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. . . .
After reading Bloodline I kinda want to know why the LFL story group thought a novel devoted to politics was a bang up idea. I mean, really guys? Did you not watch the Prequel Trilogy? Well, keeping with the spirit of The Prequel Trilogy, It was a long 70 pages before Bloodline managed to get interesting. This was a very unfortunate circumstance, because the prolonged boring beginning served to showcase the glaring flaw in Bloodline: it’s just not very well executed.
Setting the plot aside for a moment, and focusing on the prose, I found it to be pedestrian, unpolished and lacking in finesse. As well, there were passages of exposition and transition that were amateurishly awkward. I don’t know if Gray needs more time to transition to adult novels, but Bloodline read as a passable Young Adult novel, and a pretty mediocre adult one. Other than that it’s readable, there’s really not a lot I have to say about Gray’s writing that I can put in complimentary terms.
Of course, a lot can be forgiven when the plot is really good, but, with Bloodline, the plot is passable and that’s about it. There’s nothing intricate or complex or particularly compelling about the plot of Bloodline. There’s way too much politics and not nearly enough good action, and, while it does have a few surprises and the actions scenes are actually decently written, there aren’t enough of either of those things. Furthermore, at least one of the surprises was painfully lame and forced. The knowledge that Vader was Leia’s father came about was an implausible and contrived plot device that yanked me right out of my suspension of disbelief.
On a positive side, Gray does seem to have captured an older pre-Force Awakens Leia, with an added layer of satisfaction in a Han and Leia pre-breakup relationship. The marriage is unconventional but happy and supportive. As for the new characters, Gray has basically written archtypes so cliched and insipid I can’t be bothered to remember their names. I’m just going to call them the Eager Young Assistant, the Idealistic Young Pilot and the Jaded Right Hand Woman who might as well be wearing a sign that says “I have a dire secret that you know you’ll be finding out before the end of the book”. Out of the handful of new characters there is one that does manage to be interesting and original. Senator Ransolm Casterfo was one of the nice surprises in Bloodline, but, trust me, you don’t want to get excited about him. There’s really no point in getting your heart broken.
The problem with Bloodline is that it really adds nothing to the lore of Star Wars. It’s a filler book, and when you have a fandom that already knows where the story’s gone, you need to offer them something more dynamic than a filler book. It’s like being hungry and needing a meal, but instead you get empty calories. Before the storygroup gives us another Bloodline, they should sit down and read something like Matthew Stover’s Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. Now that’s how you give fans a hearty meal.
Reviewed by Geralyn