in the works aboard the cargo ship. A small group comes together, inspired by the stories of Luke Skywalker, and they decide to help a hidden stowaway to safety.
1.The Myth Buster
Luke Skywalker, a name that’s larger-than-life. But, is that even his real name? According to some stories, this one, in particular, that’s questionable.
In a far away cantina, a group of strangers pays an engineer to retell a story that she’s heard about Luke Skywalker and his con artist friends. Yes, con artists. Apparently, according to her, the original storyteller says Luke is a con artist named Luke Clodplodder. Oh, and that whole bit about blowing up the Death Star, well, that was a scam. Yup. Oh, and it’s not the Millennium Falcon, it’s the Century Turkey.
2.The Starship Graveyard
In this story, we get to see an Imperial perspective on the legendary Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker. It’s quite the eye-opener. Again, it’s important to know that not everyone saw Skywalker as a hero.
The Imperial gunner describes Luke as an ominous being. In fact, his depiction of Luke resembles Supreme Leader Snoke from The Force Awakens, especially when he talks about the hologram and how it looms larger-than-life. Hooded and dark and evil in appearance, Luke sounds more like a monster than the hero we all know and love.
Still, what makes this story so impactful is that it places Luke at the Battle of Jakku. Talk about a revelation! Luke on Jakku during one of the most pivotal battles since Endor is a game-changer. But wait, there’s more. It won’t be easy for you to hear, but you must. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) Anyways, moving along, moving along.
This Imperial Navy soldier finds himself stranded on Jakku and severely injured. The battle is over. He’s all alone and left to die. It would be a slow, painful death too and the desert heat of Jakku would only intensify his agony. But, fortunately for him, salvation comes. Just not in the form he would have hoped. A hooded stranger appears before him, an all too familiar stranger. Luke Skywalker. Or is it?
The hooded stranger goes out on a limb for this Imperial soldier. He cares for his wounds, gives him water, food, and shelter. And yet, the Imperial soldier continuously questions the helpful stranger’s true intentions. The soldier stays vigilant as the stranger goes out of his way to return him to the Empire. He watches as the stranger does remarkable acts like walk across a lake of fire unscathed. And that is when he says to the stranger, “You’re Luke Skywalker.” The stranger turns to him as he takes his leave and answers him, “We are all Luke Skywalker.”
3. Fishing in the Deluge
Luke travels to an island. An island that seems a lot like Ahch-To from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
And so, this is where the journey for more knowledge begins. This story, told by the stowaway aboard the cargo ship, is about growth in the Force. The Tide.
The Tide is a very spiritual belief. It’s a balance between the believers and their religion. They are symbiotic, meaning they work together. The believers or followers do not manipulate the Tide. Instead, they let it guide them. It’s an extension of them as they are an extension of the Tide. And so, Luke must unlearn what he has learned. In other words, reject the light and dark altogether and trust that things will work out without his intervention.
4. I, droid
OK, so, as I said earlier, this book is geared toward 8-12-year-olds. And, well, this story fits that age grouping well. This tale is a rescue mission. R2-D2 has been taken by a group of droid scavengers and forced to work on a lava-like planet. The work alone kills droids. The droids that are forced to work here are lucky to last a standard month. And that’s saying a lot.
Just when all seems lost, R2-D2 hears a familiar voice and a jolt of hope returns to him. Luke! Luke, dressed as a protocol droid comes to the rescue. Imagine, Luke inside a C3PO costume wielding a lightsaber. Yup, that about sums this one up in a nutshell.
5. The Tale of Lugubrious Mote
Lugubrious Mote is a mole-flea who made her home on Salacious Crumb and takes full credit for all his jokes. Oh, Lugubrious has quite the vocabulary too.
So, as the story goes, Lugubrious made friends with Leia during her enslavement under Jabba the Hutt. That is how she came to meet the legendary Luke Skywalker. Well, “meet” might not be the correct word. Lugubrious takes up residence in Luke’s hair. Like Jiminy Cricket, she guides him in the right direction. And so, when all is said and done, Lugubrious takes credit for the escape and rescue from Jabba’s Palace.
6. Big Inside
You know the phrase, “save the best for last”?I believe that holds true in this case. The final tale in The Legends of Luke Skywalker takes us on a mystical journey of not just Force discovery, but self-discovery as well. Luke’s.
Luke, accompanied by a young biology student, finds himself lost in the abyss of a space slug’s belly. While they struggle to find their way out and stay alive, Luke finds himself drawn towards a mist. The mist is another faction of the Force. The Mist, like the Force, connects all of us and grows from all of us. And this is another game-changer for Luke’s character arc going into The Last Jedi.
Luke and his companion travel deeper into the Mist and finds its centerpoint: three ancient statuesque beings. Still-like, cocooned within a web-like mist. Luke becomes enamored by the Mist-Weavers. And after a while, Luke finally understands why he was there and what he had to do. He has to set the three statuesque beings free. Then, and only then, will Luke and his companion escape from the Big Inside.
“There are patterns in the Force, like the rise and fall of the Tide. Deeds from the past, echo in the present.”-Luke Skywalker
I would place The Legends of Luke Skywalker’ on the essential reading list. For those that have been waiting patiently for more on Luke Skywalker, this is your book. If anything, you’ll come away knowing a lot more than you thought you did and it’ll leave you with even more questions. Either way, you’ll be that much more prepared for Star Wars: The Last Jedi!