Science Fiction
 

Star Wars: Battlefront: Bloodline

Author: Claudia Gray

Published By:
Del Rey Books


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

                Now that The Force Awakens has been released, a great many questions have been raised.  One of the biggest is how did the new rebellion come to be?  Well, a new novel, Star Wars Bloodline by Claudia Gray, seeks to answer that question and more.  I’d heard good things about this new Star Wars story and decided to check it out.

                Years have passed since the destruction of the second Death Star and the birth of the New Republic Mon Mothma led the new government for years, but, since her retirement, things have not been going so well.  The New Republic has divided itself into two factions: Populists, who believe that individual planets should retain their own authority, and Centrists, who believe in a stronger galactic government.  The two factions bicker so often amongst themselves that virtually nothing gets done in the Senate, something that Senators in the Old Republic often complained about during their time.

                A new proposal has been put forth in the Senate that will threaten the balance, but may in fact be for the betterment of all – a First Senator who would preside over all and have final say on matters.  Though Leia Organa is not fond of the idea, her Populist party members believe her to be the best candidate.  Leia is flattered, but believes this idea to have very poor timing, especially when she is about to go on an adventure she can’t resist. 

Ryloth has been having problems with a new cartel run by the Nikto Rinnrivin Di and they have asked the Senate to intervene.  Leia and Centrist Senator Ransolm Casterfo have agreed to investigate.  Though Leia disagrees with Casterfo’s politics…and loathes his collection of helmets and such from the days of the Empire…she believes that this young, rash Senator may be smarter than he looks and a worthy traveling companion.

But just as the two start to get closer to the truth regarding Rinnrivin Di’s activities and the construction of a new battle force with ties to the gangster and some Centrist planets, a new crisis arises – one that threatens Leia’s standings in the political field and also her home life.  Can the revelation of her true parentage destroy all that Leia has struggled to build?

When I started reading books with ties to the new Star Wars films, I was worried.  The continuum I knew was now destroyed and I wondered if I would like the new storylines to come.  I shouldn’t have worried.  The powers that be are choosing some great authors to tie up the loose ends and I am really enjoying what they are putting forth.  Claudia Gray has not only captured Leia Organa’s character perfectly, but she has created new characters that are incredibly intriguing, such as the pilot/assistant Greer Sonnel, the X-Wing pilot Joph and Centrist Senator Ransolm Casterfo, who we hate at first, but then grow to really admire.

But I love the “What if” moment in the book.  Remember those old “What If... comics when we were kids?  It gave superhero creators the ability to address how different their characters’ worlds would be if things had been written differently.  In this case, Leia has never told anyone that she knew the man who had become Darth Vader was actually her father.  The fact that she has kept this secret from her close friends, co-workers and even from her own son is shocking to the world at large and has huge repercussions in Leia’s political and personal lives. 

I also loved that this book gives us some insight into what would eventually destroy the New Republic.  History repeats itself with the Senators becoming ineffectual, bickering over everything and never really making any decisions that will better the people of the galaxy at large.  Corruption abounds once again, though well-hidden this time around.  The idea of an army being built to perhaps destroy the New Republic harkens back to Palpatine’s rise to power.  Perhaps, when we learn more of Snoke, we will discover that he is just as crafty as Palpatine ever was.  At any rate, I enjoyed learning the behind-the-scenes workings of the First Order in Bloodline.

Star Wars: Bloodline is well-worth the money I spent on the hardcover version of the novel (which came complete with a double-sided political poster of Leia for First Senator).  The storyline is great and ties up some loose ends while hinting at other stories yet to come.  The characters created for the novel are captivating and you find yourself thoroughly invested in their fates.  The plot twists are not rampant, but the ending will leave you with mouth agape, wondering what just happened.  I, for one, shouted out, “Nooo!”, then quickly looked around and sank in my chair at the stares I got.  Fans of the new Star Wars continuum, this is definitely a book for you, though I venture to say that every Star Wars fan will enjoy Bloodline (and that’s coming from a huge fan of the old continuum)!

 

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