‘Star Wars: Crucible’ - Book Review

For most of the last few years, the “Expanded Universe” has focused on the continuing and further adventures of the base (and sometimes minor) characters from the original films, and this novel is no different.  Luke Skywalker, Leia Organo, and Han Solo, the heroes of the Rebellion and the founders of a New Republic, have been involved in every single galaxy-changing event since they left the hanger of the first Death Star, their lives defined by the eternal struggle of good versus evil; however, in the face of a new problem that threatens to change the balance of the galactic economy and the stability of the tentative peace, the triumphant trio makes some radical decisions that forever alter the lives of everyone involved.

SPOILERS BELOW

Brief Summary

After the events of the Fate of the Jedi novel series, in which a renewed Sith have made their presence known and the government of the Galactic Alliance has stipulated not to get involved in the ideological schism between the two sides of the Force, Lando Calrissian has requested the assistance of some old friends.  Han and Leia enter a region of unstable space to help their friend but soon find themselves involved in a far-reaching industrial plot that has significant repercussions throughout the galaxy.  Soon, Luke becomes involved, feeling the Force moving through him in an unusual fashion, and he comes face-to-face with a malevolent power that fuels his own doubtful thoughts of the future.  Together, Han, Leia, Luke, and their allies take on enemies new and old until they encounter an artifact that changed the very nature of how they saw the galaxy.  Following their battle, the heroes of the galaxy decide to take a step back from being at the center of things and enjoy the one thing they’ve worked so hard to give everyone else: peace and quiet.


Personal Observations & Reactions

In many ways this novel went back to the very core of what it meant to read a Star Wars story: intrigue, sabotage, getting to know the inner thoughts and feelings of the core characters involved, and the mysterious uses of the Force.  I will admit that the main protagonists of the book weren’t exactly what I expected, and their relationship to Han goes back to such an obscure story that I had to research it to know what was going on.  There’s a great deal of mystery involved in the story, in a new setting that hasn’t been mentioned before, and giving a great, classic feel to the characters and place that I’ve grown to love over time.

I’m not sure how I feel concerning the ending of this era of storytelling; part of me is thankful to explore new stories and settings without the focus being on the core trio that has dominated so much of the Star Wars universe for over 35 years, but it is also something that is new and different.  There have been other stories that haven’t focused on these three characters, including a whole series of books and games that are quite popular in the current marketplace, but so many fans still remember the old, classic trilogy and its heroes that it has become nearly impossible to associate the genre without them.

Regardless of the changing of the status quo, the writing of the book is of a decent quality.  Troy Denning does a good job of showing the emotional connection between Luke, Leia, and Han, of displaying how they feel about being in the thick of things for so long, and of the determination that they have to hold onto the fragile peace that has fallen upon the galaxy.  There’s a great lead-up to the action throughout most of the book, a great show of investigation and deduction into the motives behind the protagonists, but when the action finally arrived, it was given way too fast in my opinion.  Action is good, and Star Wars is certainly full of it throughout its history, but too much, too fast makes it a lousy read.  All in all, though, it had a great feel to it and ended on a great, classic style, the equivalent of “riding into the sunset.”


Final Thoughts

For a good long while, I have wondered what the mainstream Expanded Universe would be like without events centered on this iconic trio, and it seems as though I’ve finally gotten an answer to my thoughtfulness.  The future of Star Wars has already shown that in less than 100 years yet another war with the Sith will occur, and yet another Skywalker and Solo will be caught in events to save the galaxy, but the time from “now” to then has yet to be written.  Well, Disney, LucasFilm, LucasBooks, and Del Ray, the Hutt Ball is in your court; time to ante up your bet into the sabacc pot.

Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 16:29

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