I am quite out of date with the Star Wars ‘Expanded Universe’ stuff, as I’ve mostly kept to Timothy Zahn and a few other notable books after being burned by KJA. But I was cruising NetGalley for books to review, and they had a couple of Star Wars books in the mix. This, Crucible was the first. I’d like to tell you what it was about, but I’ll be damned if I can really tell you, despite reading it over the course of a week. Something about mining, and hidden bases, and a way to empower anyone with the Force. It almost felt like someone took elements from other Star Wars content (the hidden base sounds a lot like where Daala’s fleet hid in KJA’s books, the Crucible itself could be heavily inspired by the Valley of the Jedi in the Jedi Knight PC games, etc.) and mashed them together.
Even that, in and of itself, wouldn’t be a problem, but none of the writing seized my attention. Things happened, but none of it felt particularly important. Much of it also didn’t feel true to the characters as we know them. The Star Wars universe should feel vibrant, energetic – Space Opera! – but if you made this book into a movie, I’d feel like every bit would be gray and brown. It’s too bad; Troy Denning has written a lot of books in various shared universes (Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun and Planescape along with Star Wars) but I’d avoid this one.