Jay Sherer is the author of Timeslingers, a time travel adventure available now on Amazon.com, and the soon-to-be released comic book, The Standard. He’s also a big Star Wars fan, if you couldn’t tell.
REVIEW SUMMARY: Part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens line of new stories, The Perfect Weapon follows Bazine Netal on a short quest to find a former item for an unknown buyer. I listened to the audiobook version of the story. Despite fantastic production quality and solid writing from Ms. Dawson, the story itself feels incomplete and lackluster.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A master of deception and disguise, bounty hunter Bazine Netal accepts a lucrative offer from an unknown source. She must find a former stormtrooper who possesses a mysterious item.
PROS: Excellent production quality and solid voice acting.
CONS: The story didn’t excite or compel me. Bazine gets lost in a universe full of interesting and fascinating characters. Weak bad guys.
BOTTOM LINE: Maybe Bazine will become a critical character down the road, but this short story feels lackluster and the antagonists aren’t exciting.
If you’ve been following my reviews here on SF Signal, you know that I’ve read and reviewed many of the new Star Wars stories that have been released. From the straightforward and fun Weapon of a Jedi to the phenomenal Lost Stars, the latest canonical entries have been really fun to dig into. Even Aftermath (which has been lambasted by many readers) really intrigued and interested me (despite its flaws). But, after listening to the audiobook version of The Perfect Weapon, the best way for me to describe it is that it’s just not that exciting.
Which is sort of odd. I like stories about bounty hunters in the Star Wars universe. I also love a well-crafted short story. And, it was fun to listen to such a high quality recording (narrated by the talented January LaVoy). The sound effects and music are great. And from what I can tell of Ms. Dawson’s skill, she’s a good writer (it’s a little harder to tell when the story is being read for you). There’s even a nice twist at the end that I liked.
What makes The Perfect Weapon such a lackluster experience, then? Several things. The biggest one is that while the protagonist has some potential, the antagonists are weak. There’s some tension, but it feels like it needs to be amplified. I also found the locales visited equally uninteresting. The opening locale (a cantina) is the most intriguing, but the next two spots Bazine finds herself are a bit plain. And finally, the entire middle section of the story feels like a distraction. Here, Dawson introduces a new character in who has little to do with anything and isn’t critical to the story.
I was disappointed in The Perfect Weapon. Bazine does have some potential, but isn’t as interesting as some of the other new characters we’ve encountered (e.g., Rae Sloane, Thane Kyrell, Ciena Ree, Norra, and Sinjir). Dawson has talent, and I’m interested in seeing what else she has to offer to the Star Wars universe. And the audiobook has an outstanding team of skilled artists behind it. But, in the end, those things aren’t enough to overcome a so-so story with bland antagonists.
I want to like The Perfect Weapon more than I did, but there’s just too much that’s missing. I highly recommend checking out some of the other recent offerings before diving into this one. Here are my reviews for the other recently released stories: