“The destruction of our latest Death Star was but a temporary setback. The Rebels have yet to see the full fury of our power and our might. We are developing even more advanced weapons, and when we are done, we shall rule the galaxy and crush the Rebel Alliance.” – Grand Moff Hissa
Well, it finally happened. I finally got to the BAD Star Wars books. When I decided to start reading the Expanded Universe novels by release date, I knew I would get to a crappy book eventually. I’m honestly surprised that it took as long as it did. Counting the movie novelizations, this is the 14th Expanded Universe I’ve read. I got to read 13 books that were pretty good before I got to this one. That’s not so bad I guess.
But let’s get right into it. The Glove of Darth Vader is the first of six books in the “Jedi Prince” series, a series of six junior novels. Junior novels. This is the first junior novel I’ve read in the old Expanded Universe (since my childhood at least). Part of me feels bad for judging this book the same way I would judge a regular adult novel, but being a “junior novel” doesn’t give it a free pass to be awful, especially since the junior novels in the new canon are very good. Being a junior novel, this book is very short. That’s fine. That’s expected.
The Glove of Darth Vader takes place a few months after Return of the Jedi. Vader and the Emperor are dead. The Death Star is gone. The Empire is left without a leader, but it still exists. A prophet of the dark side has prophesied that the next leader of the Empire will wear the indestructible glove of Darth Vader. Because apparently Darth Vader’s right-hand glove that was chopped off at the end of Return of the Jedi is indestructible for some reason… and his left-hand glove isn’t.
Enter Trioculus, a three-eyed mutant human who claims that he should be the Empire’s next leader because he is the Emperor’s son. He decides he has to find Vader’s glove to fulfill the prophesy.
He finds it pretty damn easily, under the ocean on the planet Dac (which is actually called “Calamari” in this book… but… it’s Dac). Luke is also on Dac with Admiral Ackbar and they witness Triculous finding the glove. They try to blow up Triculous’ ship, but Triculous escapes, and we’re left with a cliffhanger designed to make us read the next book!
When summarized like that, the book doesn’t seem that bad. But when you start reading the actual book, it’s immediately obvious that you are reading something very, very stupid.
First of all, the characterization in this novel is awful. All the main characters from the original trilogy are here. None of them feel like the characters from the movies. They don’t act the way you would expect them to. The dialogue is awful, the characters make stupid choices, and it all just feels wrong. Threepio saying “We droids are replaceable, after all” instead of having a meltdown about his potential impending doom is just not right.
Han Solo decides to leave Leia and to go build himself a house on Cloud City, saying “I’ve always dreamed of having a house of my own, and I figure it’s about time Chewie and I built my dream sky house.” Really? After Return of the Jedi made it very clear that they love each other, this book comes around and makes Han not care anymore. Okay. He’s kind of a dick about it too.
The Imperials are parodies of the Imperials from the movies. One Grand Moff addresses a crowd saying “I bid you all Dark Greetings!” Apparently all Imperials associate with the dark side of the Force now, and apparently it was public knowledge that Emperor Palpatine was a Dark Lord of the Sith. The new canon has made it clear that nobody knew that the Emperor had any connection with the dark side of the Force, and anyone who witnessed the Emperor using the Force–or using a lightsaber–never lived to tell the tale.
There’s another Grand Moff who wears earrings shaped like laser pistols. And there’s a picture. And it looks SO STUPID.
This book has whales on the cover. Whales. And they’re in the book, and they’re called “whaladons” but they’re literally just whales. The book describes them as “whale-like mammals” and that they “resemble humpback whales but with a few variations.” They’re literally just whales.
Star Wars Rebels actually had a couple episodes that included whale-like space creatures, but at least they didn’t look exactly like whales.
The cover art was done by Drew Struzan, the man who created some of the most well-known and beloved posters for the Star Wars films, so that’s cool at least.
This book feels like really bad fan fiction. There was obviously no quality control back in those days. But did it really matter? Did kids care? Did adults read this stuff? I have no idea. I read one book from this series as a kid (one of the middle books, not having any idea that it belonged to a series) and I don’t remember having any problems with it. But as an adult reading this in 2018, I have to say that this book is terrible.
There are good ideas here. I’m interested in Trioculus and curious to see what eventually comes of him (because he’s clearly not around in later stories). But it’s just written so poorly, and that’s what kills this for me more than anything.
Bad writing aside, I do want to know what happens next, sort of. The book is kind of entertaining just because it’s a glimpse into what the Expanded Universe was like back in the early ’90s, and how laughably bad it could be at times.
Unless you’re a completionist, I would stay away from this one. To date, it’s the worst Star Wars book I have ever read.