Book Review: Star Wars ‘LEIA: Princess of Alderaan’ by @claudiagray

Star Wars: LEIA: Princess of Alderaan’

Leia Princess of Alderaan new cover 199x300 - Book Review: Star Wars 'LEIA: Princess of Alderaan' by @claudiagray

By New York Times Best-Selling Author

Claudia Gray

 

Warning: This review may contain spoilers for those that have not read Star Wars: ‘LEIA: Princess of Alderaan.’

‘Publisher’s Perspective’ and Synopsis:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

There was a Princess who became a legend.

Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her life so far: proving herself in the areas of body, mind, and heart to be formally name heir to the throne of Alderaan. She’s taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control. But Leia has worries beyond her claim to the crown. Her parents, Breha and Bail, aren’t acting like themselves lately, they are distant and preoccupied, seemingly more concerned with throwing dinner parties for their allies in the Senate than they are with their own daughter.

Determined to uncover her parents’ secrets, Leia starts down an increasingly dangerous path that puts her right under the watchful eye of the Empire. And when Leia discovers what her parents and their allies are planning behind closed doors, she finds herself facing what seems like an impossible choice: dedicate herself to the people of Alderaan—including the man she loves—or to the galaxy at large, which is in desperate need of a rebel hero…

Review:

New York Times Best-Selling author Claudia Gray gave us the compelling story of ‘Lost Stars.’ Followed by the political rush of the formation of the Resistance and the First Order in ‘Bloodline.’ Now, with her latest contribution to the galaxy far, far away she delivers an impactful beginning to one of Star Wars’ most inspiring characters, ‘Leia: Princess of Alderaan.’

Claudia Gray’s ‘Leia: Princess of Alderaan’ is my ‘turning page.’ Yes, I used a song from the ‘Twilight’ series to reference my feelings for this young adult novel. As the song goes: I’ve waited a hundred years, but I’d wait for a million more–to get a Leia story like this! Leia shines brightly on every page. Her heart, courage, and spirit instill hope. And it’s that hope that shines through every time she walks into a room–it can calm the roughest storm and tame the vicious seas. But, is it enough to unite a galaxy from the evil Empire? Well, I’m in the camp that if anyone can do it, it would be Leia.

That said, I’m going to break this review up into a listicle so that I can give a decent overview on how this book measures up. So, without further ado, here are my top four factors on why you should consider adding ‘Leia: Princess of Alderaan’ to your reading list.

  1. Meet the House of Organa.

One of the most prestigious and poignant families to the galaxy far, far away, other than the Skywalker family, is the Organa family. And thanks to Senator Bail Organa or Viceroy of Alderaan, we’ve had some backstory to refer to throughout the trilogies. But now, thanks to Gray’s new tale on Leia, we get to know someone we only heard about but never really knew, Queen Breha.

Breha Organa is quite the monarch and mother. We get an up-close and personal view of who she is, and what her hopes and dreams are for not only her people but her daughter as well. While she’s a loving and caring mother, she’s also a very serious and determined ruler. And she expects no less from her future heir to the throne. Hence, the tradition of the elder house of Organa known as ‘Day of Demand.’ It’s a declaration or oath taken by the new heir to prove their worth. One of mind, heart, and body. Interestingly enough, the act of ‘body’ almost killed Queen Breha before she could claim the throne. She wears that reminder daily and doesn’t hide it either. Her glowing artificial heart is a badge of honor, not a sign of weakness.

  1. Lies and Deception.

Like all families, at some point, we experience dysfunction and distance. And the Organa family is no different. Granted, Bail and Breha have good intentions behind their secrets, but that doesn’t change the fact that they lie to their daughter. The question to consider is: do they withhold their dealings with the Rebellion from Leia to keep her safe from any involvement? Or, is it more personal? As in, to keep her stowed away as ‘safely anonymous’ from the Empire? Perhaps, it’s both.

The lies and constant cover-ups are what eventually turn this once loving and doting family into ‘ships passing in the night.’ That strain weighs heavily on Leia throughout the story and leads to a rebellious streak against her parents. Maybe, this is what happens to Ben Solo? After all, it is a possible scenario, and it would make a good parallel between mother and son. But for now, we’ll have to wait and see.

  1. Leia’s Origins.

Ok, who doesn’t want more Padmé Amidala in their Star Wars? And even more than that placing Leia on Padmé’s home planet of Naboo! Well, moon, but still, close enough.

So, while Leia is busy meeting the demands of humanitarianism, those needs lead her all the way to the Naboo System. And face-to-face with her birth mother’s loyal captain, now Moff, Quarsh Panaka. To be frank, Panaka is taken aback upon meeting the Princess of Alderaan. So much so, he spills his cup of tea, and the Queen of Naboo thinks he is ill. After he regains his composure, the meeting continues, yet his gaze never leaves Leia’s face. Not even for a second. And we all thought Anakin’s gaze was creepy? Well, if you ask Leia, I think Panaka wins the staring match tenfold. She’s anything but comfortable and the uncanny sense of him ‘knowing’ who she is, puts her on edge.

  1. Clues and Connections to ‘The Last Jedi.’

As an avid reader of Star Wars books, I can personally say that I’ve been waiting a long time for a book like this. We finally have a story that gives us clues and connections to ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi.’

Thanks to Claudia Gray’s attention to detail, we now know that Crait has been a Rebel Base for decades. And Bail himself has been a major player in getting that setup. So, it only makes sense that we would see Leia ‘finish what he started’ in ‘The Last Jedi.’

We also get our first glimpse of Amilyn Holdo and her relationship with Leia. Amilyn Holdo is the Star Wars equivalent to Harry Potter’s Luna Lovegood and I, for one, couldn’t be happier! She’s open-minded with a dreamy disposition, whimsical and tactful too.

All in all, ‘Leia: Princess of Alderaan’ is an essential piece of continuity to the Star Wars universe. Honestly, I can’t see how we got along without it. It adds so much more depth to a character we have grown to admire and adore over the years. Leia is a balance, a symbol of hope, and a force of destiny. And this book by Claudia Gray only reinforces that. Her light in the Force will burn on, always.

****

Special thank you to Disney Books for supplying us with a copy of ‘Star Wars LEIA: Princess of Alderaan’ for review.

Star Wars LEIA: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray and Disney Lucasfilm Press is available now and was released on September 1st, 2017.

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Becca

I do Star Wars! It’s a verb. Former EIC of The Cantina Cast. Host and owner of Kanata’s Castle Podcast and Tarkin’s Top Shelf. A contributor for: Coffee with Kenobi, Jedi News, and Making Star Wars, and a titlist for Lucasfilm artist Steve Anderson.

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