Book Review: Razor’s Edge

  • Author: Martha Wells
  • 350 pages
  • Published in 2014
  • EU/Legends
  • Placement in Timeline: Between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back

What It’s About:

Princess Leia and Han Solo are leading a delegation to Arnot Station to make a deal to purchase vital supplies for a new secret base. But en route their ship, The Gamble, is attacked by pirates. It turns out these pirates are actually survivors of the destruction of Alderaan, and have turned to piracy to survive. Leia wants to help them and possibly recruit them to the Alliance. But there are two problems: the refugees blame the Alliance for the destruction of their planet; and they’re in debt to a ruthless pirate armada led by a Lorrdian woman named Viest.

Leia and Han, along with some of the Gamble’s crew, travel to the pirates’ “clearinghouse”, located on an old mining asteroid, to try to rescue the traders they were meeting that have been taken prisoner, and to get Metara–the Alderaanian pirate crew captain–out of her bind with Viest. What follows is a game of cat and mouse, daring plans and escapes, and even a Mad Max-type of “game” involving Leia and Metara. On top of this, there are Imperial spies to be mindful of, and the involvement of Luke and Chewie to try to get them out of there.

My Thoughts:

I had some high hopes for this book, considering it contained my favorite characters from the Original Trilogy–Leia, Han, Chewie, and Luke, but specifically Leia. And while her character didn’t disappoint, the story kind of did a little. What I realized is that I’m not particularly interested in space pirate activity in the galaxy far, far away. A little bit here and there is fine, but a whole novel about pirates and smugglers is more than I can focus on. My interest in the story began to wane towards the middle of the book. Once I got through it, it got a bit more interesting and I plowed on through to the end.

I felt like the action just never stopped to take a breather right from the opening scene, and while some people like that, it tends to exhaust me. One crisis after another after another after another to the point of ridiculousness, one plan after another, one deal after another, one subterfuge after another, got to be too much. But that’s just me. Maybe I’m just dumb, but all the players and their agendas–the rebels, the traders, the pirates, the smugglers, the spies, the Imperials–was convoluted and confusing to me. And the endless but necessary descriptions of the mining asteroid they were on made my eyes glaze over.

What I did like about the book is the flirty interplay between Han and Leia, which makes sense since it leads up to their romance in The Empire Strikes Back. All of the familiar characters were well written and clearly understood by the author, although I do wish Luke and Chewie had a larger part to play in the story. They did have key parts in the plot, but not enough for me.

I did find it a stretch to believe that a group of surviving Alderaanians–from a staunchly pacifist planet–had blamed the Alliance for Alderaan’s destruction (and not the Empire? Or rather, both) and went into a life of crime to survive. They were all rather annoying.

The events of Razor’s Edge–like a lot of the more recent Legends books–don’t necessarily contradict canon, and I do like that about this book. I don’t have to compartmentalize “canon” and “alternative universe Legends” into two different parts of my brain. This story can seamlessly take its place in my “brain canon”.

If you like lots of action, are interested in the politics of pirates and smugglers, love intrigue and double-crosses, and love the OT characters, you’ll love this book.

If you’re more interested in character development and more of a balance between action and other storytelling, this isn’t for you.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Lightsabers

Here’s some art for Razor’s Edge that I discovered!–

Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge – Princess Leia
Leia in Razor’s Edge, by Magali Villenueve

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