Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray, narrated by January LaVoy

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Witness the birth of the Resistance

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.

This is one of the top notch Star Wars novels. It’s my first Claudia Gray novel and she is an excellent author. (I plan to read more of her work. My sister is a fan of her Firebird series.)

Leia is so in character and it’s fantastic. Gray wrote her perfectly. She really got her intelligence, her heart, her temper and her sass so well.

There is some action and adventure in the story, but it is more political – and not in a boring way. The story takes place six years prior to Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Not an era I care for but after reading this I have more insight into how the First Order came to power.

January LaVoy’s narration was great. She sounded similar to older Leia’s voice. Her voice for Lady Carise Sindian was spot on because she sounded just like a prissy royal bitch. And I liked what she did for Ransolm Casterfo’s voice. It was great for his character development where he starts out as a stuffy ass and then by the end you are sympathizing with him.

I loved the development of the friendship between Leia and Ransolm. The turn around from enemies to friends to enemies to friends again was an emotional rollercoaster.

I can’t go further without going into some spoilers:

What was funny was that when I was at Celebration Chicago I was 2 hours away from finishing the audiobook and Claudia Gray spoiled the end for me when she said she didn’t give Ransolm a happy ending but maybe she would save him one day. Luckily she did not say WHAT happened to him so I still had to discover that detail. And really, it hurt to see him used as a scapegoat. Lady Carise needs to die. Leia ripping her titles away from her at the end were not enough.

I was heartbroken that Han and Leia relationship was long distance. I loved the small scenes they had together, but I felt one of my ships has been split.

I also felt that not telling Ben the truth about Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader was so stupid. This is not Gray’s choice, I am almost sure, but something to fit into the story of the films. It’s once again so out of character for Luke. I would think he would be proud and want to use Anakin’s redemption as a teaching point for Ben and the other Jedi.

Leia’s feelings about Vader and her anger was spot on! I especially loved when she addressed the Senate to remind them that Padmé was her mother and a good person. My favorite was the very end when she felt anger at the injustice of Ransolm’s arrest and she then had an inkling of an idea of why Anakin turned to the Dark Side. But also being Leia she held back and didn’t fall herself.

I am not a great fan of this Sequel era of Star Wars, and it was being a Leia centric story that really pushed me to listen to this audiobook. I am glad I did.

4 out of 5 Senators

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