Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray (Century)

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…

So far the new expanded universe has been a very promising one with several stellar novels from awesome writers. Not a single novel that I’ve read has been a disappointment, with titles like Dark Disciple, Lost Stars and Lords of the Sith being very exciting indeed. But few books so far from the expanded universe have been able to explore the period between that of The Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, or at least in any great detail, so that is where Bloodline comes in, and it’s a thrilling political novel that holds nothing back as Claudia Gray once again reminds us of why she’s one of this new Star Wars Universe’s best writers.

Politics was unfortunately one of the weakest parts of Lucas’ prequel trilogy as they never really worked and were often boring. Put aside any worries of that being repeated here though as Gray manages to make it interesting, dispensing of the usual Jedi vs. Sith battles that most Star Wars writers go for in favour of a more behind the scenes look into how things are run in the Star Wars Universe. The book explores what spurred Leia to create another Rebellion, or in this case, the Resistance, and with help from director Rian Johnson, sheds some light on the events that led us to The Force Awakens, putting Leia in the spotlight.

Seeing Leia take centre stage is great because she’s one of my favourite Star Wars characters and Gray writes her very well indeed. Her experience as a hero of the Rebellion really shows, taking threats seriously whereas other politicians don’t for example. She’s tasked with dangers on all sides, including from her past due to her parentage as Vader’s daughter.

The book is set a few years before the events of The Force Awakens but don’t expect to see questions like the identities of Rey’s parents asked here, and indeed, there’s not a lot of focus on any of the other trio of Luke and Han, although we do get to see how well Han is coping with a ship that isn’t the Falcon. It’s Leia’s book, and it really shows, playing to her strengths as a character very well.

Political intrigue hasn’t always been Star Wars’ strongest element but Gray has managed to pull it off well, bringing some great development to the table in terms the characters featured here. Bloodline also manages to move along at a great pace as well, handling its complex plot strongly. Once again Gray has continued to establish herself as one of the most promising Star Wars writers in the new expanded universe and I really can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. A must read for fans of the film series.

VERDICT: 8/10

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