If you are looking for a review of Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster, I hope you will find mine both interesting and informative.
While this book has been around for many years, it is still worth doing a review on. This is my first book review so please bear with me if it is slightly unorthodox.
I really enjoyed this book the very first time I read it, and still love it and have re-read it many times over the years. Rather than it being a compilation of facts, I’ll be including my own personal opinion.
Alan Dean Foster has written several books for the Star Wars franchise and they have all been very well written and excellent reading.
Book Title: Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye (From the Adventures Of Luke Skywalker)
Author: Alan Dean Foster
Published: According to another site, the book was published on 27 June 1994 by Random House USA Inc. However I have read it was originally published by Sphere Books Ltd in 1978 by arrangement with Del Ray/Ballantine Books, a division of Random House Inc, New York, USA.
Price: $11.10 This is the Australian price. The site recognises which country you are from and adjusts the price accordingly. This price includes free shipping worldwide.
My Rating: 7½ – 10
Recommended? Yes, I would recommend this book, especially to anyone who is interested in reading all the different threads that the expanded Star Wars universe has been a part of. This book is no longer canon, however it is one of the Legends/expanded universe books and they are all well worth reading. I believe any true Star Wars fan would love to add this to their collection of Star Wars reading, whether it be canon or not.
A Crash Landing
The book begins in space as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, accompanied by R2D2 and C3PO, are flying in two small fighters to a secret meeting on the fourth planet in the Circarpous system. An electrical atmospheric disturbance of some kind causes them to crash on the swampy planet of Mimban, where the remainder of the story unfolds. Once on planet they must find each other, locate a beacon to call for help and survive the planet’s many carnivorous creatures and mud holes that would swallow them up without a trace, and still avoid any Imperial entanglements.
Two Yuzzem And A Crazy Old Lady
On world they meet a crazy old lady who entices Luke into helping her find the legendary Kaiburr Crystal, that allegedly holds the key to changing the fate of whole worlds. Their adventure takes them to a mining town where they are imprisoned by Imperials. They escape with the help of two Yuzzem and the old lady and go off in search of the crystal because Luke is convinced of it’s great power and concerned it will fall into the wrong hands if they don’t find it.
They face many dangers along the way, both above ground and below, including a fight to the death and a battle with storm troopers and the biggest, most terrifying character of all. They are working through their own feelings surrounding each other, while they are on the run and are being pursued by an old enemy who eventually catches up with them. Once more they have to battle for their lives or be killed. No mercy will be shown them.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this book. It really depends on whether you liked the style of the story telling of this group of heroes, set by George Lucas in his movie Star Wars and the book of the movie as to whether you will find the same appreciation or not for Splinter of The Mind’s Eye. If you’re looking for a book that depicts a world in outer space with a very descriptive flair having you almost being able to picture it in your ‘mind’s eye”, then this book fits your hunger for imagination.
Lucky Escapes, Strange Creatures, Plenty Of Action
If you enjoy sitting on the edge of your seat kind of action with battles and lucky escapes, then you will find this also in here. If you like to feel a bit of a budding romance and an air of mystery surrounding whether someone gets the girl or not, then your needs are met here too. If you love reading about far off places with strange creatures, or oppressed citizens that find freedom, this books ticks the box there.
Love The Characters of Star Wars?
If you simply love the characters from Star Wars and want to read about their next adventure out of sheer love for the storyline, please purchase a copy and start reading. The book is similarly written in the same style as the movie, meaning that the characters in the movie come alive in the same way in this book as they did in the movie, and the character portrayals are mostly authentic to what you would expect of them from the movie.
Possibilities Of A Romance
There is one thing that you will need to reconcile in yourself when reading this book, and that is that in this book, there was not a sibling relationship between Luke and Leia, it was written before George Lucas decided to make them brother and sister. There are a few things that I found a little less appealing, which I have explained in detail in the article I wrote recently, but a word of warning, if you read the article, there will be some spoilers.
What I Loved The Most
Alan Dean Foster’s Writing Style
Alan Dean Foster writes very eloquently and descriptively. He wrote this book in a time where writing with such beautifully flamboyant use of words was a sign of the author’s abilities as a writer. Personally I really love seeing large and wonderful vocabularies being used in books, it lends a more fantastical feel and vastness to them, but I know that this is not always as easy for a book to be understood by ALL readers and can often take away from the story, put people off or lead to distractions.
A Cave Sets The Scene
For example in one scene in a cave that Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are travelling through, Foster writes; “Further on they encountered a miniature forest of helicites. These twisted, grotesquely contorted crystals of gypsum defied gravity in their swirling projections from floor, walls and ceiling………….In addition to the lichen-fungi………..some looked like cantilevered mushrooms.” This style of language may cause the reader to skip through and not grasp the full description of this apparently breathtaking cavern. I myself had to look up the meaning of cantilevered, which is a kind of structure that supports an overhang of some kind, like a shelf or bridge.
Wished I Was There
I loved the way Alan Dean Foster described the underground journey, especially the cavern with the phosphorescent lighting and formations. It made me wish I was travelling with them to witness this beauty. I remembered visiting some beautiful caves in Victoria, Australia that I will never forget. They were gorgeous and reading this book took me back to those caves wishing they were even more spectacular than what they were, and trust me, they truly were a bit of a fairy land too.
Luke And Leia In Love?
In Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, I loved that Luke Skywalker, my ultimate hero, gets to be a hero quite a number of times in this story. I loved that the potential love story between Luke and Leia was explored before George Lucas went and turned them into brother and sister, effectively killing this thread possibility forever. I really enjoyed that there were attempts made to show Luke as a normal person complete with innocence, good character and strength, but also as a Jedi-in-training who was starting to investigate the force and use it. He was not portrayed to suddenly be all knowing and an expert force wielder, which would have made the story less realistic at this time.
What I Didn’t Love As Much:
Princess Leia Just Doesn’t Quite Match The Leia We Know And Love
I found that Princess Leia was portrayed not quite true to how I would expect her to act in certain situations. She is not unintelligent and so I found it a bit silly that Foster had her smart mouthing quite a lot of people and getting herself into trouble. These people included the strange old lady, some burly miners who had ill intent, and Imperial Officers who for one, did not appear to know who she was, therefore she drew attention to herself and her possible importance instead of avoiding having people questioning that she might be something other than who she was trying to pretend to be, a servant girl.
Leia Does Not Normally Scream Like A Banshee
While Leia has been known to issue a scream of fright, such as in The Empire Strikes Back when a Mynock flaps against the window of the Millennium Falcon while in the giant space worm on the asteroid, she is not one to scream from the sheer terror of the memory of the torture she experienced on the Death Star. In this book she was seen to lapse into breakdowns like a screaming banshee. Something that does not seem to fit quite right with her strong, calm character. I get that Alan Dean Foster was trying to portray that she experienced horror and if it was any other character, I would probably be less critical, but this was just not Leia.
I’m Not A Fan Of Making It OK For Safety Reasons To Use Violence Against Women, Whether It Be Fiction Or Not.
Another thing I wasn’t keen on was that Luke had to resort to force to stop her from screaming. He also hit her on another occasion which I’ll let you read the book to find out why. The whole man hitting a woman, especially for something like that just doesn’t sit well with me and I worry that it promotes violence against women. I also realise back in that time, a lot of books and movies had this kind of event and can’t blame Foster for incorporating it into his story. I can’t imagine Luke, if he were a real person, would be inclined to go to such lengths, and I can’t imagine either that Luke would have got away with hitting a princess. However, I’m not a screaming kind of girl, nor a princess, and therefore I am not really sure what one would need to do to stop a girl who is in a fit of terror from screaming, princess or not.
Was Anything Left Unfinished Or Needing Further Clarification?
The ending, while setting the scene for a potential sequel or more, I felt was left a little unfinished. There was no explanation of how they managed to escape the planet they were stranded on, and no contemplation of what they were going to do with the Kaiburr Crystal once they obtained it.
The actual power of it was only just hinted at that it could magnify one’s use of the force, but I would have like to see some other ideas thrown around so that the reader might be able to grasp better what a light side force user might be able to do with it, and what a Sith Lord might be able to use it for.
It was left up to the imagination so I guess it’s up to the reader to think up fantastical properties or dastardly acts of evil to fill in the gaps. The fact that the story went in a different direction altogether once Star Wars was a box office hit means that whatever Alan Dean Foster had in mind for what powers the Kaiburr Crystal held will now likely never be told.
Additional Information If You Are Interested To Read More
Canon or Non-Canon (Legends/Expanded Universe): This book was considered to be canon when it was part of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU), but now that Disney has taken over, it is no longer canon. It was the first book in the EU. It was apparently the book George Lucas asked Alan Dean Foster to write as a potential sequel to Star Wars.
Recommended Reader Age: Young Readers (Teen) to Adult. For the most part the book is easy to understand, but on occasion it lapses into the kind of book where a thesaurus or dictionary would come in handy to understand the definitions or context of the word or phrase being used
Genre: Science Fiction, sub-genre Space Opera
Book Cover By: Ralph McQuarrie
Chronology In Relation To The Overall Saga: Set approximately 2 years after Star Wars – A New Hope and before The Empire Strikes Back.
References To Other Novels/Stories: Star Wars – A New Hope
Recommended Pre-Reading: Star Wars – A New Hope
Luke Skywalker – Hero of the Rebellion, destroyer of the Death Star
Princess Leia – Princess from the destroyed planet of Alderaan, Leader of the Rebellion.
Artoo Detoo (R2D2) – Astromech Droid, assistant to Luke Skywalker
See Threepio (C3PO) – Protocol Droid, assistant to Princess Leia
Halla – Old lazy, perhaps crazy, force sensitive, citizen of mining town on Mimban
Hin – Yuzzem – hairy ape-like creatures with long, powerful arms, bound into Imperial servitude
Kee – Yuzzem – see above. Hin and Kee maybe brothers or cousins, kin of some kind.
Captain-Supervisor Grammel– Imperial Officer in charge of the mining operations, enforcer of the law, decider of fates
Lord Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith, Imperial
Favourite Character: Luke Skywalker, always Luke.
Least Favourite Character: Captain Supervisor Grammel, he was just plain twisted and cruel. Very unlikable. Which means that Alan Dean Foster did well with his portrayal.
Favourite Introduced Character: The Yuzzem. I liked them because they were refreshingly simple in their actions, they handled things head on and their sheer strength allowed them to get away with it.
Author Information: Information about Alan Dean Foster, including his bio can be found on his own website. http://www.alandeanfoster.com/
Other Information: I would like to point out that this book was also made available in a comic book series, which I haven’t read yet. Also the young reader’s version that I read may have missed other pieces of information that I haven’t written about here. If anyone has knowledge that I have missed or not read in another format, I encourage you to get involved in a discussion in my comments section so together we can be a comprehensive source of information for other Star Wars readers.
I’m glad I decided to write a review of Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye – Alan Dean Foster. This book remains one of my favourites, and I hope you got what you came for when looking for a review of this book. I would appreciate some feedback to let me know whether it was helpful to you. Thank you for reading it. Please leave any other comments in terms of what to include for next time in the comments section below and I will do my best to add them.