REVIEW: STAR WARS – CRUCIBLE / AUTHOR: TROY DENNING / PUBLISHER: CENTURY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
If you are an established Star Wars Expanded Universe fan, you’ll be very aware of the backstory surrounding Crucible (first released last year). However, if you’re not already a fan or frequent reader of the novels, this book does a good job of welcoming you into the fold as well. Aside from the necessary pieces of established lore needed for this novel, it is a standalone work. Nearly every mention of an expanded universe element includes a brief recap and makes clear how this element relates to the story in progress. This reviewer hasn’t read a Star Wars novel in years, so it was much appreciated.
Unfortunately, some aspects of the novel are treated far too lightly. Denning has gained a reputation as ‘the hit man of the EU’ and it’s not hard to see why. One event in particular, which is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, seems like it should have a much greater impact on the universe at large. As it stands, it informs a few character motivations (barely) but it seems more like the reason the evil alien capitalists have to be stopped is because they’re trying to harm our heroes personally. We’d also like to point out that Solo loses an eye but this is barely mentioned. If the author wasn't intending to use something like that, he might as well have not brought it up at all.
It’s not all bad, though. There are some very good sequences in here such as the Sabacc game and the opening scene in the Cantina. The ending, while a bit baffling unless you understand what’s going on, is well written and rather touching. The whole thing could have used some work but it is a good send-off for the ‘Big Three’, at least until we see them on the big screen again next year.