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[ Star Wars Books & Comics ]
Staff Review.


[Bloodline]

Bloodline
Author: Claudia Gray
Published: 2016

Reviewer: Ewan, Star Wars Books & Comics
Reviewed: 2016
Review rating: 5 / 5

Disclaimer:
Spoilers are kept to minimum however cannot guarantee spoiler-free.

Although publisher supplied copy for review purposes, all opinions are those of reviewer.

Publisher's Summary:
With the Endor fireworks a distant memory, Leia Organa has put up with decades of partisan squabbling as a member of the New Republic Senate. Leia finds herself grappling with dangers from within and without, each with the power to cripple the fledgling democracy and dash every hope for a prosperous future.
To make things worse, the Senate has begun to call for the election of a First Senator: an influential and charismatic figure to bring order to the divided government. As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia knows all too well the price to be paid if the New Republic hands power to a single individual.
Unfortunately, a new enemy represents a threat on such a scale that New Republic may be left with no other choice.
As Leia contemplates starting a second Rebellion, evil takes root at the edges of the galaxy. The First Order is growing, and it will not stay silent.

Review:
Following the much deserved admiration and success for her first Star Wars novel last year, the young adult story Lost Stars, Claudia Gray returns with a adult novel that assuredly deserves the same level of admiration and success. While from the outside Gray creates a story that appears to be one of galactic politics it is actually one of familial relationships and the comparisons between the family that nurtured you and the natural family that created you. Even if her choice of principle character was rather one-sided given what we know (or rather don't know at this stage) from the events of The Force Awakens, Gray's focus on Leia Organa, rather than Luke Skywalker, helps to answer the question of who Leia is: daughter of the galaxy's most infamous enforcer, Darth Vader, or former heir apparent to one the galaxy's most respected royal households? Two decades have passed since the Rebel Alliance's success at Endor, and Princess Leia Organa, a New Republic Senator, has successfully kept her genetic past hidden from the rest of the galaxy. But when her true origins are revealed at a critical juncture for the New Republic both Leia and the galaxy must decide if the blood of Darth Vader does indeed flow through her veins. When a new enemy threatens the very galaxy she fought so hard to free from tyrannical injustice, this could prove to be the most difficult decision Leia has ever made. Again the galactic Republic demands that a single leader steps up to the plate to defend it from a new tyranny but Leia understands too readily how such power can corrupt. But what other choice can Leia make?
Unlike the Princess Leia comic story by Mark Waid, Gray successfully recreates the Leia we are familiar with in the films: intelligent, strong, driven, even feisty when the occasion calls for it. But one that also has flaws, in particular her temper; one that will make mistakes - and suffer the consequences of those mistakes; and one that, at this point in her career, has also become tired of the endless ineffectual political bickering. Gray's supporting characters, Leia's political assistant Greer, the niave starfighter pilot Joph, and Casterfo, the opposing young senator with a peculiar taste in collectibles are all as full-bodied as Leia and all contribute to the story.
Continuing the familiar and familial themes Gray also touches on Leia's relationships with her husband, Han Solo, her son, Ben, and her brother, Luke. Unfortunately readers expecting further insights into these relationships as seen in The Force Awakens, such as reasons for Han and Leia's separation, Ben's fall to the dark side and Luke's self-imposed exile, will be disappointed as they aren't elucidated upon - instead they will learn of the beginnings of the Resistance, hints as to the origins of the First Order (but unfortunately once again not definite answers), and reasons why more stories set before The Force Awakens need to be told. And need to be told now.
In essence, Bloodline is a worthy contribution to the galaxy far, far away as was last year's Lost Stars but more importantly Bloodline is perhaps the story to awaken the wider Star Wars fandom to the importance of the novels in newly aligned program of canonical Star Wars storytelling. A definite must read story.


Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray is available now in hardback and e-Book from Century in the UK and Del Rey in the US.


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