September 18, 2013

Review: Star Wars Empire and Rebellion: Razor's Edge

Razor's Edge is the first installment of Del Rey's Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion series. The books take place in the original trilogy era and the events in Martha Well's Razor's Edge occur in between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes back. Even though it is part of a series, it's a stand-alone story focusing on Princess Leia. Yes, that's awesome.

Check out my spoiler-free review below.


Razor's Edge is pretty much all Leia all the time which is as fabulous as it sounds. And in my opinion, it's in the sweet spot as far as the timeline. We get to spend time with a Leia who has helped build the Rebellion, who has had her home planet obliterated, who has assisted in the destruction of the Death Star, and who has the weight of a galaxy on her shoulders. Because of Well's wonderful interpretation of the Princess, I feel like I've seen Leia in a new way.

Leia is in the midst of a mission to help the Alliance secure supplies for their new Echo Base home. She's accompanied by Han as well as some new faces. Things are going smoothly, but you know that's never a good sign. Plans go awry and a fun and entertaining plot ensues.

I found a lot to enjoy in Razor's Edge. I've just barely dipped into the Expanded Universe on the books side (I've read around 7-10 from various series), but this is the Leia I always wanted to hang out with. She's well rounded and none of it is forced or stereotypical. And even better? She's far from the only female in the book.

She's surrounded by a diverse crew, allies, and opponents, and it just so happens many of them are also ladies. It's probably sad that I have to call this out, but from what I've read in Star Wars and in science fiction in general, this isn't so common I can go without remarking on it. The skills and traits of the supporting cast are also different and at no point did I feel the "insert strong female character here" template that happens more often than it should in media.

Initially I was a little concerned Han was in the book because I worried he would steal scenes. He gets some time in the spotlight, but he doesn't take it away from Leia. They have some wonderful exchanges that made me hear Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford's voices in my head.

Finally, the tone is spot on. The story felt adventurous and had the same cadence as the original trilogy films. It made me happy.

Overall, Razor's Edge is an engaging book that showcases Princess Leia's skills and personality in a new way fans of the character will appreciate. It's got Leia in a variety of situations which highlight her quick thinking, humor (I love Leia's sarcasm so very much), ability to kick butt (not in a Pepper Potts suddenly knowing martial arts in Iron Man 3 sort of way either - realistic fighting), and more. I especially appreciate seeing her diplomatic skills in action without the story even leaning towards boring. You don't have to rely on my word - check out the first 50 pages of the book over at Del Rey Spectra.

Razor's Edge is available on September 24th! Pre-order it on Amazon now.

Note: Razor's Edge was provided to me free of charge by Del Rey for review purposes.

5 comments:

  1. Eek, I can't wait until it comes out! I read the preview chapter at the end of Kenobi and it's definitely got me hooked.

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  2. I thought it was pretty fantastic myself. I haven't read a lot of the EU books, generally I'm not that interested in the story outside of the original trilogy timeline, so it was great to get a new book in that timeline and have it be such a fun book. I felt like she built on Leia's character by examining her feelings about Alderaan with the pirates that she came across and I liked the little glimpses into her feelings at that time about Han and Luke. Wells did make it easy to hear the actor's voices in these roles.

    Looking forward to the James S.A. Corey book.

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    1. I'm digging the idea of these more stand-alone books, since like you I don't read a ton of EU.

      Did you check out Kenobi?

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    2. No, but I probably should. As a stand-alone it actually sounds very interesting.

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