It’s rather refreshing to finally be getting some of the gaps filled in.
Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: Bloodline, out today, isn’t the first to give us a look at the galaxy beyond Return of the Jedi in the new canon. (It isn’t even Gray’s first, technically.) But it the closest to The Force Awakens so far, set less than a decade before the film. It’s also the first to feature a major character in anything beyond a glorified cameo. This is, by far, the canon novel with the most mass appeal to Expanded Universe fans new and old.
And yes, it’s good. I admit, I am worried that those of us who got and talked (vaguely) about the book early may be overselling the novel. After all, that’s what happened to me with Gray’s previous Star Wars book, Lost Stars. There was no early copy for me there, and it was the last of the Journey to The Force Awakens books I read. And it was fine! But I suspect the unrelenting hype damaged it a bit for me. (I may also be extremely a tiny bit burnt out on YA-style romance.)
Bloodline, on the other hand, was a blistering fast read for me. The minute I got it, I couldn’t put it down. As anyone who was following me on Twitter may have noticed, I read it in three hours. I honestly can’t recall the last time I read a Star Wars novel at that speed. It might have been back in the ’90s?
Lots for The Force Awakens fans this week, as Bloodline by Claudia Gray drops Tuesday. The Leia-centric novel has been among the most anticipated since it was announced. (Look for my review tomorrow.) Out on Wednesday is Poe Dameron #2.
The first Star Wars novel to be set after Return of the Jedi, Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire was released in hardcover on May 1, 1991. It was the first major step out of what’s now called ‘the Dark Times,’ when Star Wars was (mostly) a dormant franchise. The book was immensely successful and helped prove there was still an audience for Star Wars
Although now classified as non-canon ‘Legends’, along with the rest of the pre-2014 Expanded Universe, Heir remains an important part of franchise and fandom history. Hell, we wouldn’t exist without it.
Also it’s a damn good story and you should read it (along with ’92’s Dark Force Rising and ’93’s The Last Command) if you haven’t already. Though note I am totally biased.
Lucasfilm senior editor Jennifer Heddle writes about Claudia Gray’s Bloodline on StarWars.com, teasing eight reasons why fans will want to read it. Among them: “Some of the story ideas and elements in this novel came straight from Rian Johnson, director of the forthcoming Episode VIII.”
Although it was never officially announced, it appears that The Making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens book from Mark Cotta Vaz and J.W. Rinzler has been canceled. A listing for the book appeared before the movie – usually a reliable indicator – and it was pushed back to October before the film’s release. However, it now it no longer appears on the publisher’s site, and Florian at Jedi Bibliothek found a listing on BookManager that says it’s been canceled..
All-out cancellations are rare, but I don’t expect we’ll get any word on the reasoning anytime soon. (Again, it was never actually announced.) My only guess is that it may have something to do with the lawsuit over Harrison Ford’s on-set injury. Note the incident isn’t mentioned in the official behind-the-scenes documentary on The Force Awakens Blu-ray – and may be off-limits until the legal issues have been worked out. Everyone loves the original trilogy Making of books, but here’s hoping we won’t have to wait 30 years for this one.
Looking at what’s already on the shelves, our own James interviewed author Pablo Hidalgo about the updated Star Wars Character Encyclopedia on StarWars.com.
Next week’s big release is Claudia Gray’s Bloodline, a Leia-centric novel that answers a question or two raised by The Force Awakens. (You can get a look at the first three chapters by subscribing to a newsletter from Playcrafting.) Look for my review on the release date, May 3.
Bloodline may be locked, but there have been minor shifts in the release dates of our next significant ROTJ-TFA bridge novels. Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Life Debt moves up a week to July 12, while the third book in the trilogy, Empire’s End, goes back a week to January 24. Our release schedule has been updated.
We’ve got a new episode of Unboxing Star Wars! Yowie and I hit the road for the Star Wars Rebels finale screening at Walt Disney Studios and we review ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’. I also check out Star Wars Character Encyclopedia Updated and Expanded by Pablo Hidalgo and Simon Beecroft, from DK. Plus I give a quick review of the first issue of the Poe Dameron comic, while Baby Jawa plays with a new R2-D2 toy and we check out some of the new Star Wars stuff we’ve picked up. And at the end, some Baby Jawa fun time!