What Is It Like To Read Star Wars For The First Time? (Bloodline: Part 2)


Bloodline Part 2:  I'm Ready to Read More Star Wars!

Link to Part 1

As I wrote in my previous Article, Bloodline, the latest Star Wars novel written by Claudia Gray, has been my first experience “reading” Star Wars.  I was only half way through the book when I wrote about what it’s like reading Star Wars for the first time, and now that I have completed Bloodline, I can’t wait to read more Star Wars novels!

It has been an amazing experience combining my love of reading with my love of Star Wars which was almost exclusively from watching the movies.  I was afraid that reading Star Wars would not have the same cathartic experience for me that watching the movies has.  I was wrong, and while the experience is different, it still brings many of the same feelings that come about when I watch Star Wars.  Perhaps because I have the movies as a baseline for what the Star Wars Universe is and what it looks like, so when things are described in the novel, it’s easy to place it in my Star Wars perspective.  I, however, was not prepared for Claudia Gray’s writing to whisk me off into the Star Wars Galaxy as if I were sitting on the edge of my seat in a movie theatre watching this episode for the first time and wondering where the plot would go and how it would unfold.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

A huge plot line in the second half of the book, that did keep me on the edge of my seat and refusing to put the book down, revolved around the discovery by Lady Carise that Princess Leia was the daughter of Darth Vader.  This was such an interesting subject to watch unfold in this book due to the fact that it wasn’t clear if this information was common knowledge or not.  Now remember, I’ve not read any of the other books that occur between Return of the Jedi and Bloodline, so I was reading this book with the understanding that Leia found out the truth of who her father was from Luke on the moon of Endor.  It didn’t occur to me that Luke and Leia had kept this information so secretive, especially since seeing The Force Awakens and knowing that Leia’s son was aware of who his grandfather was.  It obviously became evident as I continued reading that the only people who knew this information were Luke, Leia and Han, and at this point, not even Ben Solo knew.  As a Star Wars fan, it was so fulfilling to read this plot line and discover more about how Darth Vader’s legacy and affect on people was central to the galaxy even years after his death.  I was so enthralled as it became obvious that Lady Carise was going to use this information against Leia, but how?  The way she goes about it, involving Casterfo who had developed such a great, trusting relationship with Leia, was so conniving and manipulative, I couldn’t help but want something bad to happen to Carise.  Inevitably, the truth of Leia’s parentage is exposed to all, leaving Casterfo and Leia’s relationship in ruins, and ending any hopes that Leia could run for First Senator of the New Republic.  Claudia Gray did such an incredible job with this plot line, as I was constantly trying to defend Leia in my mind as I’m reading, waiting for the story to have “redemption” for Leia; for her to prove that being the daughter of Darth Vader had no affect on who she was.

This plot line helped carry the story to the conclusion, as we still had the investigation of Rinnrivin Di and the Amaxine Warriors to deal with.  The revelation that Leia was the daughter of Darth Vader almost gave Leia a new attitude, an attitude of indifference to what people thought about her, as she didn’t have to worry about her reputation and running for First Senator.  I wouldn’t necessarily say that she became reckless, but Leia was so determined now, more than ever, to expose Rinnrivin Di and his involvement with what we learn to be the beginnings of the First Order, that she almost became a rogue operative not following the rules of the Senate anymore.  She decides to go to the planet Sibensko with Joph and Greer, and the chapters that describe what takes place on this mission were so action packed and engaging, that it was like watching a movie unfold in my head.  From the point where Leia confronts Rinnrivin Di in one of the tunnels underneath the water, causing his demise and the flooding of the tunnel, to her dramatic escape to the surface of the water, I literally could not put my book down.  As Leia escapes, she becomes stuck on a platform on the water’s surface, and just when you’re waiting to find out how she gets out of this predicament, Claudia Gray gives us the ultimate ending to the chapter; Leia is dramatically rescued by Han, with the perfect line: “Sorry I’m late, sweetheart!”  Now that is some good Star Wars reading!!!!  I was so excited that Han made an appearance in Bloodline, and while his role was short, it was perfectly timed and very true to his character.  

As the book concludes, we see the relationship between Leia and Ransolm Casterfo restored, but only before he has sacrificed himself for Leia’s reputation.  As his name suggests, he does become in a sense a “ransom” to allow Leia to move forward against the corruption in the senate and the rise of the First Order.  In their last conversation they have before Casterfo is taken back to his home planet to inevitably face the death penalty, they exchange such heartfelt sentiment between each other that Leia became incredibly angry at the injustice of his inevitable death.  It is at this point that Leia has some of the most intriguing insight into who her father was, and almost has a sense of understanding that maybe his turn to the Dark Side began in a “desire to save someone or to avenge a great wrong.”  Claudia Gray has been so good at tying this story to the story line in the films, as we know that it was originally Anakin’s desire to save Padme that drove him to the Dark Side.  To see this type of anger swirl in Leia as she loses her good friend, it’s apparent that there may be more of her father in her than she thought?

In a book that has revolved around Princess Leia and her role in the Senate, and the galaxy as a whole, it is more that appropriate that she should have the last line in the book, “It’s time for the Resistance to rise.”  It has been an amazing experience reading this book, and I have loved not only how Claudia Gray has used imagery and history from the Star Wars Films in her writing, but also how well it ties into what we know happens in the Force Awakens, and what will continue to happen as Episode 8 and 9 are released.  Yet Gray has left some gaps in the storyline between Bloodline and The Force Awakens, specifically the realization by Ben Solo that Darth Vader is his Grandfather, and how that influences him turning to the Dark Side.  Will there be another book between Bloodline and The Force Awakens that tackles this story line, or will the next few movies look back into that history?  Whether there will be another book to follow Bloodline or not, my experience reading this book has been so wonderful, that I can’t wait to read more Star Wars novels.

But what should be next?