Star Wars: Bloodline – The Rise of the Resistance (spoiler-free review)

I lost a lot of sleep over this book.

Star Wars: Bloodline was so gripping, so page-turning, that I couldn’t put it down even when I knew I needed to get some rest.  Midnight passed.  1am.  1:30am.  Needed to get up to take my daughter to school.  “Forced” myself to put it aside only to pick it up again as soon as I woke up.  From the beginning Claudia Gray’s book was such an easy read that it seemed like I was flipping through the pages.  But as I got closer to the end, I just had to find out what happened next!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..Leia (Carrie Fisher) Ph: Film Frame Copyright 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. and TM. All Right Reserved.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens..Leia (Carrie Fisher) Ph: Film Frame Copyright 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. and TM. All Right Reserved.

Chronicling the beginnings of the Resistance, Star Wars: Bloodline is an exhilarating tale of carefully woven plots, political intrigue, fast-flying action, and wonderful characterization.  Delving deeper into the question of who is Princess Leia Organa, the book revolves around her life years after the Battle of Endor.  She is still a senator and committed servant of the people, but now part of a fractious New Republic government divided between two main groups – the Populists and the Centrists.  Both parties are so entrenched in their own ideology that nearly nothing of importance gets done.  As Leia reflected, “Populists and Centrists agreed on only one point these days: Compromise was for the weak.”

“Populists and Centrists agreed on only one point these days: Compromise was for the weak.”

Bloodline fills in many gaps between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, most notably why there was a need for a Resistance in the first place.  With a New Republic government installed after the end of the Empire and with remnants of the Imperial forces in hiding or on the run, who were the Resistance resisting? How could the First Order have become strong enough to take on the New Republic?  Gray’s book answers many of those questions, but leaves enough unanswered to want more.

Del Rey's newest book in the Star Wars saga - Bloodline written by Claudia Gray
Del Rey’s newest book in the Star Wars saga – Bloodline written by Claudia Gray

Title: Star Wars: Bloodline
Author: Claudia Gray
Cost: $28.00
Age: 13 and up
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Star Wars, fiction

The book is filled with multi-dimensional characters who Gray brings to life through her writing.  She gives each one a deeper sense of importance than just “the sidekick,” “the rogue,” or “the villain” and she does it with a deft hand.  Sometimes she goes in depth into a character’s background while other times she fills in the gap with a single sentence.  She wrote for one of her characters, Joph Seastriker, “Answer suffering with kindness. That was what his mothers always said, one of the tenets people on Gatalenta tried to live by.” In one short sentence she said so much about him, his character, his family, and his world.

Of course, the character with the most depth is Leia herself.  Leia’s role as mother, wife, sister, daughter, and senator are explored in nuanced ways that help her character to be even more of a role model than she already is.  But by no means is Leia perfect.  She struggles with her feelings, her sense of duty, her desire to be mother and wife, and her own difficulty in coming to terms with being the daughter of Darth Vader – the most reviled figure in the galaxy.

For those of you who want to know more of the backstory behind The Force Awakens, this is a must-read book.  If you’re a Star Wars fan, this is a must-read book.  If you simply enjoy talented writing, this is a must-read book.  Star Wars: Bloodline by New York Time bestselling author Claudia Gray is definitely worth your while!

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