* This is an exciting adventure story. It opens with a bang when Leia has to use her lightsaber in a barroom brawl.
* That's right, Leia has a lightsaber. She is 64 years old--yay for heroines over age 40--and has been a Jedi for quite some time by this point. Leia is just one of many strong female characters, and the ratio of male and female characters is about equal.
* I like books that portray family relationships. This book includes nice scenes with Luke and his teenage son. We also see Luke & Leia's twin-epathy in action. And there are lots of romantic moments between Han & Leia, who are still happily married in this version of the timeline.
* Crucible has a fun "the gang's all here" vibe. It's very much about the older characters having one last hurrah and then passing the torch to the younger characters.
* Several times in the book we get to see Han play sabacc. I've always wondered how that game is played. The casino scenes in Crucible rival any James Bond casino scene in terms of intrigue and excitement.