I was really looking forward to Star Wars: Razor’s Edge for a couple of reasons. First off it’s set between Star Wars (yes I know we’re supposed to call it A New Hope but it was Star Wars when I saw it, and it’s always going to be Star Wars) and Empire Strikes Back. Secondly it’s written by Martha Wells who has written some wonderful original works (my favorite being Wheel of the Infinite).
I have to say that this does not live up to her original works, but as a Star Wars novel it’s a solid entry into the Expanded Universe and also covering territory that isn’t as over-explored as some other areas of the franchise.
The novel’s focal character is Leia Organa, but Han Solo gets a fair amount of face time as well. Luke is present but it’s more of a cameo and he’s really just a background character here. It is interesting to note that while in the Star Wars movies there is a major dearth of female characters, in this book they make up a significant portion of the leadership roles.
The book definitely has the feel of early Star Wars in that things are stacked against the Rebels and the threat of the Empire is sort of everywhere. It’s also a much smaller scale story than many of the books though the consequence for the characters involved would be no less severe.
It was also nice to have something that touched on the aftereffects of Alderaan’s destruction, something which gets brushed aside in the movies due to the pace of the plot.
And yet despite all these largely positive things, I cam away from the book feeling rather flat. Part of the problem I think is that none of the secondary characters really stuck with me. I was still confusing some of the names right up to the end. They just weren’t very deep or distinctive. Something that was particularly obvious when compared to the characterization for Leia and Han.
And of course I knew that Leia and Han were going to survive. So if the other characters haven’t made much of an impression of me, there goes any sense of threat.
I do wonder, if it had been another writer would I be judging this so harshly? It’s hard to say. It’s certainly not bad. Just a bit average. And it felt like the elements were there for something more.
Star Wars: Razor’s Edge will be released on September 24th: http://amzn.to/1bub3ZO