Book Review | Star Wars: Bloodline
New York Times bestselling author
This article may contain spoiler material/content for those that have not yet read Star Wars: Bloodline.
Excerpt From Star Wars: Bloodline
“When we look back upon the war against the Empire – upon the billions of lives lost – sometimes it seems as though nothing could ever have been worth the terrible price we paid. But when we think of those people who perished in the conflict, let us remember that they died for justice. For liberty. For the extraordinary peace we now enjoy.” Senator Tai-Lin Garr held out his arms, taking in the entire celebration on Hosnian Prime: the brilliant sunshine, the aquamarine sky, the countless citizens of a thousand different species gathered together beneath the colorful flags of their worlds. The beauty and promise of the New Republic seemed to be laid before them all. “This is what we fought for.”
Everyone applauded. Many cheered.
Senator Leia Organa clapped along with the rest and thought, too bad it’s falling apart.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Decades have passed since the Rebellion defeated the Empire above the forest moon of Endor and Leia Organa had high hopes for a long-lasting peace to reign throughout the galaxy. But like many things, even hopeful dreams pass in time – sometimes the smallest of actions is better than the greatest intentions. A prime example of this sentiment would be the New Republic – after many years of friction and unjust logjam within the Senate, hope for that happily-ever-after seems lost.
As Leia, a now well respected senator, deals with the reality of dividing factions between the New Republic and its democracy [both inside parties and those on the outside as well], she must also face and come to terms with new sections of lawlessness. This stirring of chaos calls for the senate to take action and they look to their government to elect a First Senator for strong leadership to bring back order to the disunity of the galaxy.
Leia, the daughter of Darth Vader himself, has unwillingly been suggested for nomination to uphold this powerful position – even though she, herself, is against any one person having such an immense amount of power. But unfortunately, a mysterious menace is growing and this powerful position might just be Leia’s only hope.
Once again, Claudia Gray hits it out-of-the park with another brilliant piece that continues to bridge the gaps to our ever-growing galaxy far, far away…
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better than Star Wars: Lost Stars, I am proven wrong – like Artoo, it tends to happen, from time-to-time. At least I’m humble enough to admit it and in this instance, I couldn’t be happier to be wrong.
Star Wars: Bloodline takes place somewhere between 5 to 6 years prior to the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. For the record, the novel doesn’t exactly state a definitive timeframe, but according to Wookieepedia.com it’s supposed to be 6 years before and by Pablo Hidalgo’s calculations, it’s 5 years. So as I said, the timeline is more of a personal perspective, depending on which source you value most. But I digress …
Bloodline shows us the grim and grit that Leia has had to endure over these few decades – it hasn’t been easy for her and it just goes to show, the Skywalker women exemplify strength with the heavy crosses they bear. “You’ve always been strong,” Luke was definitely right about that! Heck, that notion is depicted on the front cover or book jacket: Leia’s silhouette in the shadows of Darth Vader’s helmet, arms crossed in a protective stance. Ironically enough, this imagery is brilliantly symbolic and eerily reminiscent to Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker and yet, just as equally comparable to another relative; Shmi Skywalker.
As we witness the birth of the Resistance, we get to see the tides or events that shape this much needed faction. Throughout this storyline we see the inside corruption that leads to the crumbling of the New Republic, the division of senatorial sections, their different beliefs to bring unity back to the senate and to the galaxy as a whole, but in the interim, a mysterious new menace grows under their political noses. Once they catch wind, a motion for First Senator [delegated by Lady Carise of the Centrists group] is set into place. Leia isn’t too keen on this idea. Even though her own senatorial group, the Populists, are eager to make a motion, suggesting she becomes their frontrunner for nomination – for she is surely to take the win.
As if that weren’t enough, Leia lives with a long-distance marriage with Han Solo as he is away, training racer pilots and traveling from racing circuit, to racing circuit. Another emotional strain that weighs heavily on her shoulders is her separation from her son, Ben and her brother, Luke. What makes matters worse, she has no idea where they are and I mean none. Leia, like her birth father, finds herself lost in thought and dwelling upon the past i.e.: her relationship with Han, the romantic interludes that lead to the conception of their son, her conflicted feelings on whether or not to resign from the senate when her term is up, and her darkest, and most personal encumbrance, that she is the daughter of Darth Vader.
Along the way, we encounter new characters that are carefully crafted to most likely find their way in upcoming stories or possibly, films. We even see a familiar face or two: “Snap” Wexley and Mon Mothma are just a few we see returning into the fold. The chemistry between Greer [personal assistant to Leia with an interesting connection to Han Solo] and Joph [a pilot recruited by Leia] is electric and rekindles that magic we saw in Lost Stars, but on a more platonic level than romantic. And then, the espionage sequences, that are littered with suspenseful thrills that will leave your fingers frantic to turn the next page. Rinnrivin Di is vividly colorful and even though you try not to like him, you can’t help yourself from loving him. Heck, he deems Leia with the title: “Huttslayer” and so yeah, that is now canon folks.
So canonizing Huttslayer is awesome and learning that Leia’s accent in A New Hope was actually her poking-fun at Tarkin definitely clears-up what once was considered a mix-up, but discovering that Bail Organa had concealed Leia’s lineage in an engraved Hope Chest and hidden away on another planet, well, that for me, was the most prominent key element in the novel. That and it was played publicly before the entire senate and across the galaxy on HoloNet! This was so poetically beautiful on so many levels, it left me speechless. Yes, my jaw dropped. The personal message, meant for one, but played for millions to hear was supposed to be a heartfelt moment for the rightful owner, but instead became a tainted reputation, nearly beyond any hope for redemption. Ironic, isn’t it? I wonder, if Leia questioned herself, if she had only told Ben who he really was … would it have made any difference? Perhaps, like Obi-Wan, she thought he wasn’t ready for the truth – to bear the burden.
And yes, I could go on-and-on, but I think you should just go out and read it for yourselves! Seriously, there are so many juicy nuggets of connecting points and tie-ins that you will not be disappointed – and you can “tell that to Kanjiclub!”
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!
*Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray went on sale May 3rd, 2016 and is now available in: Del Rey Hardcover, audiobook from Random House Audio, narration by January LaVoy and other retailers/outlets.
**You can find Becca on Twitter @urangelb or at any of these affiliated outlets: @thcantinacast @TarkinsTopShelf or contact Becca directly via email at Becca@thecantinacast.net or firstname.lastname@example.org and to read more of her Star Wars ruminations, check out Becca’s Chava Chats at coffeewithkenobi.com & TheBeardedTrio.com