Friday, July 4, 2014

Star Wars: Crucible review

This week I decided to review Star Wars: Crucible by Troy Denning. The novel begins with Han Solo and his wife Leia Organa-Solo at a meeting point in a cantina awaiting Lando Calrissian, who has recently taken over a major refining facility in the Chiloon Rift, an area of space known both for the dangers of its plasma storms and the vast riches in valuable resources contained in its asteroids. Unfortunately, a rash of pirates have been greatly hindering mining operations, and Lando has called his old friends Han and Leia to help. However instead of Lando the pair first run into a young miner fleeing a debt and then the Mandalorians and Nargons, a artificial species of designer soldiers, who are pursuing the young miner. It is revealed that the pursuers are working with Galactic Exploitation Technologies or GET, a conglomerate which is trying to take over the mining industry in the rift and soon a battle breaks out. Eventually Han and Leia reach Lando, stopping to send a message explaining what is going on to Luke Skywalker who decides going to help them will be a nice change of pace, and a good test of how well he has healed from his last battle. Luke gets there shortly after a Sith Assassin working for GET has sabotaged Lando’s main refinery, killing tens of thousands of workers as well as critically injuring Han and Leia in the process. The investigation into the sabotage turns into a showdown leading to Han being captured and taken to GET’s base where he meets the organization’s leaders: a pair of Columi brothers who have spent much of their lives seeking vengeance against anyone who they suspect of possibly being involved in an attack which inflicted debilitating brain damage to their mother, who was a data broker, when they were children. Han, who was her final customer before the attack, is the last person on their list and finds himself in a card game where losers are forced to answer questions and suffer pain of simulated injuries. Meanwhile Lando, Leia, and Luke are joined by Luke’s son Ben and his partner Tahiri as they all try to rescue Han. After a variety of battles ranging from infiltrating a GET ship to destroying the fighters guarding GET’s headquarters a climactic battle begins which soon moves to the Force powered, time altering artifact at the base of GET’s headquarters.
I give this book a 7.5 out of 10. It was mostly entertaining, and I was pleasantly surprised by both the quantity and quality of the space battles in it. However many of the actions the villain’s take, especially towards minor characters or their employees seem to be done just so the reader never doubts they are evil, or to give those working for them reason to betray them rather than being done to aid in accomplishing the goals of the villains. Also there were some things written into the ending of the nine book series that proceeds this book in the Legends timeline, the final book of which was also written by Troy Denning, that I absolutely hated. The two biggest ones could easily be altered to a better form but not only does this book leave things as they were regarding those two points it goes out of its way to set to up so tha it appears at least one of the two will never be changed.  

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