Thursday, October 11, 2018

Review: STAR WARS: Leia, Princess of Alderaan By Claudia Gray

STAR WARS: Leia, Princess of Alderaan By Claudia Gray
Publisher: Disney LucasFilm Press
Release Date: September 1st, 2017
Format: Hardback
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

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 named 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 the galaxy at large, which is in desperate need of a rebel hero
Okay, full disclosure, Claudia Gray is my favorite of the new Star Wars canon authors and she 100% gets how to write Leia. I'm not sure if I want another author to try to tackle a book centered around her, because Gray just gets it and she really gets how to write for Star Wars. However! This was hard sell at first, and I honestly didn't think I was going to finish this book and give it a 5-star rating. 

Let's jump in!

When I started this book I didn't think it was necessarily going to be a hit for me, I knew I would like it, but when I started it I couldn't help but feel like the writing was a little too simple. I know this is young Princess Leia and it's Young Adult, but I read a lot of YA and I haven't noticed the writing being this simple. I think it might have just been the start of the story since Leia is so, "I'm not a child!!" in the beginning of the book. Once I came to see that this was a true coming of age story, that's when I really started to understand "this" Leia. 

The Leia in this book is not the Leia we meet in A New Hope. This Leia is young, naive and makes a lot of mistakes. She acts without thinking, and even though her intentions are good, she does a lot of things that mess up things in the big picture. The more I read about her, the more I realized, "Holy crap, she's just like Anakin!" I've always felt like Leia has this rage about her, much like her father, but we always think she's more like Padmé because of the politics. I think she has parts of both of them, and I definitely think her upbringing with the Organas shaped her to become a mature adult, but in this story she is not there yet.

This book has a ton of foreshadowing in it, especially with the end of the book. Which absolutely crushed me! This book is still early days for The Rebellion, and it's before Leia has officially been brought into the fold, so it was fun to read about her unraveling the mystery when we already know that she is going to to be heavily involved with it. The book also has hints on stuff we already know about Leia, which I really loved, and it plays a lot on the lore of the prequels. One particular instance of this is when Leia visits Naboo. These scene absolutely crushed me, because it's really clear that Padme's ghost haunts that planet. I don't know if the Queen Dalné knows much about Padmé, but Leia meets a character from the prequels that knew Padmé specifically and his expression of shock when he looks at Leia really cemented that idea in my head. I also think there are a couple scenes that hint majorly that Leia can use the force. One in particular is when she is really pissed at her pathfinders group and a mudslide happens. I'm 85% sure Leia did it, not on purpose, but because she doesn't know what the force is or how to control it. The rage she mentions boiling over, sounds exactly like Anakin.

One thing that really bothered me about Leia's parents is that they kept her in the dark too much. I really was annoyed that she didn't know anything about her real parents. Leia knows she is adopted, but she never thinks it's important enough to know about them. I really wish the Organas would have told her at least about Padmé. I still think that part in Return of The Jedi is a plot hole now, and it annoys me. They also stupidly keep in her the dark about the Rebellion. I understand they are just trying to protect her because they think if she is truly in the dark and they get caught, then the empire won't hurt her. Thats's really stupid, because I don't think it matters, the Empire would probably kill her anyway. I think if they hadn't kept her in the dark so much, it would have alleviated a lot of issues her actions in this book cause. 

I was glad we got to see more of Leia interacting with her parents. We see a little bit of Bail in the prequels, but I think we know next to nothing about her mother, Breha. Breha was a really interesting character, and I never realized that it was actually her that was the Monarch of Alderaan, not Bail. I also like that she's more interested in her accounting work than politics! Breha seems cool and she owns her mistakes, so I definitely see where Leia gets some of her strength from. 

There was so much stuff happening in this book, but I feel like if I touch on everything this will be way too long and no one will read it. I think the book touches a lot on how Leia becomes who is she is. It also explains why she is so hesitant to Han's flirtations. When we meet Leia in A New Hope, she is a more mature Leia that only has eyes for one thing -- defeating the empire. I adored this book, and I think if you are a fan of Leia or Claudia Gray it will be a hit for you.

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Happy Reads Everyone!