This Article Will Contain Light Spoilers about Star Wars: Bloodline
Star Wars fans, if you truly are Star Wars fans, you will drop whatever you are doing right now, and pick up Star Wars: Bloodline, by Claudia Gray. This book isn’t just a good read that you should pick up because you are a Star Wars fan and like further immersing yourself into the Star Wars Universe. This book is a necessary read for fans who wish to have a far more insightful understanding of why the galaxy is in the state that it is, in Star Wars Episode VII. Bloodlines is Star Wars’ political bridge between Episodes VI and VII. I will try to keep the details minimal as not to ruin the experience for those who have yet to read.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi ends with a major Rebel victory with the destruction of the second Death Star and the defeat of both The Emperor (previously Chancellor Palpatine) and Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith. Quite naturally this leads watchers to believe that the Rebel Alliance has won the war, and the New Republic has retaken the reins from the insidious clutches of the Empire. This is true. So why then does Star Wars Episode VII open up with Stormtroopers ransacking a village as if the Imperials were still in control? Why is is there a new superpower with Tie Fighters, Star Destroyers, and yet another Planetary Battlestation (That’s no Moon!) at his command? Bloodline digs into the meat of all of this.
Early in Bloodline, set 6 years prior to the events of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, we find that the New Republic, established on Hosnian Prime, has divided into two political parties. First is the Populists, who believe that planets should maintain their individual sovereignty, and secondly the Centrists, who favor a strong galactic government and the ruling logic of law and order. Princess Leia, our primary protagonist throughout this story, sides with the Populists, but has a clear issue with the Senate’s inability to solve much of anything, often being held at the mercy of their incessant bickering. She is ready to retire. However, when she sees the opportunity to do good one last time, via talks of a large cartel becoming a problem for shipping lanes in the Ryloth sector, she finds herself teamed up with young contemptuous, yet suave, Centrist Senator, Ransolm Casterfo for the duration of her investigation. Casterfo initially comes off as a Imperial sympathizer, but we learn the true nature of his personality as the book drives on.
If you weren’t a fan of Princess Leia prior to this book, you will undoubtedly be a fan afterwards. Even at nearly 50 years old, she is as bold and contumacious as ever, diving headlong into dangerous situations, while belying the recommendations of her advisors to do whatever is necessary (even bending and breaking rules of the Senate) to get to the root of the illegal cartel’s conception. While she is esteemed for her younger years as an Alliance war hero, she doesn’t allow herself to slack in her duties now. While she has chosen not to pursue the path of the Jedi, despite being force sensitive, readers will find that she is just as much a hero as any Jedi that has ever existed.
Throughout the book we find that Ben (later Kylo Ren) is off with Luke Skywalker, whom the book hints, is making somewhat of a legacy of himself while being separated from society. The name of the “First Order” is dropped as a whisper among the lips of those with intent to establish a new form of government to overthrow the New Republic. Paramilitary factions are secretly formed and in the midst of her pursuing answers as to where these factions have risen from, certain revelations occur that leave Leia and her company facing every possible roadblock looming in her way. These predicaments are not coincidence. Their enemies are furtive and shrewd, but Leia as just cunning, if not more.
Again, if you are a fan, and interested in filling in the Star Wars timeline, Bloodline is the book for you. It’s exceedingly engaging, and you will see characters (beyond the obvious ones) that you’ve seen and read before before, and more pieces of this grand puzzle will start to fit together. Go and buy this book and bring the gap between Episodes VI and VII. You will not be disappointed. May the Force Be With You.