Leia: Princess of Alderaan (It’s Gonna Get Nerdy Here)

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If you know me, or have happen to have accidentally read my review of Bloodline by Claudia Gray, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of Leia Organa. She knows what’s what, she kicks butt, and slays Hutts. Also, for like the last two months I’ve been telling Brock that there needs to be a Star Wars book about Bail Organa, his back story, how he got involved in all this etc. And while Leia: Princess of Alderaan didn’t exactly do that for me, it’s a step closer! I love Bail Organa, he always seems like such a cool, respectable guy, and he just up and adopts his friend’s baby immediately after her death, I mean COME ON! So anyhow, all that to say, I appreciated seeing a little more Bail in my SW book.

To date, I’ve been super impressed by Claudia Gray’s Star Wars books. Lost Stars is still one of the best SW new canon books I have read, and I adored Bloodline as well because, well, it’s all about Leia. So, naturally, I was super excited to read Leia: Princess of Alderaan, and in fact bought it during Force Friday II at target when they opened at midnight haha.

Princess of Alderaan opens on sixteen year old Leia’s Day of Demand ceremony, where she is beings the process of being the heir to crown of Alderaan (spoiler alert, she’s a princess) and takes us through the events of her essentially earning the title of princess, a feat that I think is pretty cool on it’s own. Leia has to prove she’s good enough to be the princess, that she is good enough to serve as Alderaan’s queen.

There are plenty of fun moments of references to events and characters the Star Wars fans will go “oooh shoot” at, or if you’re like me, will get super excited when Leia first encounters R2-D2 (even though he isn’t named, it’s a sassy too-smart-for-his-own-good  blue astromech, so, yeah, it’s definitely the R2 I know and love).

Also, that moment when I figured out that one of the characters in this book, is going to be one of the new character in The Last Jedi (it took me until the last chapter for it to dawn on me) that moment was golden and effectively got me stoked to see The Last Jedi. Which is the point of these “Journey to” Star Wars books that come out before the new movies.

The biggest (and really, only) disappointment for me with this book is that Leia isn’t nearly as sassy and tough as I would have imagined she would be considering the events in this book occur merely 2 or so years prior to A New Hope. That isn’t to say that Leia isn’t smart, witty, and determined to do the right thing however. This novel is primarily about Leia wanting to do what she can for the worlds that have been screwed over by the Empire, leaving their inhabitants impoverished and struggling to survive, while also learning what it is to be an apprentice senator to the Senate. We see the more altruistic goodness of Leia’s heart, but also her quick witted ability to find some loopholes, beating the Empire at its own game.

Claudia Gray’s sixteen year old Leia just seemed a little juvenile and naive at times, but i suppose for a sixteen year old princess, that’s fair enough. And considering this happened in A New Hope: toshi station

I suppose we can allow Leia to seem a little juvenile at 16 😉

 

All in all, I was bound to love it either way, because I love the character Leia Organa, and even more so love the true rebel that played her, Carrie Fisher.

Sorry, not sorry.

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Bloodline: A Book Review

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First, I should start out by saying I am a total noob when it comes to Star Wars books. This is only the third I have read, the others being the novelization of A New Hope and Claudia Gray’s YA novel Star Wars: Lost Stars. Actually, let me take a sec here, I’m not going to review Lost Stars BUT, it was a great book basically retelling the original trilogy from a whole new perspective. Gray did a great job on Lost Stars and I’m willing to say I think she did a great job with Bloodline too, but like I said, I’m new here.

I know next to nothing about the “extended universe” of Star Wars aside from things my husband has told me, as he has read the majority of the older Star Wars books that are no longer considered canon since Disney bought Lucasfilm. It’s crazy that so many books are now just sort of thrown out, but by basically recreating the canon, Disney just made it a whole lot easier for noobs like me to jump in. Huge fans like my husband know still have the advantage though and known way more than your average “Oh I love the Star Wars movies!” fans. There is SO much to learn, I constantly have to ask Brock questions for clarification, which in any other case would make this a frustrating read, but made reading Bloodline and Lost Stars kind fun because Brock gets excited when I ask him SW questions.

This book. Uhm, nerd alert, I loved it. It takes place about 20 years after the fall of the Empire (episode VI) and follows the story of Senator Leia Organa. The story either follows Leia directly, or those working closely by her, and it’s fantastic.

Spolier alert: Leia Organa is still a badass. Even when she is a 20-some year older former rebel, member of the Galactic Senate. She has committed her life to the senate since she was 14, and still doesn’t give two shits about proper protocol and formalities, it’s awesome guys.

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Without giving too much away, we encounter conspiracy, betrayal, cartels, and secret militias, oh my! Leia has been keeping a secret for a few decades and it’s about to be revealed We meet an array of new characters in Bloodline, and see a few cameos or mentions of classic favorites, most notably Han Solo, husband of Princess Leia and now famous racer. Their married life is certainly no fairy tale, living on separate worlds and all, but adorable and sweet to the core nonetheless.

In this post-Empire world, we have a Galactic Senate, divided into two main parties, the Centrists and Populists. The struggle and suspicion between these two parties plays a major role throughout the story. But there is also a consistent reminder that many things are not black and white, and more complicated than which side of the party line one falls upon.

We find some new and suspicious characters in this book. Gray does a pretty good job of making you wary of these new players, and it is a bit of a roller coaster at times. As I read books I am constantly trying to gauge a characters trustworthiness and decide where they stand. Perhaps everyone reads that way, but I’m usually overly suspicious of characters. Gray supplies up with a lovely little emotional roller coaster when it comes to gauging who we can trust in Bloodline. Casterfo Ransolm is one such character. Ransolm is a Centrist senator and collector of Empire memorabilia. It’s assumed Ransolm will a bit of the antagonist to Leia’s Populist leanings, however it’s not that simple. Casterfo and Leia begin to work together to uncover a possible multi-planet cartel operation and eventually become friends. But when new information is divulged, the proverbial shit hits the fan. Where will people’s loyalties lie?

I also want to just take a second to talk about this cover, because as I mentioned in a previous post; I judge books by their covers. This cover is kind of badass: Leia, Vader and X-wings! It’s eye-catching and appealing to the SW fan in me. It also brings up some immediate questions. Vader and Leia appearing on the same cover of a book called Bloodline? Hmmmm… But that’s all I will say about that.

This book was a fun read, and I would easily recommend to anyone who is even a half-hearted  SW fan. As a more than half-hearted but less than full-on-lunatic fan, I love having this insight into the happens in the SW universe between Return of the Jedi (Ep. VI) and The Force Awakens (Ep. VII) and the fact that this is Leia’s story, makes it even better!

 

 

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