Friday, November 7, 2014

Star Wars: Razor’s Edge review

This week I decided to review Star Wars: Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells. The book opens with Leia Organa and Han Solo on board the rebel-modified transport Gamble. They are supposed to meet an old contact of Han’s and obtain some supplies desperately needed for the construction of Echo Base. Unfortunately, they are ambushed by an Imperial Light Corvette. The Gamble manages to escape but is crippled and, while closing in on a safe port, they encounter the Aegis, an Alderaanian gunship whose crew blames Alderaan’s affiliation with the Rebel Alliance for the planet’s destruction at the hands of the Galactic Empire. The Aegis has turned pirate and is attacking a freighter to help pay off its debt to the pirate queen Viest. Leia and Han board the Aegis hoping to convince the crew to join the rebellion, but then a second pirate ship, sent by Viest to pick up the target freighter, appears and escorts the Aegis back to Viest’s clearinghouse. Han and Leia travel with the Aegis hoping to help the ship free itself from the debt it owes Viest. Meanwhile Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, R2-D2, and C-3P0 set out in the Millennium Falcon to aid the Gamble and its crew. The first meeting with Viest goes badly, leading to Leia and the captain of the Aegis having to participate in a deadly sporting event. Then Han discovers that the freighter Aegis had been attacking is the same ship which Gamble had been scheduled to meet with. So the Aegis and its crew and passengers must escape Viest’s base and rescue their allies. But pulling this off will leave an angry pirate fleet behind them, and an Imperial spy in their midst while an Imperial force closes in…

I give this book a 7 out of 10. I thought the author did a good job making you care about the new characters (especially important since you know that most of the established characters have to survive the book with no significant permanent harm), However, the space battles could have used more detail, as could the specifications for the weapons array of Aegis since this is the first time  an Alderaanian Gunship has appeared since being briefly mentioned as part of the Rebel fleet in the Return of the Jedi novelization. Also, Aegis is stated as being an Alderaanian navy ship patrolling space near Alderaan when the planet was destroyed. Anyone familiar with Star Wars lore, like the author of a Star Wars novel should be, would know that Alderaan had no navy. With the exception of one task force crewed by droids and containing no gunships, Alderaan’s entire navy was scrapped immediately following the Clone Wars. While a small secret fleet was being built up when the planet was destroyed, it wasn’t publicly acknowledged by the planet’s government and thus shouldn’t have been openly patrolling the system. The author clearly needed to research elements of the setting related to the story she wished to tell more before writing the book, and a decent editor should have caught the problem and found a way to avoid it, perhaps having Aegis' construction just finishing as the world was destroyed, or having the ship hiding somewhere nearby rather than on patrol. 

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