Star Wars: Crucible
Author: Troy Denning
Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
The long awaited book in the Star Wars series is finally here – the follow-up to the Fate of the Jedi has hit the book stores. I couldn’t wait to see how the events of the Fate of the Jedi would affect the Jedi Order in the long run. I quickly snatched up my copy of Star Wars: Crucible by Troy Denning.
Set forty-five years after the events of A New Hope and short time after the last book in the Fate of the Jedi series, Crucible finds Han and Leia Solo in the Outer Rim, answering the call of old friend and entrepreneur Lando Calrissian. Lando’s set up a new mining operation in a dangerous location known as the Rift. With asteroids everywhere, clouds of plasma and a communications system that leaves much to desire, the Rift is dangerous enough without the added problem of aggressive pirates and a corporation that wants Lando to sell out to them or pay the consequences.
When Luke Skywalker decides he is going to travel to the Rift himself, to help the Solos and Lando with their current situation, the Jedi Order is quite shocked. But Luke has his own reasons for going. Besides needing a mission he can sink his teeth into, Luke has an opportunity to see Ben who he has sent out to the Rift with Tahiri to look for a missing Jedi, one he has sent out on a quest to find the home of the Ones.
It looks like a relatively simple mission involving corruption and betrayal, but nothing in the Rift is as it seems. Han Solo runs into a pair of old enemies who want revenge and they have a score of Mandalorians and one very familiar Force-wielding woman on their side. Could this be the final adventure of the most famous trio of heroes in the galaxy?
I've been listening to the grumbling of folks who have been complaining about the survival of Han, Leia and Luke and how they are tired of reading their adventures. Well, I am a fan of the hero trio and I can't get enough of their adventures, although I will concede that they have survived things some amazing injuries...some of which have been inflicted on other characters in the series with a much smaller survival rate. So, it was with great happiness that I dug into my new book, which starts off with quite a bang - a cantina fight with a bad guy of the likes we have never laid eyes on before.
Now, I must admit, there are some interesting injuries inflicted on Han, Luke and Leia that have you shaking your head wondering how they could be so lucky to survive. But, for once, there is some permanent damage inflicted on their persons - a tad more realistic than usual. The storyline definitely continues the issues regarding balance in the Force and how it is maintained, but for once, we finally get something of an answer regarding that issue.
The new big bad guys are an interesting pair with a past gripe involving Han Solo, a penchant for painful interrogation games, oversized brains and a scientific interest in replication and gene tampering. These are not very nice individuals whose size and needs based on their physiology hardly prepare you for their ruthlessness.
Some interesting returns in this book, like Mirta Gev, Boba Fett's grandaughter, who has a vested interest in seeing to Han's enemies' success. Also, a particularly nasty Force user returns undercover looking to seize the empire while pretending to protect it. Ben and Tahiri return, working as a team to help out Lando, the Solos and Luke. And of course, Artoo and C-3PO are there.
A new face, and one that we may see again in the future, makes his way into the universe. Omad Kaeg is a hotshot pilot with a brash style reminiscent of one Han Solo and a penchant for acting without thinking.
But one thing that some fans have been saying about seeing too much of the original heroes in newer novels is about to come to an end for a while. That's because Star Wars: Crucible gives us reason to believe that we will not be seeing much of Luke, Han and Leia in the future. To say how I can come to this conclusion will give away too much, so I refuse to tell you about the way things end. However, I was happy to discover that there will be other Expanded Universe novels that will touch upon events in Han, Leia and Luke's past, so I will still get my fill of those heroes while reading novels set in the present featuring folks like Jaina, Ben, Tahiri and more.
Crucible was a novel full of action, adventure, twists and turns and a whole lot of fun to read. Troy Denning knows his Star Wars and he weaves a story that captivates the reader to the point that they dread putting the novel down. I read Star Wars: Crucible in three days - it was that much of a fast-moving, enjoyable series. And it answered quite a few questions left over from the Fate of the Jedi series.