Living between Star Wars films is like living in some kind of limbo. The Last Jedi is months away and it’s been almost a year since the release of Rogue One. How do we fill the gap, you ask?
With a Star Wars book. Yes, a book.
The newly released paperback Star Wars: Bloodline is a worthwhile read for any fan who wants to know a little more about how the First Order came to power. It details the events that led to The Force Awakens, with enough held back that it leaves the films’ central questions unanswered. It also provides a glimpse into the private, more ordinary lives of Leia, Han, and son Ben.
First thing’s first, the story is told from the perspective of Leia Organa, remaining a complex and interesting character in the Star Wars universe, but more often than not, overlooked – and with the passing of Carrie Fisher, any expansion the writers had planned for her character might well be curtailed. Bloodline adds more depth to her character – she is a senator – not a general, or a princess. She’s a key member of the New Republic’s Galactic Senate, who rise to power once the Empire has been defeated, and while this all sounds very political, Bloodline makes even this interesting (unlike the prequels’ wealth of dull senate hearings). And having Leia as the story’s central figure, it helps us to rationalise what has happened to her. She’s a war hero, and she has a role to play in the unofficial Populists faction.
The book also does a great deal to personalise the Dark Side of the Force. One of, if not the central theme is Vader’s fall. And around this, we are shown the differences between Luke and Leia’s experiences surrounding their father – Luke fought for his father’s redemption, and he was there to see the moment he was saved, yet Leia spent her life hating Vader, but she was never able to see him after turning back to the Light. Simply put, Luke has closure, Leia does not. Bloodline explores this and the effect it has on her family – especially Force-sensitive son, Ben.
If anything, Bloodline makes the ending of The Force Awakens more heart-breaking, as the book shows that (albeit briefly) Leia, Han and Ben were a happy family. A far cry from the couple desperately trying to find time to spend together, while also working to retrieve their son from the clutches of the Dark Side.
Bloodline is an exceptionally good way of exploring the rise of the First Order and filling in the gaps between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. It’s a must-read for Star Wars fans!