- Minor Spoiler Review -

Star Wars: Crucible is currently the farthest novel set in the Expanded Universe timeline. Set some 45 years after Star Wars: A New Hope, Crucible allows readers to once again focus on the Big 3 of Star Wars, namely, Han, Luke and Leia. Billed as a book that would pass the torch on to a new generation of Star Wars characters, Crucible promises a big adventure full of excitement. The question is, does it deliver?

For the most part, I say yes.

Troy Denning has once again penned a great novel. He had me hooked right from the first chapter. The book opens in a familiar setting: A seedy cantina. From what we know of cantinas in the Star Wars universe, something bad usually goes down, and this time it involves the major characters that fans love.

All throughout the book, I had in my mind what the fate of the Big 3 could possibly be. Would one of them be killed off? Or Lando, or maybe even C-3PO or R2-D2? Crucible makes you wonder all the way to the end. I’ll let you find out for yourself.

Crucible has a lot of great moments and surprises, and tons of witty and intelligent exchanges between characters. Sure, the book has dark moments, and delves into deep and twisted uses of the Force, but it fell short of being convoluted, in my opinion. I didn’t suffocate on difficult terms, or complicated exposition. Some readers might feel they did, though.

However, we once again have to read about the main characters, especially Luke, receiving horrible wounds, and are reduced to hobbling around, page after page. This does illustrate that these characters aren’t invincible, but yet another book that features Luke hopping around on one foot still doesn’t make it interesting, either.

One does wonder how this story will hold up to what’s planned for the future of Star Wars. Everyone knows by now that there’s another trilogy in the works, so it’ll be interesting to see if these new plots and the inevitable books to follow will mesh with the existing EU timeline.

I have to say, though, that the cover art for this book is terrible. There’s two different images of the Big 3 on both sides. I wouldn’t have used either one of them, as they do nothing to stir interest in the book. And what’s with the orange faces? (The color looks much different than the images here.) But if I had to choose, the back cover art should have been used up front, in my opinion.

Oh, and as far as the back cover text:

Old allies reunite for a new mission as Han, Leia, Luke and Lando battle to save the galaxy from the ultimate hostile takeover.

Mmm, that’s overstating things, I think. Maybe an ultimate takeover, but not the ultimate.

Despite my issues with the cover, I enjoyed the story and think that overall, Troy did a great job. This book is a standalone, but does include several references to prior books. However, as someone who has not read the New Jedi Order, Legacy of the Force, or Fate of the Jedi series of books, I can tell you that this book can be enjoyed by itself. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

So there you have it. Go buy a copy of Crucible today, and after reading, tell us what you think in our forums!

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no charge in order to provide an early review. However, this did not affect the overall review content. All opinions are my own.

Star Wars: Crucible 27-Page Preview
Star Wars: Crucible Blurb Now Online!
New Star Wars: Crucible Cover Art
Star Wars: Crucible: Last Hurrah For The Big 3?

Bryan Dean is the founder and administrator of Knights’ Archive. You can follow him on Twitter at @bry_dean.

Cover Synopsis:

Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, and Luke Skywalker return in an all-new Star Wars adventure, which will challenge them in ways they never expected—and forever alter their understanding of life and the Force.

When Han and Leia Solo arrive at Lando Calrissian’s Outer Rim mining operation to help him thwart a hostile takeover, their aim is just to even up the odds and lay down the law. Then monstrous aliens arrive with a message, and mere threats escalate into violent sabotage with mass fatalities. When the dust settles, what began as corporate warfare becomes a battle with much higher stakes—and far deadlier consequences.

Now Han, Leia, and Luke team up once again in a quest to defeat a dangerous adversary bent on galaxy-wide domination. Only this time, the Empire is not the enemy. It is a pair of ruthless geniuses with a lethal ally and a lifelong vendetta against Han Solo. And when the murderous duo gets the drop on Han, he finds himself outgunned in the fight of his life. To save him, and the galaxy, Luke and Leia must brave a gauntlet of treachery, terrorism, and the untold power of an enigmatic artifact capable of bending space, time, and even the Force itself into an apocalyptic nightmare.