A year ago when I first read about Crucible, my anticipation was born. I took that word and analyzed the hell out of it. I looked at this cover art and the bar was raised higher and higher with every announcement and promise. The book had promised to focus on the relationships of the Big 3 (Han, Luke, and Leia), give us a glimpse of the new era for Star Wars and reveal who the enemies will be for the upcoming books. I’ll avoid spoilers but when you open the book, it lists characters that are in it so instead of telling you what each character did I’ll only evaluate the way the characters were written and portrayed.
In recent years, many people have complained about the change in Han Solo’s attitude over the years. With his loss of Chewbacca and his sons, modern Han Solo has often been described as whiney and dark, this interperatation of the iconic character reads a little bit more like the young Han Solo, a little romantic, but strategic and bold. This attitude doesn’t always work out for Solo as he struggles to keep up in a young man’s game.
Omad Kaeg on the other hand reads just like a young Han. This young pilot often acts with more courage and stupidity then the mature Han Solo. Omad is an interesting character with some interesting bad habits and develops interesting relationships with several of the characters that are important in the Expanded Universe. I think we can expect him to be in the books and possibly even the new movie.
Luke Skywalker and his sister seemed to be pretty standard portrayals. Both of them have been more philosophical in their latter years and the book acts as a good learning process for them as they learn to allow the younger generation to have more control. Personally I think Luke’s most personal moments are with his son, Ben, and sadly this book doesn’t show much of that relationship.
Though Ben, Tahiri, Jag, and Jaina are in the book, they don’t play that much of a role in the book. I would complain about that, but one of the major reasons for this book is to help transition the focus of the Star Wars books onto the next generation, so I suppose we can expect more than enough of them to come. (Please Episode VII!) The book also mentions several Jedi in training, so it will be interesting to see if they play a part in things to come.
Lando is the man. That’s always beent he truth and always will be. Nothing else can be said about that.
I have mixed feelings about the villains in this book. They present the main villains to be Craitheus and Marvid Qreph, Columi twins that run a massive galactic corporation that is incredibly corrupt. For those of us that don’t think about Columi often, they are a species of little green men that are brilliant strategists. They’re resume is impressive but their actual behavior and responses don’t display the level of incite that they’re suppose to. My favorite scene of theirs involved a very interesting game, you’ll see. The real villains in my opinion are their hired help, Vestara Khai and Mirta Gev.
Vestara Khai returns as Ben Skywalker’s former girlfriend and member of the Lost Tribe of the Sith, it seems that since the Fate of the Jedi series Khai has managed to work her way up the criminal/corporate ladder. She understands the way the Jedi operate by now and provides interesting incite as an advisor, without being afraid to get her hands dirty.
Though they work together, Mirta Gev is often pitted against Khai due to their conflicting styles. Gev is a true Mandalorian, leading the charge while her grandfather, Boba Fett, remains out of the picture for this novel. With Fett growing old it is very likely that Mirta could be next in line to be Mandalore, so these early glimpses of her commanding her own troops give us an exciting look at the new wave of Mandalorians that may rise again as a threat in future novels/films.
The book references a good bit of everything and does a good job of presenting an exciting threat without trying to out-do any previous threats. The book felt exciting and gave me a very optimistic look at the next series of novels. This book gives me hope that the Star Wars timeline that we know and love will stay consistent in Disney era, because it feels like they are starting to build towards something exciting! I highly recommend this book to Star Wars fans of all experiences, as it does a great job catching the reader with the current state of affairs in the Star Wars Universe and acts as a great self contained story without having to be part of a 13-book arc.