The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.
Though the events of this book occur forty five years after the events of the original trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi) it’s easy for people who have not previously read any star wars novels to jump into the series with this book. There is a bit of background given that reference a few key occurrences from that time frame, honestly a few spoilers as well for those of us who haven’t read the previous books (kind of kicking myself for reading this before the others but nothing I can do about it now), so the reader isn’t left in the dark about who is who and what has happened up to this point. Now obviously it doesn’t list everything that has happened because that would take more than a single book to explain but it does mention things that helps to identify individuals, their relationships and a bit of the past as well. So if you are a new reader, or even a returning reader, to the Star Wars series then Crucible is a good place to jump into it if you are unsure where to start.
Han, Luke and Leia are far from being the young people you meet in the original trilogy but age hasn’t slowed them down and it’s also nice to see that these characters were not pushed aside in favor of younger characters either. Yes, there are plenty of newer, younger characters in the story, including Han and Leia’s daughter Jaina (who isn’t exactly young either, being in her early thirties) but the fact that some of the cast from the original star wars is still around is what makes the star wars books so appealing to me.
I did enjoy Denning’s writing style. That’s one thing that can be hard to keep consistent in large series like this one with so many authors contributing to keep the story growing in every direction on the time line. The story flowed well and there were certain characteristics from the older characters that made them who they were all those years ago that were still present in this novel and that was pleasing. Characters do tend to change and evolve over time and I could see that as well in these familiar characters that while some of their characteristics were the same they had grown, matured and adapted to all of the things that had happened over the last forty plus years. And of course the newer characters add a nice extra element to the story as well.
There are a few unanswered questions when it comes to the plot and a few characters, namely Mirta Gev and Vestara. We don’t know for certain what happens with these characters, though I think it’s safe to assume that they not only survived but escaped as well, though nothing will be for certain until we see them again, which hopefully will be in the next book, chronologically speaking at least. There were a few interesting additions to this novel however at this time I will not be discussing those since I do not want to give out any spoilers.
Overall I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and even though I hadn’t read any Star Wars novels in about eight years I had little issue diving right into the thick of the things. Now I will say that the ending was not what I expected and yet at the same time I felt like that may in fact happen. Without saying exactly what it was I feel like it’s an ending point in a way that while it still leaves the series open to continue on for many years it will be missing some key elements which makes it bitter sweet as well. I will now be going back and reading all the books I missed over the last few years as well as looking forward to new books in this series in the future. I would definitely recommend this book to all Star Wars fans as well as those who are looking to get into this very large and expansive series.