Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Review: Star Wars Bloodlines

Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

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…

So, I'm still very new to Star Wars books, I haven't read as many as other reviewers, but this is one of the best that I have read! Honestly, I'm a fan of Claudia Gray's anyway, but if Lost Stars is as good as this book then I need to pick it up immediately! This book is set about 5 years before Episode 7 (I think) and shows us how the First Order rose to power, and how the Resistance was born. 

Bloodlines is all about Leia, as expected, she is older and more weary. She's thinking of retiring from politics and being done with it all and just flying around the galaxy with Han. She's not entirely the Leia we all know, but there are still glimpses of the old Leia from A New Hope and so on. Jaded as Leia may be when it comes to politics, she will still fight for peace with everything she has. I liked seeing this new Leia, it gave insight in to her in The Force Awakens and how she came to be where she was when we saw her in that film. It was also interesting to see her struggling with the knowledge that Darth Vader was her father, with how to tell her son and so on, and I can't say more because of spoilers, but it was very interesting and very well done to see how it effected other relationships. 

There's a lot of politics in this book, Leia is a Senator on The New Republic senate, and when Mon Mothma left the New Republic it descended in to stagnation. Everyone arguing about everything, nothing getting done, and in the midst of all of this, two factions have emerged. Populists (Leia) and Centrists. An idea is brought before the Senate to appoint a First Senator, spearheaded by the Centrists who want things to change and who think some things from the Empire where correct. This First Senator would be given a lot of power, and that's something that really doesn't sit well with Leia after everything she's been through, although she is her parties obvious choice for leader, being a celebrated war hero and you know....Princess. 

Just as Leia is thinking of retiring, she's offered the chance at one last mission when the Senate is made aware of a criminal organisation run by a shady kingpin, that's filling the void the Hutts left. But Leia's dream mission turns in to a babysitting job when a Centrist Senator volunteers to go with her. 

This Senator is Ransolm Casterfo and boy did I have an interesting relationship with this character. Princess Leia is my favourite okay, and so I really didn't care for how he was in the beginning and how he spoke to her and so on. They're both on rival parties and they definitely do not get off to a good start, but Gray shows you both sides of the argument. Both characters view points, so it's not long before you can see that Casterfo has a point or two, that despite his questionable taste in decor he doesn't truly mean any harm. It's not long before you find yourself liking him, much like Leia does. I really enjoyed reading about the friendship forming between the two and the end of the book broke my heart, I was so disappointed. It's a complex friendship, right up until the end and it was one of the best parts of the book to read about! 

There's other new characters, or at least ones that are new to me, okay! We have Greer, one of the pilots who Han took under his wing, and who is now working for Leia for mysterious reasons. And we have Joph, who's a bit of a Han Solo fan boy if I do say so, and it made him incredibly endearing when we first meet him. I really liked both of the characters, Joph made me laugh and I liked watching the relationship between the two grow, I'd love to read more about them! 

I think that Gray captures the essence of the characters perfectly and brings them to life for this story with absolute perfection. She writes compellingly, and gives you intrigue and adventure. She gives you a complex relationship that's interesting to read and explore. She fills in the blanks and answers questions I'm sure some of us had after watching The Force Awakens. She gives us the historical and political context that the film was lacking, and it rounds out the film and our knowledge of what happened after Return of the Jedi and how after everything, the First Order could be allowed to rise. We see only a bit of the First Order, how it was being set up and started to rise to power but it was enough. Gray shows us how the Resistance was formed, and I'd love to read more about what happened before The Force Awakens with the Resistance! I just loved getting questions answered and getting to see more of the universe. 

Like I said, there's a lot of politics in the book, we spend a lot of time with the Senate getting to grips with what the political climate is at the time of the book. I found it all to be easy to understand, Gray writes so that while it's complex, it's not too easy and it's not too complicated. We also spend time getting to know more of the galaxy, as we hang out in the criminal underworld on various different planets, and try to work out what the hell they're up to and why! 

Honestly the book is completely brilliant, and the final line sent a shiver up my spine, it was the perfect ending for the book. I realise I'm not as widely read in the Star Wars universe as others so it probably doesn't mean much when I say it's the best one I've read, but it's true! I also need to fangirl about Han in this book, because he and Leia gave me so many feels. SO MANY. 

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