Warning: This review may contain minor spoilers.
Many times liking a book or not comes down to personal preference in what types of stories and characters you prefer. Razor’s Edge started at a disadvantage with me. The book was set in an era I normally don’t get excited about and featured a character that is my least favorite of the “Big 3″. I mean I like Leia fine, but I prefer her more as an older Jedi and less as a young politician.
But then I saw the official blurb for the book and noticed something about Alderaanian pirates. Pirates are pretty cool. Maybe this book won’t be so bad after all.
So did Razor’s Edge surprise me or just meet my already low expectations? Well before we get into that let’s look at the official publisher’s summary.
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.
The book starts out very strong throwing us straight into the action with Leia and her crew trying to survive an attack on their ship. It was a thrilling scene and had me excited for where the story was going. Leia was definitely the star of the book with Han also playing a large role. Luke and Chewbacca both show up but definitely have much smaller roles. All of these characters were portrayed as you would expect. The author really did a good job capturing how these characters acted in A New Hope. The only complaint I would have about the characterization of Han and Leia was they came across as a bit arrogant and judgmental.
Here’s an example:
She (Leia) let herself smile faintly, though she was thinking, I hate working with amateurs. Viest knew everything that Metara really wanted now…
Many of their internalized thoughts were about how dumb or inept the characters around them were. We all know that Han and Leia are the smartest people in the room, but it was a bit off-putting how they seemed to think so lowly of the people surrounding them. I would have liked to see a little more respect coming from our hero characters.
And I would have loved to get to know some of these secondary characters a bit better. Throughout the book I never felt an attachment to any characters who weren’t Han and Leia. When I read… I’ll use Mercy Kill as an example, by the end of it, there were at least three new characters who I would love to see in other stories. There were no characters like that in this book. It was almost like the author only wanted Han and Leia to shine so she wrote all other characters to be bland.
The one exception to this would be the pirate flightmaster Viest. She was an intriguing character who I believe was underutilized. She had the look, skills, and gravitas to be a major villain in the Expanded Universe. Her time in the book was very entertaining but I would have liked to see her much more than she was used.
The book started out with a bang but ultimately fizzled as the story went on. Things like a gladiatorial match reminiscent of quidditch and Han Solo taking a ride on a runaway cleaning droid couldn’t keep my interest. Even the reveal near the end of the book was telegraphed and didn’t have the impact I imagine it was meant to have.
At 250 pages Razor’s Edge is a quick read and the story itself was pretty solid. I would have gladly read 100 more pages if it meant more time was spent on rounding out some of these characters and actually making me care about them. A Star Wars book has to really work hard to keep me interested when there are no lightsabers, bounty hunters, or Sith Lords. Unfortunately this book didn’t work quite hard enough.
Random Thoughts and Observations (Spoilers Below)
Fans looking for more diversity in Star Wars books should be happy with this one.
I could have totally done without hearing Leia’s thoughts about Han’s skin and muscles pressed against her.
The pirate lair on the asteroid was pretty awesome. Loved the bar made out of out machinery and giant droid parts.
That whole mineral probe thing that Veist was using to kill people was horrific.
If you want me to care about a character’s death please don’t paint that character as completely useless and inept.
Although I didn’t love this book, I am interested to learn more about the crew of the Aegis. Maybe they will tie into the next couple books in the Empire and Rebellion series.
If nothing else this book gave us some really awesome promotional art.