When Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters back in 2015, many were left with a lot of questions about what exactly happened in the 30 years that had passed since the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. Sure, we had novels and comic books to fill in the gap, but then Disney threw everything that we thought we knew out the window, calling it Star Wars Legends, causing us to realize that we had no idea what actually took place during that time. Enter a new line of Star Wars novels, including Bloodline by Claudia Gray, that are the new official canon.
Taking place six years before the events of The Force Awakens, Bloodline tells the story of Princess Leia Organa as she serves as a member of the Galactic Senate of the New Republic. While the premise may sound a bit dull, whenever Princess Leia is involved, you can bet that it’s anything but. Just check out the publisher’s summary:
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 that 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….
Bloodline is Claudia Gray’s second foray into Star Wars novels. Her previous adventure, Star Wars: Lost Stars, was an amazing read that I highly recommend, but it’s Bloodline that cements her position as a quality author of the Star Wars universe.
In Bloodline, Gray gets the opportunity to show Star Wars fans what she can do with a major character, and she nails it. Not only does she perfectly capture Leia’s determination, resourcefulness, and character, she does it while introducing us to a slew of new characters that are as vivid and as real as any from the movies. In addition, we get to see examples of the ineffectiveness of the New Republic, and how it leads to seeds being sown for the rise of both the Resistance and The First Order.
I love how Bloodline gives fans ample amounts of what we crave, specifically information about the post-Jedi/pre-Force Awakens lives of our heroes, including how they appear to have gone their separate ways, as well as a more detailed and satisfying understanding of the state of the galaxy and its leadership. Thanks to Bloodline, we now have some idea of what was taking place during the events leading up to The Force Awakens which is extremely satisfying. Gray also manages to skillfully balance big ideas with spot-on characterizations and well-paced action throughout the book. Here’s hoping that we see more novels like this in the Star Wars Universe.