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Razor's Edge: Star Wars Legends (Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion) by [Wells, Martha]
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Razor's Edge: Star Wars Legends (Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion) Kindle Edition


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Length: 386 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

When rebels clash with renegades, it’s the Empire that may claim the final victory.

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] rollicking Star Wars adventure . . . a book that keeps you eagerly turning pages.”—Roqoo Depot


From the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6297 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (24 September 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CGI3J4S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #851,945 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By Samrosie TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 April 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
A story with Leia and Han Solo set before TESB
Written by one of my favourite authors (WHERE is The Fall of Ile-Rien series on Amazon.com.au?)
Enjoyable tale
Much better than the too- many books set in the future of the Galaxy far far away (and now voided by the new Disney ownership anyway)
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars solid action story, but lacks depth 24 September 2013
By Arnold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Razor's Edge has been billed as a book about Princess Leia Organa during the Original Trilogy era. As such, I think the most important question I asked myself after finishing this book is whether or not I learned something new about Leia as a character. After all, I think one of the justifications for the Empire & Rebellion series is that we get books focused on the Big Three during the Original Trilogy era. I'm not sure I have a great answer to that question. I enjoyed the book overall, but thought it definitely would have benefitted from more character moments.

First, it's worth mentioning the setup, although I will not reveal spoilers beyond the first few chapters. Leia, Han, and other members of the Rebel Alliance are on a secret mission to procure resources for Echo Base when an Imperial corvette intercepts their ship based on a tip from a spy. They manage to escape to a nearby space station when they receive a distress call from a ship attacked by pirates. Leia is initially reluctant to get involved until she realizes that the pirate ship is Alderaanian. Feeling an obligation to investigate the actions of her fellow Alderaanians, Leia goes aboard the Alderaanian pirate ship. However, the Alderaanian pirate ship is forced back to the pirate base. Trouble and action ensue.

Broadly speaking, there were two things I liked about Leia's character development in Razor's Edge. First, I really appreciate that Martha Wells shows us the toll that Leia's leadership role in the Rebel Alliance takes on her personally. Leia is a strong character and always quick to take charge of a situation. But it's also clear that it's stressful. We see Leia become irritated and tire. Not only does this make her a more well-rounded, realistic character, but we also begin to understand why she'd become so irritable by Empire Strikes Back. Whereas in A New Hope she was youthful and idealistic, by Empire she has clearly grown. While I don't think the plot of the story actually did much to develop this point farther, we do get hints in the narration and Leia's own thoughts that help us show where the character is emotionally.

Razor's Edge also depicts Leia's reaction to the destruction of Alderaan better than any other EU source I can recall. It's not simply that Leia is sad or mourns for the survivors (which is pretty standard fare and pretty boring). As a former princess of the royal household, she suffers from survivor's guilt. Moreover, we see her face the accusation that Alderaan's affiliation with the Rebels led to its destruction. Very early in the book, we see Leia taking a greater and greater burden on her shoulders, especially when it comes to Alderaanians. She feels responsible for the fate of Alderaanians, wherever they might be. She also feels like she has to have faith in her people. The beginning of the book depicts this brilliantly as she takes an almost evangelical interest in redeeming a group of pirate Alderaanians. It's probably one of the better character dilemmas in a Star Wars novel.

Martha Wells also makes the romance between Han and Leia more realistic. We see quite a bit of awkward sexual tension between the characters. In a few cases, Wells switches quite quickly between points of view, so we get to see both Han and Leia's reactions. It's a nice way to show how they keep missing signals. Some of the scenes are funny without being goofy. I love how Han takes an almost perverse pleasure in seeing Leia furious. My favorite moment was right before a battle we see Han and Leia split up into different units, with the each feeling that he/she needed something more from the other.

Unfortunately, I felt the book missed a lot of opportunities to enrich Leia's character. Aside from the Alderaanian connection - admittedly important - there was nothing about the plot that required Leia to be the protagonist. The pirate Alderaanians was a neat way to explore parts of Leia's character, but it's soon overtaken by the rest of the story of "escape from the pirates." About a third of the way in I felt like Leia was fulfilling the role of any general Star Wars hero. In fact, it almost felt like something out of Brian Daley's Han Solo Trilogy than something I'd expect from a book about Leia. There's nothing wrong with Leia taking a starring turn as an action hero, but aside from a few brief moments the story felt a bit disconnected from her character journey. It just felt like an odd setup for the character.

Part of the problem is that Wells uses an odd story structure. About halfway through the book, the action picks up and the resolution to the story begins and doesn't slow down. Some things happened much earlier than I expected them to. There really isn't anywhere during which the characters - and the readers - can rest during the middle of the book. Maybe there was just too much to wrap up with both the Imperials and pirates in the story. Maybe Wells just had too many ideas and couldn't fit them all in. I definitely felt like a few characters were built up but not used nearly as extensively as I'd expected. The best analogy is a roller coaster that, halfway through the ride, starts going up and up and up faster and faster and faster without going down or slowing down.

All this means we don't see enough of the slower, character-building moments that made the Han-Leia relationship in Empire Strikes Back so compelling. It's a shame because I would think that Star Wars novels would be the ideal place to slow things down and allow readers to dig deeper into the characters. For example, rather than a throwaway line about Leia's antislavery advocacy as a Senator, why not have her engage in a deep discussion with another character about how she became so invested in the issue, reactions from other senators, etc.

There were so many places in the book where I wanted to see more of Leia convincing people with whom she disagreed. Something more like the brilliant scenes in Timothy Zahn's Dark Force Rising in which Leia has to convince the Noghri to abandon the Empire. What worked so beautifully in those scenes is that we got to see Leia as a strong leader and diplomat and Zahn kept the focus on where it belonged, on the dialogue. Leia used her brain, not brawn. Imagine how cheap it would have felt if Zahn had resolved the Noghri situation with Leia blasting the Imperial garrison on the planet.

The Alderaanians never go away of course, but I felt it became more of a subplot or background than the main theme of the book. In fact, dealing with the Alderaanians almost became too easy and as if everybody fell into line a bit too quickly. I think part of the problem might have been that, except for the captain Metara, none of the Alderaanian characters really felt substantial enough to have any disagreements with Leia. Maybe if the Alderaanian crew had been a bit more developed or if there had been more friction between Leia and the Alderaanians the subplot wouldn't have felt submerged later in the book.

It makes me wonder if Wells struggled with a page limit here. I'd imagine with complete freedom Wells could have used all sorts of neat storytelling devices to explore Leia's character without risking continuity violations. I for one would love to have seen flashback scenes from Leia's time in the Senate interwoven into this story. For example, rather than just a brief snippet of dialogue telling us about Leia's antislavery advocacy, we could have had a flashback showing what she did. However, as it stands, Razor's Edge is a pretty packed book. Wells sets up two threats, the Imperials and pirates, and Leia needs to resolve both. There isn't a lot of fat on the story in general - events happen that need to happen in order to reach the conclusion. I have no evidence, but I wouldn't be surprised if DelRey had set a page limit on this book and the other Empire & Rebellion books.

Finally, a small point about the Imperial spy. It's so bloody obvious who it is! I won't spoil it here, but astute readers will suspect somebody fairly early on. It's a shame because it just makes the other characters look dumber than they actually are. Again, to raise the Zahn comparison, the "spy" in The Last Command was something that came as a shock to me at the end, even though rereading the books I noticed little hints. Not so here. Not every Imperial spy has to be brilliant or subtle, but I just felt the payoff was too small for what began as such a big mystery.

Overall, this is pretty solid Star Wars fare. I suspect Leia fans - including myself - will be pleased but also perhaps left wanting more. I do feel that I know a bit more about Leia as a character, but also wish we'd gotten to see other sides to her aside from her action hero role.

3.5 out of 5 stars.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic tale set in a classic era 24 September 2013
By NLA - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
When Razor's Edge was first announced I thought "Oh great another big three novel, like we don't have enough of those already.", but when I saw who was writing it, I found that my lack of enthusiasm was immediately upended. I have read Martha Wells' books before and was a huge fan of her work in the Stargate Atlantis franchise. I know her to be a very good writer with a great understanding of the characters she writes. She is also a writer capable of writing big, meaningful stories. And here, with Razor's Edge, she doesn't disappoint.

In Razor's Edge, Leia carries the bulk of the book's story, and even though Martha Wells is painted into a corner story wise(limited by events before and after the book's story), she finds a way to make Leia's story compelling and entertaining. After the destruction of Alderaan, Leia is burdened with the memory of the Empire's crime against her home-world, but when a group of Alderaanian military refugees attacks a merchant vessel, she must leap into action to fix the injustices committed by her fellow Alderaanians. Pinned against a powerful pirate with an extraordinary ability to read her opponents, Leia is forced to jump through hoops to free those indentured into a life of servitude. But even as the lives hang in the balance, she must also complete her original mission to acquire much needed supplies for the rebellion.

Han, too, plays a large part in making these criminal acts right, but where Leia focuses her talents on finding a peaceful, diplomatic way to correcting these wrongs, Han chooses a more direct approach. In the book Martha Wells takes Han on a much more gritty adventure, full of death-defying action and suspenseful interactions with cutthroat machinery and vial villainy. But Martha Wells doesn't portray Han in bloody knuckle combat alone, she pushes a storyline that solidifies Han's commitment to the rebel cause and pins him against those who don't trust him. In the end we see doubters begin to see Han in a new light, and we see others pay dearly for their own lack of loyalty.

With the events of Episode IV still fresh on the minds of our galactic heroes it should be no surprise that Luke has his own burden to bear. And even though Luke is not a large part of the book's overall tale, he does play a huge part near the book's finale. Faced against the forces of the evil Empire, Luke must find a way to combat those wishing the death of his friends while balancing his oath to the Force.

And this is where Martha Wells' creativity and understanding of the characters comes into play. With Leia we see her focus spent on redeeming her fellow Alderaanians, Han fighting to free slaves held by pirates(much like he did with Chewie's enslavement), and Luke featured in his ongoing fight against the Emperor's army. As we read the book we find that Martha Wells is not only creating a fun tromp for the big three, but she's painting a picture of who these characters are at their core and what their main driving force is.

Even though Razor's Edge is a good book, it does have a feel that may turn some readers off. The vast majority of Star Wars books begin a little slow and gradually build to a climactic end, but here in Razor's Edge we see nonstop action with peaks and valleys that break up the scenes, much like in Episode IV during the Death Star scenes.

In the end we find that the book is a morality play played out in the Star Wars universe, and given the book takes place before the Force becomes a major player, a morality play is fitting.

A good book that could have been great but for the immovable wall of Episode V that keeps the story caged.

Four, big, stars.

*I received this book in ARC (Advanced Review Copy) in exchange for an honest review.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Episode IV.2 1 February 2014
By Pop Bop - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The good news is that this particular book is set immediately after the events portrayed in "Star Wars IV: A New Hope" and before the action of "Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back". It is easily one of the most recognizable and comfortably satisfying of the "inbetween" Star Wars novels.

By rough count there are at least 380 adult novels, young adult books, and eBooks that are set in the Star Wars universe. (This doesn't count short stories or comics.) About 200 of these cover events that predate the movie "Star Wars IV: A New Hope". That is the movie in which the Death Star is destroyed, and this battle, called the Battle of Yavin, is used in the Star Wars timelines to mark prior eras (BBY -Before the Battle of Yavin, and ABY - After the Battle of Yavin).

This matters because there are sort of three different sets of Star Wars books - 200 books that are set BBY, about 60 set between movies IV and VI, and about 120 set after the current end of the movie series. As you might imagine, the characters, settings and plots placed far before or after the Battle of Yavin are very different from what you might remember from the movies, and readers can be disappointed when a Star Wars book they pick has no recognizable, to them, characters or plots.

Not to worry here. Everyone is back, but this is Leia's book. She and Han Solo feel so right that the book reads almost like the script for deleted scenes from the two movies, or a treatment for a fill-in movie that was never made. I grew up just as these movies were being released and I have crystal clear memories of each character and each scene. I can pop the gang into my head as though they just appeared yesterday. Reading this book I get the same effect.

And that is a great testament to the skill of the author. While it takes talent, obviously, to write any Star Wars book, it takes a high degree of nerve and skill to pull off a story featuring the most iconic characters in the most widely remembered movie settings. Even more, this book really expands and deepens the Leia character; so much so that after you read this book you will appreciate "Star Wars V" in a new and richer way. How's that for a nice payoff.

In any event, this is certainly a nice addition for a completist and a nice treat for a more casual fan. O.K. by me.

Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars May the Force Be With Us 1 November 2013
By Noname - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have never been more disappointed in a Star Wars novel. If it were any other novel, I would have put it down after the first few pages. Instead, I plowed through it, making mental arguments through every sentence on every page. There was so much wrong, I don't even know where to start.

Leia is a wonderful character. What an idea to explore her story after the destruction of Alderaan. Beware, this Leia is not the Leia we all know and love. There is so much emphasis on her royal status, and she's so full of herself, I couldn't stand it. Risk the lives of her crew to convince a bunch of pirates (poor lost souls) to change sides? Then, risk everyone's lives to save a bunch of hostages with no better plan than to lie? And of course, everyone is shocked that she planned to lie, because of course rebel spies never do, especially royal rebel spies. This would work, because a villain like Viest would never suspect a lie. What a wonderful plan!

The author makes Han say things like "Your Worship" and "Your Holiness" all over the book, as if to prove she saw the movies. His character is entirely two-dimensional and doesn't feel like him anymore than Leia feels like Leia.

They of course have sexual tension, but in this case, it's laughable. I've never seen anything so bluntly written, as if it was part of a comedy. Come to think of it, everything is bluntly written. I'm almost expecting the villainous laugh coming from the Degoren. Maybe not, as the author explains how evil Vader is (as if we don't already know).

The narrative is in torturous detail, as we find out about things we don't ever need to know. Readers will never feel the characters' emotions. We are told exactly how they feel. It's especially annoying when what we're told clashes severely with the mood of the setting.

The ending was just as bad as the beginning. The climax ends with a not even a pop. It was awful. This has to be the worst Star Wars book I've ever read, even worse than reading about Callista.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Princess Leia & The Space Pirates 27 September 2013
By Queen of Swords - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's been years since I read a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel, but I pre-ordered this one because of the image of Princess Leia dominating the cover. I've been underwhelmed by the handling of her character in the books I've read, but this one did well in balancing her aspects of symbol, trained diplomat, warrior, and young woman becoming attracted to someone and not entirely comfortable with it.

The story itself was a good idea: Princess Leia goes to secret meeting but gets sidetracked by an encounter with an Alderaanian gunship-turned-pirate -- and then with the leader of a pirate stronghold. The idea of using a mined-out asteroid as a pirate den was a good one, but I felt the author spent too much of the book describing the different groups of heroes finding their way through dark tunnels. On the plus side, there was a win-or-die 'game' involving other prisoners and a mad droid in which Leia managed to win the game, win an ally, and destroy a robot. I would have liked more action like that and fewer pages of tunnels.

The characterization of Han was very good: loyal to Leia, a bit off-balance due to his own feelings, and switching back and forth between smart-mouthing and keeping his mouth shut as the occasion seemed to demand.

In the end, it was a nice visit to the Star Wars universe with my favorite characters, but nothing exceptional.