Tuesday brings Claudia Gray’s Bloodline in paperback. The book gives us some insight into the state of the galaxy not so long before The Force Awakens and was one of the best-reviewed Star Wars novels in years. (I gave it an A-.) Wel worth reading, if you haven’t already.
Bloodline has been out for nearly a week now, and we’ve had interviews with author Claudia Gray from Entertainment Weekly and StarWars.com (by our own James!) Questions answered include how she incorporated that one Leia meme, what part of ANH got retconed, and how you pronounce ‘Casterfo.’
Happy Star Wars Day! We’ve got a special episode of Unboxing Star Wars for May the 4th! First, Baby Jawa, Yowie and I check out the fun at “The Dome Awakens”, the Star Wars Day celebration at the downtown San Diego Public Library held on May 1, 2016. Then it’s time to review the recent C-3PO one shot comic by James Robinson and Tony Harris, and get excited for the new Star Wars novel, Bloodline, by Claudia Gray. We finish up with the results of our first try at making Star Wars Jell-o Jigglers, and then some Baby Jawa fun time!
→ C-3PO #1 – A fun (and long-awaited) tale that does indeed explain the origins of Threepio’s red arm. Read this comic then watch the LEGO Star Wars short “The Resistance Rises: Poe to the Rescue” for an interesting crossover of canon and LEGO Star Wars.
→ Bloodline – Strongly recommend! I had high expectations for this novel because of Gray’s first Star Wars novel, Lost Stars, and she surpassed them. I really enjoyed this tale – it’s a top-notch story with some great characters, and Gray nails Leia’s character.
→ Star Wars JELL-O Jigglers Mold Set – Comes with two 6-character mold trays and 4 boxes of Jello! All the characters look great, except Yoda, who is in some sort of action pose which doesn’t quite work right. Be sure to use the special mold instructions on the big box instead of the regular Jiggler instructions on the inside boxes of gelatin.
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.
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.”
The only new Star Wars excerpt contained within is Claudia Gray’s Bloodline (out May 3,) but it also features the complete short stories “Bait” by Alan Dean Foster, “Inbrief” by Janine K. Spendlove, and “Blade Squadron” and “Blade Squadron: Zero Hour” by David J. Williams and Mark S. Williams.
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. . . .
Bloodline will be out in hardcover and eBook on May 3.
The author will remain a mystery for now, and some of us suspect that means it’ll be a name we recognize… Either a Legends standby well-known in the mainstream (a pretty short list) or a brand new ‘name’ author. Note that the movie’s first screenwriter Gary Whitta has shown some interest in doing Star Wars novels…
Authors Adam Bray, Jeffrey Brown, Claudia Gray, John Jackson Miller and Del Rey’s Elizabeth Schaefer were on the panel. Gray revealed that one character from her first Star Wars novel, Lost Stars, will appear in Bloodline. There’s still no sequel planned, but let Lucasfilm and Disney Lucasfilm Press know.
John Jackson Miller had a great explanation of how the Story Group at Lucasfilm has changed things. From Newsarama’s live blog:
Miller explained that the authors working on the current novels work closely with the producers and writers of the films and TV shows that they’ll tie into – including story points that won’t appear on the show for some time. He explained that the reveals and continuity are planned out years in advance, with the various media all tying together and “counting” equally.
There was also a fair amount of talk about naming Star Wars characters, which you can also find the the liveblog. Live tweets under the cut.
Jedi Bibliothek spotted a new summary for Claudia Gray’s Bloodline in the Amazon preview of the Aftermath paperback. It reveals the situation within the New Republic Senate, as well as where the “First Senator” position falls in.
An entire generation has flourished during an era of peace. The New Republic, governed by the Galactic Senate on Hosnian Prime, has held power for more than two decades. The wars that divided the galaxy are fading into legend.
Yet conflict has begun to take shape within the Senate. Two unofficial but powerful factions have formed – the Populists, who believe individual planets should retain almost all authority, and the Centrists, who favor a stronger galactic government and a more powerful military.
As this political gridlock threatens to cripple the fledgling democracy, Centrist leaders have called for the election of a “First Senator.” It is their hope that this powerful position will bring order to the divided Senate. But populists like Senator Leia Organa Solo know all too well the price of such order. Even as the election nears, the divisions between the worlds of the galaxy are growing wider…
It really does say ‘Leia Organa Solo,’ a form of her name we haven’t seen since the old Expanded Universe was decanonized. Typo or revival? (I vote typo.) The blurb is followed by the same excerpt we say with the book’s cover reveal last month.