Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Book Review: Leia Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray

Leia, Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi)

by Claudia Gray

Hardcover, 409 pages

Published September 2017 by Disney Lucasfilm Press

Part of the Disney plan for Star Wars that I enjoy as a nerd is that they are publishing canon books up to the events of each new film. Before Force Awakens there were several "Journey to the..." books I enjoyed that I felt added depth to the story and even answered questions. The absolute best of those Journey to the Force Awakens novels was a General Leia novel called Bloodline written by Claudia Gray. I am quickly coming to the opinion that Gray is the best author writing expanded universe novels at the moment. Her short story was the best in "From a Certain Point of View" and bloodline was a stunner.

For fans of Leia as a character Bloodline is a must read. It details more of the how how and why the first order happened, and the resistance to it. All of this happens against the back drop of the galaxy finding the true bloodline of Leia. Claudia Gray nailed that story in way that you understand why Lucasfilm came back to her to tell this prequel story that is about a young teenage Leia.

You might wonder how this serves to bridge the story to Last Jedi but it does. Introducing us to how Leia the rebel was born and forged despite her privledge. It introduces us to the young Amilyn Holdo who was played by Laura Dern in the film. Some of this books best moments add a depth to Holdo's sacrifice and her last scene with Leia. A scene that Carrie Fisher suggested herself.

It also introduces us to one of the most important settings of Last Jedi and explains it's existence. So yes it is tied to the new film in ways that are sometimes small sometimes big. I enjoyed alot of the scenes that should the resistance in-fighting that tied to Rogue one and saw Bail Organa butting heads with radical Saw Gurrea.

To me the best moment in the book is when Grand Moff Tarkin surprises the Organa family on Alderaan and is invited for dinner. He suspects them of being in the rebellion. The dinner is fantastic scene that shows Leia and her whole family working together to deceive Tarkin and protect rebels. It also adds an extra level of evil to his actions in New Hope. This scene stole the whole book for me.

Well I am convinced enough I decided to read Gray's original YA space opera novel Defy the Stars. I am reading that now so I will of course write a review. I need to read her SW novel Lost Stars but if Gray writes a Star Wars novel you can bet I'll be reading it.

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