Book cover
I realize that I've read and reviewed a lot of books that I don't really like.  This review isn't that.  I liked the book, Leia; Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray so much that when I found out she had another book in the Star Wars universe, I bought it right away. I really like to keep these reviews spoiler-free, and if I really enjoy a book, I actually have a much harder time writing about it, because - well - everything I enjoy about a book seems like a possible spoiler.

As per the cover of the book, this book happens "In the years before Star Wars: The Force Awakens".  This book starts at a slower pace than Leia, but unlike Leia, this book is bridging a lot of history after the Battle of Endor, and it really sets the stage for The Force Awakens.  The first half of this book is mostly driven by politics, most of the scenes take place in the Galactic Senate chamber.

Wait, keep reading!  I know that if I read the above, I'd have never even picked up this book.  Here's the thing, the author kept it interesting, and more important ... relevant to the plot!  All the political infighting is what gets Leia herself to head up an investigation that gets her both out of the senate and into some real action.

Also, just like Leia, this book has lots of characters show up from movies and other stories.  There were less of these than in Leia, but still, C3PO is present throughout, Han Solo and Chewbacca show up, Snap Wexley shows up, too.

If you have not seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, then the part below the cut could seem like a spoiler.  Also, that is another reason why politics were so important to this story.  Without the detailed politics, there would be a major plot hole.  I'd go so far as to say that this covers some plot-holes in The Force Awakens.

Read this book if you liked The Force Awakens.  Also read this book if you wanted to like The Force Awakens, but felt it seemed too disconnected from the rest of the Star Wars history.  Read this book if you want to hear Leia's voice clearly (Claudia Gray clearly gets the Leia character very well).  On the other hand, if Star Wars isn't your thing (that's okay), then it's possible that the references and history won't mean anything to you.  Myself, though, I highly recommend this book.

One of the first things that struck me about The Force Awakens was how the New Republic leadership could exist but yet never know that a force as huge as The First Order had been gathered against them, without them knowing.  Bloodline does a really good and convincing job of describing how the government stayed blind to it.

Science Fiction
Disney Press/DelRey
Released: 31 January 2017
Softcover, 432 pages