Review: Wells’ Razor’s Edge is old-fashioned Star Wars

Empire and RebellionRazor’s Edge is the first book of the Empire and Rebellion series but it is, as promised, very much a standalone story.

I found the book to be a bit of a throwback – in a good way. Like Kenobi, it’s a straightforward, streamlined Star Wars story, though this one wouldn’t have been out of place back in the Bantam era… If you look back at it with a warm fuzzy glow that erases most of the silly parts.

Minor spoilers beyond this point.

The book begins with Leia on mission to procure raw materials for Echo Base. The ship is attacked and badly damaged, but they manage to limp to their rendezvous point – only to find a ship there under attack by a former Alderaanian gunship. Leia is eager to find out why the survivors didn’t join up with the Rebellion… But they’ll only agree to talk to her if she comes on board. A small party (including Han) goes over, and then things get complicated.

Empire and Rebellion: Razor's EdgeThis is very much Leia and Han’s book, although Luke and Chewbacca do make an appearance. Given this isn’t long before The Empire Strikes Back, the tension between Han and Leia is mostly understated… Save for a single blatantly transparent scene where they have to have a private discussion in a very small space, because of course. Aside from that, however, the book is very much plot and action driven – and Leia is far from the only woman in the mix.

But there is plenty going on in terms of action and plot, a decent spread of original characters, a challenging villain for Leia and an interesting setting in the form of a ex-mine/pirate clearinghouse, with a lurking threat of who’s betrayed the Rebels.

I was expecting/hoping for at least a little more about Alderaani culture, though the tidbit that they had some form of a defense is new to me. I can understand why they would chose not to elaborate further – more room for Rebels or something else on the possibilities list – but alas.

The Imperials and their spy, once revealed, both edge a bit on the Snidely Whiplash end of the scale, but considering the era, well… Just chalk it up to tradition.

Overall, Razor’s Edge is a solid Star Wars book. I suspect Han/Leia fans, who have been pretty burned by the Expanded Universe in the past, will like it quite a bit… But there’s plenty here for everyone to enjoy. Don’t believe me? Try the first fifty pages for yourself. Razor’s Edge will be out on September 24.

Grade: B

Review posted early with permission from Del Rey/Random House, who provided a copy of the book for review. The Empire and Rebellion series continues in March with James S.A. Corey’s Honor Among Thieves.

19 Replies to “Review: Wells’ Razor’s Edge is old-fashioned Star Wars”

  1. Looking forward to reading it, didn’t realise reviews could be posted do early, would have got stuck in and done the same myself!
    Sounds like a great read, it’s the perfect era for the classic Han and Leia banter.

  2. FYI: The only reason I posted this early is because I was asked to by Del Rey/Random House. I generally wouldn’t before the release date, though some have put theirs up the night before.

    Hell, I’d probably still be reading it at this point, usually.

  3. Wow, I couldn’t disagree more. I eagerly await reviewing this for our podcast, as I have a feeling that, from the rumblings I’m getting from other early reviewers, we may be a lone voice of dissent on this one.

  4. No, Nathan, I’m with you. I found this book to be a slight disappointment. Not horrible, but just milquetoast.

  5. So looking forward to this…I feel that Han’s been a bit shortchanged in recent books…like since NJO. Why does Leia’s outfit on the cover look out-of-character-ly sexy?

  6. Zannah, I have no idea about Leia’s outfit. It always struck me as out-of-character and I’m surprised there hasn’t been an uproar over this given all the flack Mara Jade’s outfit gets. Regardless, rest assured that this book doesn’t demean Leia’s character :)

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