Monday, 30 December 2013
AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'RAZOR'S EDGE' NOVEL
STAR WARS: EMPIRE AND REBELLION
BOOK ONE: RAZOR'S EDGE
By Martha Wells
Published in UK hardback by CENTURY PUBLISHING
Reviewed by Scott Weller
Having ultimately found the long-running post ROTJ era FATE OF THE JEDI series only partially successful in its storytelling aims, the news from LUCAS BOOKS that they were going back to the youthful incarnations of our Classic Trilogy heroes for a new series of books set within the incident packed time lines of EPISODEs IV and V personally proved a welcome sign, as did the revelation that they would also be penned by experienced yet also bright new stars to the publishing dominion- a further decision that certainly restored my faith in the next phase of our heroes literary development. In the coming months, the soon umbrella titled EMPIRE and REBELLION piqued my interest further, especially the announcement that each book in this new trilogy would separately focus on one of the core iconic triad, likely cementing the kind of developing uprising against the Empire soon to be explored in Disney's REBELS animated TV series. The sterling choice of Leia to launch the book series - her story of princess to rebel leader, whose mission to retrieve the Death Star plans ended in such tragedy: witnessing her planet and peoples destruction and the after effects it wrings to her psyche- surely proving a continued rich area for characterisation mining. Martha Wells debut in the Lucas playground certainly captures the spunky and authoritative pre EMPIRE heroine with Razor's Edge, as well as her sparky, sometimes snippy relationship with soon lover Han Solo. The idea of the toughened up Princess also being caught up in the affairs of desperate Alderaanian refuges, who have had to become space pirates in order to survive a changing universe, certainly proves intriguing, bringing with it the necessary moral and ethical dilemmas for Leia to navigate and resolve, alongside her resurfaced guilt association at being a part of the rebellion that ultimately led to their worlds destruction...
Unfortunately, despite a solid beginning, and a fine writing style perfect for STAR WARS books, the overall story, also involving a cruel female pirate flightmaster and some relatively small-scale Imperial pursuit, failed to fully engage me, having a tangible air of same old, same old about it. Lots of new female characters, perhaps more here than the entire output of the Classic Trilogy movies, are welcome but mostly prove forgettable, failing to hold a candle to Lucas's core icons- a continuing problem for LUCAS BOOKS and its authorship chain. The plotline of an emotion besieged Leia caught in tumultuous and dangerous situations with Alderaan survivors was also ultimately done better, and in shorter page length, within one of the early books of the SCHOLASTIC junior adult REBEL FORCE adventures of a few years back.
Here's hoping that the next two soon arriving tales within the EMPIRE and REBELLION series improve on this moderately enjoyable starter (greater imaginative ambitions please!), and that Miss Wells potential as a STAR WARS writer is given a chance to shine brighter with a more original tale in the not too distant future...
AFICIONADO RATING: 6 out of 10
Get hold of RAZOR'S EDGE here: Razor's Edge (Star Wars (Random House Hardcover)): Amazon.co.uk: Martha Wells: Books