Literature: The Crystal Star
The Crystal Star is an oddity in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Released in The Nineties during the indecisive seeming period before the release of The Phantom Menace, this book was the work of science-fiction author Vonda McIntyre. She had previously written a number of books set in the Star Trek Expanded Universe, and the influence certainly shows.In a Star Wars galaxy now populated by centaurs, "wyrwulfs" and strange creatures from other universes, The Crystal Star involves Luke and Han investigating a bizarre cult while Leia searches for her and Han's kidnapped children. There's also something about anti-Force, Han's ex-girlfriend and Imperial revivalists.
Tropes featured in this work include:
- Academy of Evil: Hethrir's Dark Side Academy.
- Anti-Magic: Substitute magic for the Force, and you've got the general gist of it.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Hethrir believes he has to sacrifice a baby to become this. No, seriously. To be fair, the baby is Anakin Solo.
- Cool Ship: Leia's starship, and Hethrir's mobile planet.
- Covers Always Lie: Luke is not at the center of the galaxy.
- Death by Sex: Ghostlings suffer this.
- Eldritch Abomination: Waru."Hethrir's scientists breached the walls between dimensions and brought into existence a massive slab of meat covered with shining golden scales. Though this entity, Waru, lacked discernible sensory organs, it was highly intelligent and could communicate in a deep resonating voice."
- Fantastic Racism: Hethrir is particularly racist against nonhumans despite being one himself.
- Genocide from the Inside: Hethrir destroyed his own planet and people in an attempt to curry favor with his master.
- Heroic Sacrifice: For all the criticism the book gets, it is often praised for its characterisation of Han at the very end of the Hethrir plot; Luke and Leia have been consumed by Waru and Han realises he has to go in after them after asking Chewie to look after his family.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Hethrir was the one who summoned Waru, so it's only fitting that in the end Waru eats him.
- Mama Bear: Leia. As noted in Abel G. Pena's blog, McIntyre's characterisation of Leia as a mother is one of the better examples in the EU.
- Meaningful Name: Hethrir sounds a lot like "Hitler"; Waru is apparently Japanese for "bad".
- Path of Inspiration: Waru's religion.
- Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements: Hethrir and Rillao's lightsabers lack a traditional on/off switch. Instead, igniting them requires one to use the Force to complete an internal electrical circuit. Hethrir uses the ability to do so as a test for his apprentices (and isn't above rigging it if he doesn't like the apprentice).
- Put on a Bus: The ships containing what's left of the Firrerreos jump to hyperspace and are basically ignored by the rest of the book. The Essential Guide to Alien Species eventually established that they found asylum on the planet Belderone. A happy ending? Not so much: Force Heretic I: Remnant gave a throwaway mention that the planet was captured by the Yuuzhan Vong, who enslaved the Belderonians and rendered the Firrerreos functionally extinct.
- Series Continuity Error:
- Luke's lightsaber is blue in this book. He lost said blue lightsaber in The Empire Strikes Back and built a green one in Return of the Jedi. Although he got the blue one back in The Thrawn Trilogy, he gave it to Mara Jade.
- Also, because this book was written before the chronologically-earlier Callista Trilogy—which ended only a year before Crystal Star—the early chapters in which Han ribs Luke about finding a woman and having Jedi children (even making jokes about what Obi-Wan was like in his youth) come across as rather mean-spirited even for the smuggler. (I.e., Luke is just coming off of losing Callista, the woman he thought was the love of his life.)
- Smug Snake: The Proctors of Hethrir's academy.
- Starfish Alien: Waru.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Almost nothing about this book is ever even referred to again by later material.