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 home world 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.
This will be the first of three new classic STAR WARS: Empire and Rebellion adventures! Each will star the “big three”–Han, Luke, and Leia–and each will be written by a popular author new to Star Wars.
Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge puts the fiery Princess Leia Organa front and center dealing with pirates, the Empire, and her own feelings after witnessing the loss of her home planet, Alderaan. Written by Fantasy writer Martha Wells (The Books of the Raksura series), the story takes us to the events that immediately follow the destruction of the Death Star, three years before the completion of the rebel base on the ice planet Hoth. Along the way, we meet several strong women who are either feared or revered by their comrades.
Even with Leia in the lead, Han, Luke, and Chewbacca still get their time in the spotlight. Han is the second most seen character in the book because he goes with Leia on her mission, while Luke and Chewbacca have smaller, but very important roles to play later in the book. I’ll admit that we don’t see Luke or Chewie nearly as much as I had first hoped, but I still felt the impact of their involvement as much as Han Solo’s.
Since the story takes place between Star Wars: A New Hope (AKA Episode IV) and Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back (AKA Episode V), we pretty much know where the characters will end up after everything is said and done, but I still enjoyed the story for the insight it provided into Leia and her state of mind after the destruction of Alderaan.
Since the destruction of Alderaan is still fresh in everyone’s minds, we get a deeper look at Leia and how she is handling all of her own emotions, as well as having the weight of the entire Alliance balancing on her shoulders. On the outside, she is Princess Leia Organa, the last princess of Alderaan and head of the Rebel Alliance. On the inside, she’s Leia Organa, a flesh-and-blood woman with feelings she can’t express. I have to give her credit—she does a nice job hiding her own feelings and struggles while dealing with everything around her. I can’t imagine what she must have been going through, barely having time to grieve her loved ones and having to keep the Rebel Alliance together at the same time.
I’m unfamiliar with Martha Wells as a writer, so I had no preconceived notions about her writing style. According to her biography, this is the first Star Wars novel she’s written and overall she did a nice job keeping the characters in their true nature. I had the opportunity to ask Martha a few questions about her Star Wars novel debut, and here is what she had to say:
GeekMom (Dakster Sullivan): How much research did you do prior to writing the story?
Martha Wells: I was a big Star Wars fan from the time the first movie came out in 1977, when I was 13, but there’s been so much material written and developed since then. Most of my research involved using the Star Wars series reference books, looking up the specifics of the SW tech I wanted to use, and picking out which aliens to use in the story.
GM: What is about Leia that made you want to put her front and center?
MW: The original idea for the Empire and Rebellion books was that each book in the series would focus on one of the three main characters of the original trilogy, and I was offered the chance to write the one that would focus on Leia. I’ve always loved Leia—she and Han were always my two favorites, though I liked all the characters. And when the movie first came out, it was a huge deal to me to see a woman in that role as a leader. So I wanted to do a story that would show her abilities as a leader, to show her as tough and in charge as Carrie Fisher portrayed her in the movies, and also to show the weight of the responsibility to the Alliance, the destruction of Alderaan, and everything else that she has to deal with.
GM: I’ve only started reading Star Wars novels a few months ago and I’m always amazed at the battle scenes. How easy/difficult are those to write with everything that needs to be described about what’s going on?
MW: I’ve been used to writing big battle and fight scenes of all different types in my other fantasy novels, so those weren’t a problem for me. The thing that really helps me is making sure I stay in the perspective of my viewpoint character(s). When a battle involves a large number of participants, I try to pick the characters who are witnesses or participants to the most important parts, the parts that the reader needs to see in order to understand what’s going on, and just write from their perspectives. A battle can be huge and confusing, but the reader doesn’t need to see all of it, just the parts that they need to know in order to follow the story.
Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge is filled with strong female leads with a touch of sexual tension between Princess Leia and Han Solo. While Luke and Chewbacca have relatively small roles, their impact on the story is still felt just as much as Leia and Han. If you’re looking for an action packed Star Wars novel with none of the politics, this is a title you should consider adding to your bookshelf.
From the book, Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells. Copyright © 2013 by Lucasfilm LTD. Reprinted by arrangement with Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Twi’lek woman had the same idea as Leia, and they shot toward the far side of the arena together, drawing the droid’s attention. They dodged back and forth as the droid flailed at them. It should have worked, with one of the other players taking the opportunity to knock the remote through a crusher and end the game.
But the remote was clearly programmed to make things as difficult as possible. It darted around close to the droid’s barrel-shaped body, swung around its drill-tipped limbs, and lured the other players into danger.
Leia watched hopefully as the remote wheeled away from Metara and one of the Ishori dived down almost within reach of it. At the moment she didn’t care who won the game, as long as somebody did. Though, she reminded herself with grim resolve, they had no guarantee that Viest would stop the game as she had promised. When the remote was destroyed, the flightmaster might change the rules again.
Then the droid swung its drilling arm and struck the Ishori across the back. He flew across the arena and bounced off the containment field with a fizzle of energy. He drifted, his body limp. The other Ishori cried out and shot over to him.
Leia set her jaw. This had to end before that happened to all the players. As the droid turned, she dived in close to circle it and followed the gleam of the remote. The droid roared and turned toward her, but then it swung away, distracted by someone around the other side.
Leia ducked and suddenly found the remote barely a meter away. She lunged for it, gritting her teeth as its searing blast grazed her right arm. At the last moment she flipped and used the pads on her feet to slam it toward the nearest crusher.
The Twi’lek yelled and swooped in to intercept her. But the droid’s drilling arm flailed and slammed into the Twi’lek. One of the woman’s foot pads flew off, sending her into a spin right toward the crusher’s maw. Leia reacted by pure instinct and surged forward with her foot pads to grab the woman’s leg. She twisted around and used her pads to yank the Twi’lek to a stop, barely a meter from the crusher. There was no doubt the crusher’s deadly field was operating; the ozone it generated filled Leia’s lungs. The droid loomed over them, reached for them with four sets of arms, all tipped with cutters or spinning drills. Got to get close, Leia thought, and propelled herself and the Twi’lek toward it.
Disclaimer: GeekMom received this item for review purposes.
Dakster Sullivan is an all-around technology and comic book geek. When she's not at the office being the Network Administrator, she's hanging out with her Minecraft obsessed 8-year old son and magician husband. On the weekends, she enjoys cosplaying for charity with the 501st and Rebel Legion costuming groups. Check her out on Twitter @Dak903