Review of Crucible by Troy Denning

October 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Crucible Star WarsCrucible (Star Wars)
By Troy Denning; Read by Marc Thompson
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 9 July 2013
ISBN: 9780385362924
[UNABRIDGED] – 12 hours, 8 minutes
Listen to an excerpt: | MP3 |

Themes: / Star Wars / Jedi / space / science fiction /

Publisher summary:

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.

Star Wars Crucible takes place after the Fate of the Jedi series and is the furthest in the Star Wars timeline to date. I came to this book without having read Fate of the Jedi but didn’t have any trouble what was going on in the story and Denning explained sufficiently for those of us not in the know. Luke, Han, and Leia are getting pretty old at this point, and this novel seems to represent something of a retirement for them or a passing of the torch to the new generation. Denning plays to the characters’ strengths throughout most of the novel. You can’t have Han getting up to his full antics without a buddy, so a healthy dose of Lando is also in there too. If anyting, I liked how this is a nice standalone Star Wars book from that era of Star Wars instead of being part of some 9+ book series.

The general plot of the story has to do with Luke, Han, and Leia going to visit Lando (the ever present entrepreneur) to help him with problems at his mining operation in the outer rim. Cue the bad guys that can even give Jedi problems and the story gets going. The plot is interesting because it pits the gang against highly intelligent organized crime figures (Qrephs) who have an old grudge to settle. There is an element of Battlestar Galactica in here too because anyone could be working for the bad guys so you don’t know who is a cylon…err…agent of the Qrephs. I liked the novel for the most part except near the climactic battle when things to all trippy and weird like anime (Evangelion I’m looking at you).

Luke and Leia were pretty good in this book but Denning really made Han and Lando fun in this book. Since this takes place so far out and they’ve done so many great things, the characters are pretty well revered by people they encounter in the book. Han and Lando setting up a sabaacc game to draw in competition was definitely fun to go through. The sabaacc time goes kind of heavy into logic and tactics sometimes and really makes it look like Han is stronger in the Luck than Luke is in the Force any day.

As for the audiobook, Marc Thompson does as good a job with this book as any other Star Wars book I’ve listened to. All of the background music, ambient sounds, and special effects you’d expect are there and they do a great job of adding that little bit of extra immersion to the experience. Thompson does a great job impersonating the main cast down to Lando pronouncing “Han” with the ‘a’ instead of ‘o’ sound. I also really liked the stoic and simpering voices he used for the Qrephs.

Posted by Tom Schreck

Recent Arrival: Star Wars: Abyss

August 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: AbyssStar Wars: Fate of the Jedi Book 3: Abyss
By Troy Denning; Read by Marc Thompson
[UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780739376652

|LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT|

Leia looks pretty serious on that cover… something must be amiss.

Following a trail of clues across the galaxy, Luke Skywalker continues his quest to find the reasons behind Jacen Solo’s dark downfall and to win redemption for the Jedi Order. Sojourning among the mysterious Aing-Tii monks has left Luke and his son Ben with no real answers, only the suspicion that the revelations they seek lie in the forbidden reaches of the distant Maw Cluster. There, hidden from the galaxy in a labyrinth of black holes, dwell the Mind Walkers: those whose power to transcend their bodies and be one with the Force is as seductive and intoxicating as it is potentially fatal. But it may be Luke’s only path to the truth.

Meanwhile, on Coruscant, the war of wills between Galactic Alliance Chief of State Natasi Daala and the Jedi Order is escalating. Outraged over the carbonite freezing of young Jedi Knights Valin and Jysella Horn after their inexplicable mental breakdowns, the Jedi are determined to defy Daala’s martial tactics, override Council Master Kenth Hamner’s wavering leadership, and deal on their own terms with the epidemic of madness preying on their ranks. As Han and Leia Solo, along with their daughter Jaina, join the fight to protect more stricken Knights from arrest, Jedi healers race to find a cure for the rapidly spreading affliction. But none of them realize the blaster barrel is already swinging in their direction–and Chief Daala is about to pull the trigger.

Nor do Luke and Ben, deep in the Maw Cluster and pushing their Force abilities beyond known limits, realize how close they are–to the Sith strike squad bent on exterminating the Skywalkers, to a nexus of dark-side energy unprecedented in its power and its hunger, and to an explosive confrontation between opposing wielders of the Force from which only one Master–good or evil–can emerge alive.
 
Posted by Scott D. Danielson

2006 starts with some fine titles: Anne Manx on A…

January 17, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, New Releases 

SFFAudio Header New Releases

2006 starts with some fine titles:

Anne Manx on Amazonia, audio drama from Radio Repertory Company of America, starring Claudia Christian, Pat Tallman, and Barbara Harris
This audio drama is excellent entertainment – a comic book for your ears!

Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries by Jeffrey A. Carver, read by Jonathan Davis, Audio Renaissance, Abridged
In the tradition of Star Trek and Star Wars audiobooks, here’s the first audiobook from the best current show on television.

The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein, read by Patrick Lawlor, Blackstone Audio, Unabridged
Click here to listen to a sample.
Another classic Heinlein novel from Blackstone Audio!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Quandary Phase by Douglas Adams, performed by BBC Radio, Audio Partners
The penultimate Hitchhiker’s radio show.

H.P. Lovecraft Collection – Volume 3 by H.P. Lovecraft, Audio Realms
More Lovecraft from Audio Realms! This one contains “The Horror at Red Hook”, “The Statement of Randolph Carter”, “The Outsider”, and “Herbert West Reanimator”. The first Lovecraft collection from Audio Realms landed on our SFFaudio Essential List.

The Incredible Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson, read by Yuri Rasovsky, Blackstone Audio, Unabridged
Click here to listen to a sample.
A classic novel by Richard Matheson read by the mighty Yuri Rasovsky.

The Sailor on the Seas of Fate by Michael Moorcock, Audio Realms
The second of the original Elric saga from Audio Realms. If quality is half of the first one (Click here for the SFFaudio review of Elric of Melnibone) then this is a must-have.

Star Wars: The Dark Nest III: The Swarm War by Troy Denning, read by Jonathan Davis, Random House Audio, Abridged
The latest in the long-running Star Wars audio series.

Tales of Terror by Edgar Allan Poe, read by various readers, Blackstone Audio, Unabridged
Click here to listen to a sample.
Contains some of Poe’s greats – “The Tell Tale Heart”, “Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, and others.