This week marks the release of a blockbuster new novel in the Star Wars saga: Bloodline, written by Claudia Gray. The novel, the second from Gray after penning last year’s critically-acclaimed Star Wars: Lost Stars, centers on Princess Leia six years before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We see her as a senator in the New Republic, at the height of its power, before the First Order became the threat we saw in The Force Awakens. Leia not only has to contend with an investigation into criminal elements that are plaguing the galaxy, but also with the various political factions that have arisen that threaten the survival of the Republic itself.
Bloodline is a must-read novel for anyone who wants to know more about the state of the galaxy in the years leading up to the The Force Awakens. If you want to know why, keep on reading. But beware: light spoilers follow.
Bloodline Sheds More Light on Princess Leia
By the time we meet Leia again in The Force Awakens, she’s already leading the Resistance against the First Order. But how did she get to this place in her life? What struggles did she have to go through? We know from books like Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary that she was one of the only people who saw the First Order as a true threat and had her reputation in the Senate slandered as a result, but we don’t know how she got to that point. Bloodline lets us learn more about what Leia was like between the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, including her relationship with husband Han Solo and son Ben—who has yet to become Kylo Ren.
The shadow of Darth Vader also looms large over Bloodline. How does Leia deal with being the daughter of a brutal tyrant? Does the rest of the galaxy know? If they did, how would they react? How does that impact Leia’s reputation? Family legacy is a key plot thread in Bloodline, and it was one of the most intriguing things about the book.
Through Leia, we also learn about the various political factions involved in the Republic and how the war that the Rebel Alliance fought to create it is viewed over twenty years later. Who are these factions? What do they believe in? How does the legacy of the Old Republic, Emperor Palpatine, and the Clone Wars continue to live on in the era of the New Republic? All of these questions are answered in this captivating and never-boring political tale.
Bloodline Shows the Origins of the Resistance
Much like the Rebel Alliance before it, the Resistance was formed as a response to the political climate of its day. With a Republic Senate turning a blind eye on threats both imminent and distant, Leia knows that the Republic will not take the necessary action to save itself. It has committed itself to less militarization after the end of the Galactic Civil War. That was a key initiative from Mon Mothma, the first chancellor of the New Republic. When the war ended with the Battle of Jakku and the signing of the Galactic Concordance, the Military Disarmament Act was passed and ceded most military power to planetary militias. The Republic never wanted to build up enough central power that a new emperor could once again exploit the system and take over the galaxy. A good sentiment, but a decision that Leia saw as jeopardizing the galaxy. Unfortunately we know she ended up being right, as the First Order delivered a massive blow to the Republic in The Force Awakens, but what happens beforehand starts to be revealed in Bloodline.
These are the biggest reasons to read Bloodline, but there’s so much more than that. Great new characters, fun adventures, and political drama are some of the many other reasons you should pick this up. Once you read it, send me a tweet and let me know what you thought about the novel!