YMMV / The Truce at Bakura

  • Nightmare Fuel: The whole entechment thing. Draining the life forces of living beings and prolonging their agony to use the energy to fuel the Ssi-ruuk's machines.
  • Older Than They Think: Probably the first novel to feature mysterious alien invaders from beyond the known galaxy.
  • Rooting for the Empire: This is the eventual result: Heroic Imperials (except for Governor Nereus, anyway).
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Gaeriel follows a religion called the Cosmic Balance, which believes in balance in all things. When you suffer, an unknown other in the galaxy is elevated, and vice versa. One aspect of her religion teaches that Jedi are abhorrent, as they accumulate massive personal power, weakening their unknown counterparts. She even wonders, briefly, if Luke could be so powerful that the Cosmos had to send in the Ssi-Ruuk, reducing hundreds of sentients to mere droid batteries, to balance his power. Gaeriel's good friend Eppie Belden suffers from very severe dementia, and Luke, upon meeting her, realizes that this is not a natural result of old age for her, and that Eppie has untapped Force potential of her own. He shows her how to use a Jedi healing trance, and a few days later, Eppie is back to her old, fiery, lucid self. Gaeriel tries to explain that Luke is "dangerous, one of them," to which Eppie scoffs, and replies "Our teachers have taught us a lot of wisdom down the years, but also a load of guff." A most succinct criticism (notably, not condemnation) of religion in general, and religious intolerance in particular.
  • Tear Jerker: The entire last chapter, basically. Dev dies, but finally cleansed of Ssi-Ruuvi taint, having focused on healing his spirit instead of his body. Luke feels him Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence through the Force. Gaeriel comforts Luke over the loss, but then the two part ways, Gaeriel feeling her place is to stay with Bakura, and Luke is (naturally) needed elsewhere.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Of all Luke's potential love interests in the EU, Gaeriel is closest in character to Leia. Both young, headstrong politicians with very firm beliefs that they don't stray from easily, though Gaeriel is a little more flexible than Leia and lacks most of Leia's Action Girl qualities. She could thus be seen as Luke's "rebound girl" after he realizes that there's absolutely no chance of a relationship between him and Leia.