Science Fiction

Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion: Razor's Edge

Author: Martha Wells

Published By: Del Rey Books

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                So, a new Star Wars book series has hit the market.  Empire and Rebellion sheds light on events between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.  The first novel in the series is called Razor's Edge and features a new mission starring Princess Leia Organa and Han Solo.  I couldn't wait to pick it up.

                Set before they move in to Hoth's Echo Base, Razor's Edge is about a mission to secure supplies for the new base.  Led by Princess Leia Organa, an undercover Alliance vessel named Gamble agrees to meet with a consortium of merchants who are tired of living under the Empire's thumb.  They have agreed to meet with Leia, who hopes that certain supplies can be procured for Echo Base.  Unfortunately, someone within Alliance ranks is a traitor and the Gamble is fired on by Imperials before they can make the meeting.

                Escaping capture, Leia and Han Solo take the Gamble to a new location, Arnot Station, with hopes that they are not too late to meet up with their would-be suppliers.  But when they arrive, they are witness to a pirate ambush on a merchant vessel and something about the pirate ship gives Leia pause.  The ship is Alderaanian and after quick communication with the ship, Leia learns that the people aboard were its original crew, forced to witness Alderaan's destruction by the Death Star

                The crew of the Aegis has been abroad ever since, making their way in the universe as pirates.  Leia, in hopes that she can dissuade the crew from their current career choice, boards the vessel with Han Solo and a couple of trusted Gamble crew members.  But Leia soon finds they have bit off more than they can chew.  The Aegis' new pirate ship modifications have cost her crew a debt to the ruthless leader of a pirates' nest...a Lorrdian with no intention of letting the Aegis out of their deal and every intention on finding out just who this Leia is and why she is so important to the Aegis' crew.

                Despite the action that begins almost from the first page, Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion: Razor's Edge starts off slow.  Despite wanting to know more about my favorite Star Wars characters and their adventures prior to The Empire Strikes Back, I found myself having difficulty getting into this book.  Something seemed out of place and I couldn't put my finger on it exactly.  I still can't.  It's not that Martha Wells doesn't get the characters - they seem believable enough and their thought processes and interactions with one another seem in accordance with everything I've seen in the movies and read in the Expanded Universe. 

                Whatever it is , something is off in this book and it took me a while to become invested in the mission, which should have been interesting.  After all, an Alderaanian battle cruiser turning pirate?  With all the morality of the Alderaanian people, I thought the idea rather intriguing.  And these are the missing adventures of Leia, Han, Luke, Chewbacca, etc. that fans of the Expanded Universe have been clamoring for, right?  And yet...

                Well, it wasn't all a loss.  I mean, I did start getting more interested in the tale by its halfway mark.  I loved the sexual tension between Han and Leia, something that has never really been discussed in the earlier novels (in the "There's no sex in Star Wars!" era).  I also enjoyed the view into Leia's feelings about watching the Death Star blow up Alderaan and her hopes about redeeming this new group of Alderaanians that she never even knew were alive.  I enjoyed the action of the fight pit, despite the fact that it was not a new idea. 

                I also enjoyed the fact that Wells remembered that Luke Skywalker had not yet honed his Force abilities when this story took place.  You never realize just how annoying something like the Force can be when it sends you warning signals, but you have no idea how to narrow them down.  Luke is not the powerful Jedi here and it shows.  Leia's feelings for him and vice versa are also apparent, although not exactly defined as yet.  That's a plus for Wells - making sure she stays within the confines of the time period of this book.

                Is Razor's Edge a must read for Star Wars fans?  At this time, I would say no.  For Star Wars fanatics like myself who want to read everything Star Wars out there, Razor's Edge is a no brainer - we have to read it.  But for your average Star Wars fan who likes to pick and chose, you could probably skip this one for now and see how the Empire and Rebellion novel series plays out.  If it turns out that this book is important, you can always read it then.


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