Audiobook Review: Star Wars: The Perfect Weapon by Delilah S. Dawson
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Science-Fantasy
Series: Star Wars Canon
Publisher: Del Ray (November 24, 2015)
Tiara’s Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Narrator: January LaVoy | Length: 1 hrs and 57 mins | Audiobook Publisher: Random House Audio (November 24, 2015) | Whispersync Ready: No
Very slight spoilers, but you’ve been warned.
I’m one of those people who is easily distracted by secondary characters to the point of joining their cult followings, and I’m not sorry. My most recent secondary character obsession is, Benzine Netal, a character from Star Wars: The Force Awakens the latest installment in the Star Wars universe. In one particular scene we are briefly scan to this intriguing looking woman dressed in Harlequin-esque attire, and in the next we’re learning the bounds of her treachery. She wasn’t in the movie long, but she had the potential to be more than a bit player in the movie, as many characters did, in my mind. There was something interesting and exciting about her character. She offered a plausible counter to Rey’s “moral excellence,”a woman who seemed cold and whose allegiances were shifty unlike the Imperial dedication from Phasma. Bezine carried herself as if she’s not someone to be trifled with, and I was excited to hear there would be a story to explore her background. I wish I could say that I loved what I learned about her. Unfortunately, they did nothing of importance with the character.
Bazine is The Perfect Weapon. trained from childhood to become a formidable foe and fulfill one ultimate goal (unbeknownst to her) that her teacher wanted, which really didn’t make much sense since he had years to complete this objective. There seems to be no mention of her parents because she was adopted from an orphanage by her mentor. Years later, she’s given a mission that requires she turn to him for help because she needs a ship. Why do all spy types need a ship? Do they not save the credits they get to buy one of their own? Her mentor agrees to give her a ship as long as she take his Pantoran techie, a rookie who needs to complete an off-world mission and could use her help. The only problem with this Pantoran is that he was absolutely the most unnecessary character I’ve ever encountered in a book. In fact, the whole premise for the story was weak, and a part near the end had me like, “HOW CONVENIENT!” You really don’t see Bazine being “The Perfect Weapon” much, which is okay. I’m getting to that.
So, why did rate it more than 1-star? Well, because I liked what I did learn about Bazine outside this missions’s premise. How her whole life has been manipulated to be this cold woman when she could’ve been anyone she wanted instead of a woman who wears eel ink on her finger tips or wears poisoned black lipstick to come in for a close kill. She’s not only emotionally scarred, but she’s physically scarred. Her face is a mask to hide the horror of a mission gone bad, and that’s something I would’ve loved to have heard more about. I’m sure seeing her in that moment of both emotional vulnerability and rage would’ve been an excellent story. I would have loved to explore these aspects of Bazine more, the slip of being a woman who does care but at the same time she does what is necessary. It’s not assumed she doesn’t care because she’s just a cold woman. She stops caring because everything she cares about is taken from her to make her the spy she is. It’s dangerous for her to care.
A couple of things other than the plot annoyed me. The constant reminder that she’s a sexy woman and what she’s wearing can get old in the story. We understand this, and even Bazine acknowledges she is beautiful, but beauty isn’t always worth its merits that people place on it in her opinion. We didn’t need constant words being taken up with drunk men hitting on her. Loss potential wasted on words about men too disgusting to be in her presence, according to her, which is another thing that annoyed me. You are a spy. You’ve admitted that you’ve had to go to some awful places, but still have to continuously harp on how gross something is instead of being the focused machine you are. I’m not saying she should’ve ignored it, but we get it! She thinks what she’s doing is gross. There are way better ways to convey disgust other than having what amounts to “OMG YUCK!” every couple pages. And what’s the point of having a million weapons on your person if you’re not actually going to use them. Inquiring minds want to know.
Anyhow, in Bazine, you do see a loss for what she could’ve been, how tired she is, how she feeds off the adrenaline she feels during a mission despite this. January LaVoy did an excellent job with the voices. I loved her Bazine. Just like with almost all Star Wars books I’ve listened to, this has sound effects, but thankfully, they don’t ever overtake the narration. I’m really impressed they added production to such a short story. Just like with The Force Awakens, I don’t think this is a necessary read, but it’s fun to learn a little more about that interesting lady from the cantina (who I hope to see more of… please…).