I’ll be posting more about this next week, but changes are coming soon to the blog! With that comes a change in reviewing book companions & adaptations of movies. Rather than making them part of my regular Friday post, I’ll be starting something called “Adaptations Wednesday.” Whenever I read a book that exists in a primary movie universe, it’ll come as a surprise extra review during the week.
Before that happens, however, I bring you this review of Leia, Princess of Alderaan. Claudia Gray has done it again!
In this book we meet Princess Leia as she was before the Star Wars movie timeline. Leia, while undergoing the process of taking over as Alderaan’s new ruler, begins navigating new political waters as she catches wind of a rebellion uprising against the Empire.
When you watch the Star Wars movies, you don’t imagine this as a possible prequel. Leia is so important to the rebellion in A New Hope, or even in Rogue One, that you imagine that it was always this way. She wasn’t always vital, however. And that change in status is the direct result of parental love. To be clear, I adore the Organas. Bail and Breha are some of my most favorite Star Wars characters of all time.
For a lot of the book Leia doesn’t even know her parents are part of a rebellion movement. She thinks they are neglecting her, and burning through all of Alderaan’s money in the process. Watching Leia sneak around, figuring everything out, was more wonderful than I could have dreamed. And really funny, considering her initial assumptions. Leia is incredibly intelligent, and far more observant than most teens her age. The best part of this identity trait is how much it fits movie canon. Leia is a brilliant political mind even when the movies don’t give her due credit.
I love this version of Leia. I love her pre-Rebellion identity. I love watching her make friends with other young up-and-coming politicians. I love watching her fall in love with someone who isn’t Han Solo. (That is not shade towards Han. It’s just really interesting to see how her first love might have affected her choice for lifetime love.)
Best of all, this was a true Star Wars book. My biggest complaint for any SW book is that it isn’t Star Wars-y enough, but Claudia Gray never disappoints.
As a “Journey to the Last Jedi” title, you might expect more big reveals. Alas, this book is only a prequel. That doesn’t mean it lacks a Last Jedi connection, however. In this book we meet a new character, Amilyn Holdo. She happens to be in Last Jedi, played by Laura Dern. This book contains the most new information about this character available thus far. It definitely makes me more excited for the movie!
Another cool aspect? We get a prequel trilogy callback in the form of Captain Panaka, now known as Grand Moff Panaka. As someone who grew up with the prequels, I actually like them. And definitely appreciate whenever they get call-outs.
Even with the SW geekery put aside, this book is still pretty amazing. If you haven’t touched a Star Wars movie, or anything related to Star Wars, there is still much that can be enjoyed about this book.