MAKE THE REPUBLIC GREAT AGAIN
Galactic politics suck just as much as they do in America in this day and age. The social commentary used in Bloodline mirrors the US in a frighteningly close way. The New Republic was born after breaking free from the Galactic Empire (yes, the Empire is technically a separate entity). There are 2 major political parties. Pettiness and back stabbing are rampant, while integrity is scarce. Each side has its lauded heroes (or villains, depending on your point of view).
Just 20 years after Return of the Jedi (and 10 before The Force Awakens), the New Republic is already in need of an overhaul. Leia Organa is a member of the Populists, a party that desires more in-dependency among the planets that make up the Republic. Across the aisle, the Centrists support a strong central government. Senate sessions are held much like they were in the prequel trilogy era witnessed in movies.
Now in her 40s, Leia is looking to get out of the game. She is the central focus of the story and a strong one at that. She has been featured in past Expanded Universe books, but this is the first for the brand new canon. It truly helps us to understand Leia and helps us to understand to a much greater effect where her mind is in The Force Awakens.
Some pretty major things occur in Bloodline that have large ramifications on the galaxy. None of what I am about to say is a spoiler, but we learn of the origins of sinister First Order, we get a little insight as to how Leia & Han Solo communicate despite having drastically different lives, and we even get an occasional brief mention of Luke Skywalker & Ben Solo.
The story moves slowly at times, particularly when the narrative focuses on politics. It feels shallow. At other times, the story is incredibly enriching, leaving no detail untouched. Overall, it’s short on action, but it doesn’t require it. We get to realize what makes Princess Leia Organa tick. The most fascinating part of the book is the dynamic of Leia and her position as the daughter of Darth Vader. It also helps to explain why Leia, despite her Force sensitivity, decides not to get overly involved with Luke and his new Jedi Order. In addition, we learn a good deal about Bail Organa and Leia’s love and reverence for her adopted father.
Whereas most Star Wars novels tends to lean towards action, Bloodline is as its absolute best when it focuses on its Game of Thrones-like portrayal of verbal jousting and soap opera mechanics. Author Claudia Gray (who also penned Star Wars: Lost Stars) has a talent for really making the reader love the story’s main characters. Bloodline features a varied supporting cast. Ransolm Casterfo plays Leia’s on-again off-again political rival/ally. Being a unique character that stems from this story, Casterfo had quite the presence. Lady Carise Sindian plays an important role despite coming as somewhat of a bimbo. Leia’s crew is also developed as more than just secondary characters, finding some individuality inside a crowded cast. One particular character I enjoyed finding out more about was Korr Sella. Korr is Leia’s understudy. Assuming you’ve seen The Force Awakens (SPOILER IF NOT), Korr is the woman seen just before Hosnian Prime is destroyed by Starkiller Base. Side note: Korr actually went to Hosnian Prime to sit in on a Senate hearing, standing in for Leia. Sad.
Bloodline is an essential read for any Star Wars fan. Leia Organa gets the spotlight she deserves and though it helps us to understand her motives in Episode VII, I believe it will also help us when December 2017 rolls around for Episode VIII. Though the story’s pacing doesn’t quite move along as well as Gray’s Lost Stars, Bloodline is an entirely different dynamic with a completely different feel.
+ Leia is a strong central lead.
+ Huge ramifications on the Star Wars galaxy and what eventually leads into Episode VII.
+ Good supporting cast and a superb character in Casterfo.
+ Doesn’t need action to be a great Star Wars story.
– The political aspect feels filler at times.
– Pacing can vary.
Check out our review of Claudia Gray’s other Star Wars novel, Star Wars: Lost Stars
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