Bloodline is one of the many books released to accompany The Force Awakens in 2015 and is set nearly 25 years after the defeat of the Empire. The book is without a doubt a combination of a political and action/adventure story with Leia at the centre of it all.
The plot for Bloodline is brilliant as it differentiates Leia’s heroism with Vader’s villainy and shows how both are responsible for the forming of the Resistance and the First Order.
Leia is no longer the princess and daughter of Bail Organa, hero of the rebellion, and a figure idolised by magnitudes of people; She is simply Leia, daughter of Darth Vader, who because of her blood ties is betrayed and doubted by nearly everyone around her.
Tired of the hidden conflicts and competitiveness of the Galactic Senate, Leia wants out. The New Republic is at a standstill with the Senate split between Centrists and Populists, two parties that cannot agree on the smallest of matters. During a ceremony in which a statue of Bail Organa is presented, Leia observes the obvious divide between her fellow politicians and decides that she has had enough.
Rinnrivin Di, a Kajain’sa’Nikto crime lord operating a powerful and dangerous cartel from the planet Bastatha is brought to the attention of the Senate after reports of Twi’lek shipments and merchants being targeted. Di’s cartel targeted the commercial shipping lanes around Ryloth, and were considered to be a rival to even the greatest Hutt crime organisations at their peak.
When the Senate is asked to investigate the cartel, Leia steps forward with the feeling that this could be her last useful mission before she finishes her career as a politician. The discussion changes when Centrist Senator Lady Carise Sindian makes a bold statement claiming that the Centrists and Populists cannot come to any conclusions regarding matters which means they need a single leader, with real authority… Someone who isn’t afraid to make the difficult decisions.
Leia seems to be the only choice, in the eyes of the Senate, but she isn’t convinced as this is what lead to the forming of the Empire, one person with too much authority on their hands. Ransolm Casterfo, a Centrist Senator with a fan-boy attitude towards the Empire saw things differently to Leia, believing the only thing wrong with the Empire was the Emperor.
Casterfo joins Leia’s mission alongside Greer Sonell, Joph Seastriker, and Korr Sella. Greer is a former pilot who is now effectively Leia’s right hand woman. Joph Seastriker is an X-Wing pilot who was assigned to Leia’s team for the assignment, and Korr Sella, Leia’s 16 year old political intern.
These new additions to the Star Wars Universe are a delight and Claudia Gray makes each of them stand out in their own right; despite being a story predominantly about Leia, readers will also see themselves paying close attention to the dealings of these characters.
There is also an immersive tone to this story throughout, whether it’s being on Hosnian Prime whilst Senators from all different parties go back and forth with no resolve, or on Bastatha while Leia and Ransolm investigate the dealings of crime lord Rinnrivin Di, readers will feel a part of the journey at all times.
Star Wars: Bloodline gives a real insight into the Republic with Gray writing a captivating plot to develop the character of Leia and her supporting cast. For anyone looking to fill the gaps between the events of Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens or even just to read an encapsulating Star Wars story, this is the book for you!