The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu, Review by Corinne Donnelly
Stories come in many forms and points of views, and they often evolve with each telling. The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu resembles a giant game of telephone as the crew members of a transport barge on its way to Canto Bight pass the time recounting legends about Luke Skywalker they have picked up in their travels. Six separate stories are presented ranging from the somewhat believable to the downright bizarre. While the illustrations preceding each tale are stunning, the words on the page lack depth and relevance.
The opening narrative, which continues in interludes between the short stories, is dull and uneventful. The crew, composed of characters that somehow all manage to sound the same, tread trivial and mundane topics between forced segues into each legend. Unfortunately, the legends themselves do not make up for the unappealing plot holding together the book’s structure.
Besides focusing on Luke Skywalker, each legend explores the concept of heroism, particularly how one man’s hero can be another man’s villain. The most entertaining legend (“The Starship Graveyard”) focuses entirely on this concept, as it is narrated by an Imperial gunner who is saved by a rebel, presumably Luke, after the Battle of Jakku. The only other legend (“Fishing in the Deluge”) that succeeds at bearing an iota of relevance to the Star Wars universe follows two siblings on the ocean planet of Lew’el who help teach Luke the ways of the Tide, their translation of the Force.
The rest of the legends (“The Myth Buster,” “I, Droid,” “The Tale of Lugubrious Mote,” and “Big Inside”) miss the mark because they are too exaggerated. The outlandish nature of these tales should be amusing, but they are more annoying than humorous. The most horrific of all relates the events of Return of the Jedi from the perspective of a flea living in the hair of Jabba the Hutt’s crony, Salacious Crumb. I am not kidding. The more outrageous the tale, the less invested the reader becomes as they lose interest in deciphering what is true and what is fake. If nothing is true, then why read it at all?
Ken Liu’s The Legends of Luke Skywalker is a self-indulgent and irrelevant piece of fluff that struggles to find its place in the beloved franchise. As a companion piece to The Last Jedi, it hurts more than helps stoke excitement for the new movie’s release. In fact, it made me wary of buying future Star Wars books. Skip this one, and stick to Claudia Gray’s novels instead.