In Martha Wells first foray into the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Empire and Rebellion: Razors Edge, Princess Leia Organa and Han Solo take center stage, two years after the destruction of the Death Star at Yavin IV.
Leia is haunted by the responsibility she feels for the destruction of her home planet, Alderaan, and taking more risks as a seemingly failing Rebellion is struggling to arrange supplies to develop the soon-to-be-built Echo Base.
It is on a mission to negotiate supplies with some struggles that we find Leia, Han, and General Vanden Willard under attack by an imperial ship.
The colliding first few chapters bring an overwhelming number of new characters to us – some of whom die right away. After that chaos, the story progresses calmly and evenly at a good pace.
For the most part, I do not like the majority of the novels set during the movies. While they provide a stronger depth of character and set some background for the films, I just do not find the progress the story of the universe as much as the books set outside of the films.
The thing I like most about these books is seeing the set-up – however small – and impact from the other films. Seeing Leia brood over Alderaan, seeing the development of the Echo Base plan, and Han’s doubt about helping the alliance
Through the sashaying of the pirate-style entry into the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Leia’s decisions and internal dialogue reflect that of a young woman embattled by the destruction of her planet, yet we see her brazen passion and fury for the Rebel Alliance. In one sequence while she is standing up to the chief antagonist of the story, Han notes that she does so fearlessly – and has no reason not to, having stood up to Darth Vader in the past.
Luke and Chewbacca are sidelined in this adventure, and I do not hate it at all. The over-emphasis on Luke’s character through the entirety of the Expanded Universe is overwhelming, and I could see Chewbacca being a difficulty character to write. Their absence leaves space for Leia and Han to grow individually, and for us to watch their budding relationship.
While not an overwhelmingly amazing read, this title is certainly worth checking out.
Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion: Razors Edge by Martha Wells (ISBN: 9780345545244) will be out on September 24th, 2013, is published by Del Rey/LucasBooks and has a suggested retail price of $27.00. Thanks to NetGalley for the eARC.