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The Razor

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  232 ratings  ·  71 reviews
J. Barton Mitchell's The Razor is a riveting science fiction thriller about a man struggling to survive the chaos on a prison planet.

Brilliant engineer Marcus Flynn has been sentenced to 11-H37 alongside the galaxy's most dangerous criminals. A hard labor prison planet better known as the Razor, where life expectancy is short and all roads are dead ends.

At least until the
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 27th 2018 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  232 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Montzalee Wittmann
The Razor by J. Barton Mitchell and narrated by Travis Baldree is an audible book I requested and the review is voluntary. This book starts out very raw, gritty, and terrifying as the reader is introduced to the prison planet. The characters, the projects, and lives of those that live there are revealed slowly as chaos erupts due to certain events! Suspense, action, and the unknown kept me on the edge of my seat...creatures also abound...and the razor thin area of habitable zone is about to be d ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Tor

ISBN: 9780765387929

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.9/5

Publisher’s Description: Brilliant engineer Marcus Flynn has been sentenced to 11-H37 alongside the galaxy’s most dangerous criminals. A hard labor prison planet better known as the Razor, where life expectancy is short and all roads are dead ends.

Review: The idea that this tidally locked planet supports life in a thin band between the hot and cold sides is, pretty thin, almost razor like. Ha. What we know ab
The Captain
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

This book takes place on the planet prison 11-H37, otherwise known as the razor.  Those who are sentenced there stay there for the rest of their short lives.  The prisoners are disposable tools used to mine the galaxy's primary energy source.  The more useful ye are, the longer ye might live.  Gang affiliations are recommended and corruption is the norm.

This was
Danielle Tremblay
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Riju Ganguly
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
The book began as a potential scifi update of 'The Shawshank Redemption'. Unfortunately, the portrayal of the characters as simultaneously kick-ass and vulnerable didn’t come off as expected. And then the weird stuff happened, plunging the story into extremely formulaic rota.
The writing is crisp. And there is a distinct possibility of a sequel. Nevertheless, I have a feeling of quiet dissatisfaction now, as the story ended.
Perhaps you might enjoy it more.
True rating 4.5 stars!

Have you ever read a book and prayed that it will be made into a movie? That is my sincerest hope for The Razor! I absolutely loved reading this book right from the start! I am not always the biggest fan of books involving imprisonment but I was able to set that aside because I was just so engaged with this story. The setting is indeed a hard labor colony on planet 11-H37 where the prisoners are forced to mine for an extremely valuable commodity in the most dangerous of lo
Timothy Reaves
Dec 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. The promise of the Razor itself sounded promising. Unfortunately the author just simply fails with the story. There are several major issues with the story: a man beaten nearly to death, unable to stand unassisted, is ejected onto a hostile plant only tolerable with an environment suit is suddenly able to drag a compatriot miles through horrid dessert and continue to to battle and, well, enough of that. A very basic lack of understanding of economics especially ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, thriller
The Razor
J. Barton Mitchell

Mitchell’s latest is a sensational scare your socks off, fast paced adult sci-fi apocalyptic thriller set roughly 150 years in the future on an unwelcoming penal colony planet and staring the most unlikely rag tag group of heroes ever to grace the pages of fiction. The backdrops are beautifully brutal and the author’s narrative brings the amazing alien landscapes to life for his readers complete with strange lifeforms, altered humans from both successful and failed bio
Tim Hicks
May 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Within its sub-genre, this is actually quite competent and occasionally thoughtful. However, that sub-genre is the one in which Independence Day and Battlefield Earth are great movies.

The hellish prison planet that mines Impossibilium is nothing new, no problem with that. I only had trouble with everything after that.

We got Zane, whose body absorbs metal and heals itself. Oops, we're into comic-book territory. Nanites, huh; guess that makes it science after all. I suppose there will be a nerd
Adrian Collins
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed by malrubius on Grimdark Magazine.

The Razor is the new science fiction novel by J. Barton Mitchell, author of the acclaimed YA sci-fi series The Conquered Earth. This one’s not YA, but it won’t cause you any adult discomfort either. It’s the story of four people—three prisoners and one doctor—on the prison mining planet 11-H37. As in most good science fiction, the setting plays an instrumental role in the plot. In this one the setting is the Razor, a thin line on the 11-H37 b
Reese Hogan
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Razor was a fun and fast-paced sci fi. My favorite part was the setting; it takes place on a tidally-locked planet, where the half that faces the sun is burning up and the half that faces away is frozen. Only a thin strip in the middle balances on the fragile threshold of supporting life—and they call that strip the Razor. It’s told thriller-style, with prison inmates and mysterious scientific experiments and strange monsters and hidden secrets. Great for readers who like hard-edged sci fi w ...more
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Overall, it falls in between the run-and-gun scifi prison story, and the in-depth techno-thriller. Just too many things forced into this one. The reveals were more head-scratchers than aha moments.

For the full review:

For all my reviews:
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
Turn-your-brain-off, derivative (pretty sure I saw the hot side of the planet Razor in Chronicles of Riddick), all-combat, testosterone-driven SF.
A reasonably well-written example of the above, but cut zero new ground. At a certain point I wound up asking myself why I bothered to read it ... and couldn't come up with an answer.
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Razor, by J. Barton Mitchell, is a science fiction novel about a prison planet, 11-H37 a.k.a. the Razor, where the prisoners are used as slave labor to mine Xytrilium, the most potent mineral for power production in the galaxy. Only the worst criminals are sent here and it is a one-way trip. Marcus Flynn, however, is sent to the Razor because the Mass-Dorian Corporation, owners of the Razor, want him under wraps and under control. Flynn will need all his knowledge and the help of some of the ...more
Fred Hughes
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great story about what happens when a natural disaster starts to overwhelm a prison world that also hold wildly unsanctioned human enhancement experiments, Two distinct small groups struggle to escape and eventually meet at the only location to leave the planet.

Lots of action. Great character development. A Great Read.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful read. It was a ride. Never dull. Very entertaining! Just because the characters weren’t very deep doesn’t mean the five stars aren’t well deserved.
I enjoyed this very much.
Bernard Dy
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
It's ok, a light SF action adventure that has some moments but ends up ultimately feeling like a nerd power fantasy. The audiobook is well narrated, presented clearly and with good voices. ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-sci-fi
Couldn't tell is this was "relentless action" or just poor writing, but wasn't impressed by late-appearing characters and tv pilot-like plot developements. Corporate-controlled mining planet with a fixed orbit and narrow temperate band is also a prison planet for an interplanetary government that is conducting crimes against humanity in the name of security research. Genius-level serial killers are being researched in black site, as well as other things like extreme strength and psionic powers. ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
TWs for regular mentions and threats of sexual assault, violence, and major character death (though that one gets partially ... redacted. You'll see why by the end of the book.)

I have been extremely lax in getting to this book, after having received an eARC .... last year. I had some issues with the file, but I was ultimately able to lay my hands on a copy through my library a few weeks ago and dig in.

Then ... I stalled out. After getting through more than half of this 400 page book, I had to sk
Liz (Quirky Cat)
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of The Razor through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Razor is the newest work by J. Barton Mitchell. It’s a science fiction novel focusing primarily on just a few characters. It also reads a bit like a post-apocalyptic novel, thanks to the setting the characters are forced into. I fell in love with it because of the way a couple of the characters in particular either started with or had to find a drive to live and survive. It was a fascinating study in
John Purvis
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The Razor" eBook was published in 2018 (November) and was written by J. Barton Mitchell ( Mr. Mitchell has published five novels. 

I received an ARC of this novel through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the far future. Humanity has spread throughout the stars and one planet, Razor, has been designated as a prison planet for t
Shane Jardine
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Originally posted at

This was one of those books where I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading it. I’m not that big of a fan of science fiction so I don’t read much in the genre, but this book sounded too good to pass up when I received it in the mail. Happily, The Razor by J. Barton Mitchell was a fun read full of suspense and some intense edge of your seat action that actually had me putting down the book momentarily so I could pace around the room to calm my n
Mark Noble
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually read genre fiction, especially sci-fi. I met J. Barton Mitchell at a Vail Symposium panel discussion this summer, that included two other sci-fi writers, Rebecca Roanhorse and Emily Tippetts. All three impressed me with their writing knowledge, intelligence and creativity. I decided to try The Razor first mostly because the chapter Mitchell read from his book that evening was gripping and very well written. I was not disappointed.

This is far from literary fiction as Mitchell read
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica Belmont
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Oh my, this book! THIS BOOK. Sci-fi lovers, you are in for a treat. This book is tightly plotted, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The Razor is absolutely engaging, and I had trouble putting it down.

The world-building in this is awesome. We are on planet 11-H37, where prisoners are forced to mine in incredibly dangerous conditions. Of course, our main character, Marcus is sent here after being framed.

I loved the characters. Each delivered solid dialogue, and moved the plot forward. I love
Nicholas Smeaton
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Prison Break in space is a concept that comes at a high risk of been buried in a piles of cliches. Fortunately The Razor avoids these by the simple move of having everything go down the toilet early in the story so after the characters are established it becomes a survival/puzzlebox story with a group of very diverse characters having to learn to trust each other in order to survive. The setting is very well done as it allows situations to be explained without becoming too intrusive. The story i ...more
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
If I had to use one word to describe The Razor it would be unexpected. Why? I have read several maximum prison stories and they seem to follow the same pattern. This one does not. The plot is complicated, the characters different, and the goal is not escape but to live. The action is nonstop and the danger always around. There are flash backs to explain the actions of some of the main characters. The one reason for four stars and not five - several of the characters are just dropped in and it ta ...more
Tom Burkholder
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the book The Razor, author J. Barton Mitchell writes about Marcus Flynn, a brilliant engineer that is sentenced to The Razor, a prison planet where the worst criminals in the galaxy are sent. This hard labor camp has a short life expectancy for its residences and becomes even shorter when the Lost Prophet goes active.
Can Flynn and his friends stop the planet from melting down? This is an edge of your seat sci-fi book. I loved the story line and action but the language was really bad. I receiv
Craig Elderkin
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just completed The Razor. It was extremely well written, well plotted , and fast-moving. I really enjoyed the characters. I also thought the plot was quite sophisticated. I look forward to the next installment.
I am delighted that Mr. Mitchell was able to write almost 400 pages without any politically correct (boring and pedantic) references about gender, race, political affiliation, and other trite group identity bromides. And people fell in love!
Perhaps all new science-fiction writers shou
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