Star Wars: Razor's Edge

Star Wars: Razor's Edge, Empire and Rebellion #1

Times are desperate for the Rebel Alliance. Harassment by the Empire and a shortage of vital supplies are hindering completion of a new secret base on the ice planet Hoth. So when Mid Rim merchants offer much-needed materials for sale, Princess Leia Organa and Han Solo lead an Alliance delegation to negotiate a deal.

But when treachery forces the rebel ship to flee into territory controlled by pirates, Leia makes a shocking discovery: the fierce marauders come from Leia’s homeworld of Alderaan, recently destroyed by the Death Star. These refugees have turned to pillaging and plundering to survive—and they are in debt to a pirate armada, which will gladly ransom the princess to the vengeful Empire . . . if they find out her true identity.

Struggling with intense feelings of guilt, loyalty, and betrayal, Leia is determined to help her wayward kinspeople, even as Imperial forces are closing in on her own crippled ship. Trapped between lethal cutthroats and brutal oppressors, Leia and Han, along with Luke, Chewbacca, and a battle-ready crew, must defy death—or embrace it—to keep the rebellion alive.

Star Wars is a theme in Science Fiction that just cannot fail. I think that everyone has heard of this magnus opus one time or another and you either love it or hate, well I am one of the former ones. I do have to admit that I have only read one genre book before Razor's Edge, but that aside I did love it a lot! Century books an imprint of Cornerstone (Penguin Random House) is publishing more and more Star Wars themed books and Razor's Edge is the latest and also kicks off a new and exciting series set after the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The first book in the series is written by Nebula award winner Martha Wells, this is also her first foray into the Star Wars universe and I must say that she does a remarkable job.  

The focus in Razor's Edge is on Princess Leia. From the opening till the ending, she is in the spotlight. What I could make out of her character in the movies is exactly shown in this book. She is a confident and strong protagonist. You might say that Martha Wells had an easy job translating this role but I think it took a lot more effort that you or I can imagine. Though Princess Leia is an established character she still has to interact with different characters and with the world itself. Princess Leia is torn with the destruction of her home planet Alderaan by the Death Star and her hatred against the Empire has only been fueled more. Together with her good friend Han Solo they are trying to best the Empire by less savory means, Han Solo, scoundrel and charmer has some connections in the special trading circuits. But soon Leia and her friends of the Alliance have to fend off perhaps more than they had thought. What first seemed like a task of writing a small wrong soon turns out to be a whole pirate operation with a deadly opponent able to read our heroes actions in the blink of an eye. 

I must say that I was very impressed with how Martha Wells had constructed her story. The whole scenes between Episode I and Episode VI have been created, and writing a story within an established scene can be a daunting task since you can not invent anything new because that is impossible to be followed up. With creating this "side-mission" in Razor's Edge Martha Wells has had some free reign to really show off her creativeness. The strengths of Razor's Edge were for me the characterization and the mainly emotional side that was explored. Like I already mentioned above Leia makes up for a strong protagonist, however as she does her best to draw the story readily forward there is some support by other characters like Hand Solo, Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca. Martha Wells really manages to show of Leia's character in an almost thorn kind of way, on one hand she want to fight the Empire but for me it seems that she doesn't know how to really go about such a enormous task and even more she is grieving about the destruction of her home planet. With writing about Leia's character, Martha Wells made her just that more complex and interesting than the movies alone. From the secondary characters mainly here Han Solo makes a much more defined entrance than Luke of Chewbacca. It was great to see that Han also had a great emphasis on his character, you can clearly see that he is still the uncaged bid but that he knows where he true heart lies and that is with the Rebel Alliance even more-so it was good to see that the relation between Leia and Han had some flirting going on, though not the obvious kind but more the bickering not giving in kind, exactly what you want to see. Luke and Chewbacca play a minor role in Razor's Edge but you still see the plans lining up for them that we will undoubtedly see explored as the series delves deeper in the Star Wars universe.  

The action in Razor's Edge, has an emphasis on shoot outs and Rebel fighting, yes Luke makes an appearance but there isn't lightsaber action. Though I have to admit that with every Star Wars book/movie or videogame I like to hear the lightsabers sing. However for Razor's Edge the story was on Princess Leia and her companions of the Rebel Alliance it. With this in the back of my mind about the story I didn't miss the lightsaber action at all. All the action that takes place on the pirate ship and in deep space itself is written with a rapid pace and felt like you were right there besides Leia and Han. It might not be flashy cinematic action but taken on the perfect characterization and narration it worked just spot on. 

Razor's Edge is an exciting new start of a Star Wars series, that will leave you wanting more. Martha Wells shows that she knows her Star Wars lore and shows a great interplay of events after Star Wars IV A New Hope. With the focus on Princess Leia, Martha Wells shows how strong Leia actually is and for me this was the first time reading a Star Wars story with a female lead and I have to say I really, really enjoyed it. Razor's Edge is based on the real chracters of the original movies: Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, C3PO R2D2 and a few more, I enjoyed seeing them in a different light than the movies. Defintitely a recommendation for every Star Wars fan! And let's see how James S.A. Corey will take this great start further in Honor Among Thieves this spring.


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