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.
- 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).
- 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.