Synopsis: 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…
“She realized, then, something she had never fully understood before. She’d always wondered what had led her father to turn to the dark side, to become Darth Vader. She’d imagined it came from ambition, greed, or some other venal weakness. Never had she considered that the turn might begin in a better place, out of the desire to save someone or to avenge a great wrong. Even if it led to evil, that first impulse might be born out of loyalty, a sense of justice, or even love.”
Bloodline takes place six years before the events in The Force Awakens, which provides us with more insight into the politics we see in TFA. Rian Johnson even helped with certain elements of the story, which is pretty rad!
There are two political factions with opposing ideals vying for power, the Populists & Centrists. Leia is a well-known Populist, but struggles with the position she has been thrust into. This isn’t made any easier by the revelation of who her birth father is..
This is the second Star Wars book that Claudia Gray has written. Her first, Lost Stars, fucking wrecked me! I was left feeling raw & buzzy & just.. ALL THE THINGS!! Although I didn’t feel the same way with Bloodline, it’s still worth reading, because of course. STAR WARS!! Plus, I will devour anything & everything with my beloved Leia in it.
However. HOWEVER. The characterization of Leia in this book felt incredibly hollow to me. Her essence wasn’t there. Which.. is not something that is easily overlooked when the ENTIRE STORY CENTERS AROUND HER!! In all of the canon portrayals of Leia that I’ve read so far, this one unfortunately missed the mark the most for me. To be fair, I wasn’t a huge fan of Gray’s portrayal of Leia in Princess of Alderaan, either. I thought perhaps that was just because she was a teenager. Not quite the Leia that we know & love. But.. apparently it’s just how Gray writes her that I’m not into! Back in January I reviewed Life Debt by Chuck Wendig & I had a vastly different experience with Leia’s character. To me, he nailed her fundamental being.
Overall, Bloodline just seemed flat. It wasn’t a bad book. It was fine. Truthfully, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start your Star Wars canon journey. If someone wanted to venture into the literary side of Star Wars, or they have only read a few up to this point, this would be a comfortable place to jump in. Fuck.. way to sell it, Holly! I know it’s not a ringing endorsement, but I’ve read over 60 Star Wars books people! I’m not going to fall madly in love with every single one. I am able to separate my feelings for a story & still be able to recommend it to others that I think will appreciate it more than I did. Bloodline was a good story with political intrigue, corruption, assassination attempts, a few cool action sequences, the fall of the New Republic, the rise of the First Order & some wonderful scenes between Leia & Han.
Everything in the new canon feels connected at least in some way, whether it is vital or not. The Force Awakens is my second favorite Star Wars movie (next only to Empire) & Bloodline helps to fill in some of the blanks of what happened after Return of the Jedi & before The Force Awakens. There is a lot of content that goes on during such a large chunk of time, so I’m always anxious to read more about that era!
Even if it’s a Star Wars book that I wasn’t completely obsessed with, I still can’t help but nerd out. I’M A STAR WARS!!
“I’d rather burn in a better kind of flame.”