Author: Claudia Gray
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Rating: 5 STARS!!!
WITNESS THE BIRTH OF THE RESISTANCE
When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.
Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy — from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.
As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position — even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing… - Summary from Goodreads
Let me just begin this review by saying that every Star Wars fan should read Bloodline.
Not only was the characterization of Leia fantastic, the politics of the time (5 years before Episode VII) were completely believable, interesting, and sounded a little too familiar. I was hooked from the first chapter, which rarely happens to me. As fans of the movie we only see the surface of everything that’s going on, Claudia Gray digs into the world and makes it work logically while giving it diversity and flavor. I will never stop being impressed.
One of the most important things to me as a SW fan and a booklover is that I could hear the voices of beloved characters like Leia, Han, and C-3PO while reading. Not only did the author capture this, she helped to develop Leia’s character more by presenting a whole new story in which the stakes were both political and personal. We get to see inside her mind and understand the heartbreak of losing Alderaan, the tumultuous feelings she has towards Vader, the frustration she feels at being trapped in a political process that no longer works, and her determination to take action to get something done. This is the Leia we know and love and, with all the benefits that the novel form of storytelling has, we get to know her better than ever before.
On a side note, with novels it’s so much easier to add in backstory and explanations of things that the movies should have addressed. For example, the fact that Leia and Han are married. THANK YOU! Obviously Bloodline also deals with much more than this small detail since it has the freedom and the time to, but their marriage was something that was not established in the new canon until now and I am thankful for it, no matter how small of a detail it may be.
I was a bit surprised that the story followed more than just Leia’s POV and I thought I would get bored reading the “extra” characters’ chapters, but it was great seeing the universe through their eyes and learning more of their stories. I came to love the side characters like Greer, Joph, and Ransolm; it was amazing to watch each of them grow and change over the course of the novel. Especially the young Senator Ransolm Casterfo (who I imagine looks like Loki). I started off hating his guts and by the end of the book he was my favorite character, second only to Leia. Because he belongs to the political opposition he and Leia get off to a rocky start, made worse by the fact that he has a thing for collecting Imperil artifacts for fun. If you can’t imagine Leia’s horror, just imagine a WWII veteran meeting a young punk who collects Nazi memorabilia. It was like that. But over the course of the book Leia (and the reader) begins to understand his character, which is so interesting and layered! I would love to see a companion novel that focuses on Ransolm after the events of this book. There are brief cameos and occasional mentions of established SW characters besides Leia, but they aren’t used as a crutch. This makes the appearance/reference of said characters *cough* Han *cough* even more rewarding.
Bloodline managed to balance political games with high stakes action while also slowing down just long enough to delve deep into the minds and backstories of beloved characters, both old and new. It is a great novel by its own merit, but the fact that it is a great SW novel makes me love it even more. This has been my favorite book of the year. I literally loved every page. I hope the future is filled with many more Star Wars books written by Claudia Gray.