Martha Wells' Razor's Edge was published by Del Rey in September 2013.
Information about Martha Wells:
Martha Wells is the author of five Ile-Rien novels (The Element of Fire, The Death of the Necromancer, The Wizard Hunters, The Ships of Air and The Gate of Gods), Books of the Raksura trilogy (The Cloud Roads, The Serpent Sea and The Siren Depths), City of Bones, Wheel of the Infinite, Emilie and the Hollow World and two Stargate Atlantis novels (Stargate Atlantis: Reliquary and Stargate Atlantis: Entanglement). She has also written short stories and non-fiction articles.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
Information about Razor's Edge:
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.
A REVIEW OF MARTHA WELLS' RAZOR'S EDGE
Martha Wells' Razor's Edge is the first book of the Empire and Rebellion series. Two more books (Honor Among Thieves by James S. A. Corey and a currently untitled book by Kevin Hearne) will be published in the near future. The protagonist of Razor's Edge is Princess Leia Organa.
Several Star Wars books have been published over the years, but most of them aren't connected to the original Star Wars setting or are only loosely connected to it. I've noticed that many of the new Star Wars books have moved too far away from this original setting, which is the core of Star Wars franchise. Razor's Edge is fortunately faithful to the original setting and original characters. This is wonderful, because the old and familiar characters are the best characters. It's easy to say that Martha Wells has put the series back on the right track by writing about Leia and other familiar characters.
Before I write more about Razor's Edge, I'll mention that I haven't read many Star Wars books, because I've been badly disappointed by their quality. I admit that I'm a bit prejudiced when it comes to media tie-in literature, because most media tie-in books tend to be mediocre books and are not worth reading. Fortunately there are books like Razor's Edge out there that remind critical readers that media tie-in books can be worth reading when they've been written well.
When I first heard that Martha Wells is going to write a Star Wars book, I became excited about the forthcoming book, because I thought that she might be able to write a Star Wars book that is worth reading. My instincts were correct and I was positively surprised by this book. In my honest opinion Martha Wells has written an entertaining and old-fashioned Star Wars book that centers around Princess Leia.
Here's a bit of information about the story:
The events in Razor's Edge take place during the Rebellion era. At the beginning of the book Leia, Han and other members of the crew are on a secret mission, but an Imperial corvette intercepts their ship. A spy has leaked information to the Imperials about their ship and they're forced to escape. When they arrive near a space station, they receive a call from a ship (the Aegis) that is under attack. When Princess Leia notices that the ship is an Alderaanian ship, she decides to investigate the ship and its crew. She goes aboard the ship with a couple of members of her crew and meets Metara. Soon Leia finds out what's going on...
That's all I'll write about the plot, because I don't want to write too many spoilers. I can only mention that this is the beginning of an exciting and action-filled adventure. (Razor's Edge is one of those books that are best read when you know as little about the plot and happenings as possible, because it's full of action.)
In the foreword Martha Wells mentions that she's a Star Wars fan. It's easy to see how much she loves the original movies, because she writes richly and intensely about Princess Leia and the other characters and pays attention to details.
Martha Wells has always had a talent for good characterization, because she writes fluently about her characters and their actions. In Razor's Edge she demonstrates how well she writes about Princess Leia and her feelings. Leia is described as a realistic and believable person who has worries and feels stressed. Leia isn't a perfect heroine, because she's human and she has her own flaws. She has a temper and she's worried and stressed, but she tries to act cool. It's easy for a reader to see how all the things that the characters have experienced have affected her and how determined she is to help the rebels (fans will easily notice that Martha Wells paints a vivid image of Leia and shows how she uses her diplomatic skills and fights for what she believes).
Although the author mostly concentrates on writing about Leia, there are also other characters (Han, Luke, Chewbacca, Metara etc) in this book and they all have a role to play in the story. Their characterization is handled well, but I especially enjoyed the way the author wrote about Han. She described him as the loveable scoundrel we all know from the movies, which was nice.
The author writes a lot about Leia and Han, but she also writes about Luke. I think I'd better not reveal much about Luke's part in the story, but I'll mention that readers will be delighted to read about him at the end of the book.
It's good that Martha Wells hasn't forgotten how Princess Leia feels about Han Solo, because their relationship is one of the most interesting aspects of the movies. She writes about how Leia feels about Han and his actions etc in a fluent way and also handles well the slowly developing attraction that Leia and Han feel towards each other. In my opinion she fully understands these characters and why they do the things they do. This can be seen in her writing and that's one of the reasons why this book is better and more enjoyable than several other Star Wars books.
I also enjoyed reading about how Martha Wells wrote about the Alderaanian Metara. One of the best scenes including Metara is the scene in which Leia finds out what Metara has done and how she tries to justify her actions to others. Metara is a good supporting character and her dialogues with Leia are well written. The author is at her best in scenes like this, because they're perfectly nuanced scenes and the characters act believably in them.
At this point I must mention that the author hasn't forgotten the existence of C-3PO and R2-D2. It's very nice that they're part of the book, because they're interesting droids.
The story moves fast forward and there are plenty of action scenes that will keep readers glued to the book. It was interesting to read what happens to Leia and her friends as the story begins to move forward, because the action scenes were genuinely exciting. I have to admit that it's a bit amazing how well the author keeps the action going strong and doesn't lose sight of what's going on. She writes enthusiastically about the escapes, battles, pirates, rebels and droids etc, so there aren't any dull moments in this book. I was surprised by how many action scenes there were in this book, but I enjoyed reading about them.
There are several good moments in this book. Because the events of this book take place between Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the characters are still new to each other and haven't gotten to know one another as well as they will later on. This adds a nice element of freshness to the book.
This book doesn't actually reveal anything new about the characters, but that isn't a bad thing, because the author has concentrated on writing about what the characters do. This kind of storytelling allows the readers and fans of Star Wars movies to fully enjoy the story, because they won't be disappointed by sudden revelations that might make them change their minds about the characters.
As you may have already guessed, the strengths of this book lie in good characterization, character interaction and strong story. Considering that this book is a relatively short and action filled book, the author has done her best to make the story as interesting as possible by writing about how Leia struggles with her feelings and how she tries to do her best under difficult circumstances (in my honest opinion she has succeeded in it).
Because this book is a sci-fi adventure book, it's understandable that there isn't much depth in it. There's depth in the characterization, but otherwise it's a bit difficult to find depth in this book. It's the only flaw that's worth mentioning. Fortunately it's an acceptable flaw, because there's seldom depth in adventure books. When talking about a Star Wars book one should always remember that they're pure entertainment and aren't supposed be taken seriously, because there are plenty of escapes, battles and also humour in them (all these elements can be found in this book).
I almost forgot to mention that Martha Wells has created a thrilling atmosphere in Razor's Edge. The escape and action scenes will keep the readers turning pages (when I began to read this book, I couldn't stop reading it, because I had to find out what happens to the characters at the end of the book).
After reading this book I can honestly say that a good and talented author matters a lot in media tie-in literature. If another author had written this book, it would've probably been weaker in terms of characterization and atmosphere. Because Martha Wells writes good science fiction, stays true to the original Star Wars characters and brings the story to life, it was a pleasure to read this book. (One of the reasons why I like this book is that I enjoyed reading about the original characters, because I've been fascinated by them ever since I first saw the original movie trilogy.)
Because Razor's Edge is a Star Wars book, readers should be familiar with certain things that have happened to the characters, because otherwise it may be a bit difficult to understand what's going on. It's possible that readers who aren't familiar with the Star Wars movies and books will be able to read and enjoy this book, but it's good to know at least something about the characters before reading this book (if you're a newcomer to Star Wars books, you'll easily find information about the original characters and other characters from the internet).
I'll also mention briefly that The Star Wars Novels Timeline section at the beginning of the book may be helpful to newcomers and also to fans. I think it's also good to mention that there are two excerpts from other Star Wars books at the end of the book. The first excerpt is from James S. A. Corey's forthcoming Honor Among the Thieves and the second excerpt is from Joe Schreiber's Maul: Lockdown.
If you happen to be as prejucided about Star Wars books and media tie-in books as I am, you'll be pleasantly surprised by this book, because it offers action packed entertainment and good characterization for Star Wars fans. This book is a positive reading experience for everybody who loves Star Wars. (By the way, this book made me want to watch the original movie trilogy again. I think that it'll have the same effect on several other readers too.)
Before I write the final words of this review, I'll mention that when I read this book, I thought to myself that it would be nice if the author would one day write an original science fiction book, because I think that she could write an entertaining and exciting book that would captivate several readers.
Razor's Edge is a well written and fast-paced Star Wars book that will please fans of the original movie trilogy. I can recommend this book to all Star Wars fans, because it's full of action and interesting happenings. I can also recommend it to other readers, because it's a fun sci-fi romp with almost non-stop action and good characterization. On the scale from one to five stars, I give this book full four stars for being an entertaining Star Wars book.
My final words are: Razor's Edge is excellent and exciting Star Wars fiction!