Star Wars: Leia, Princess of Alderaan (2017) – Claudia Gray

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Over the course of three novels, Claudia Gray has proven herself to be my favourite voice in the new Star Wars canon books. Her latest novel, Leia, Princess of Alderaan gives us a look at the teen years of the young princess.

Living as the adopted daughter of Queen Breha and her viceroy, Bail Organa, Leia is about to undergo three trials to prove herself ready to become queen. But even as she prepares, and continues with her training for the senate, she is about to be thrust into a world larger than the one she knew.

Bail and Breha have become distant, and uncommunicative, and the young woman is feeling isolated and alone.

Changes, however, are coming as Leia falls in love for the first time, while at the same time learning about the existence of a brewing rebellion against the tyrannical Empire – and her parents’ involvement in it.

Gray’s writing style perfectly balances the life of a young woman struggling with who she is, and about to become, with the Star Wars universe we have come to love.

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There are hints and nods to things we know are coming, there is the planting of seeds for The Last Jedi (including a visit to the planet Crait), and Gray creates iconic moments of her own, as Leia becomes the person we come to know.

While the book may be aimed at the teen reading age group, it entertains and captivates completely. Gray knows the worlds Leia visits, and she knows the princess incredibly well, bringing her to life in a way we’ve never seen before.

The story ends up being bittersweet as we experience Leia’s first love, the relationship with her parents, and the ultimate conclusion of the book, knowing, as we do, what is to come.

I love the way Gray writes, injecting a believable reality (well in Star Wars terms), while expanding the canon of the universe that so many of us have come to love. As such I have high hopes that Gray will continue to tell us Star Wars tales.

There are so many moments that any teen, or any one who was a teen will recognise in this book. What she has done is take those bits of youth, and juxtaposed them against the backdrop of Alderaan, Coruscant, Crait, and the galactic backdrop that will soon be torn apart by civil war.

Loved it! And it takes us that much closer to The Last Jedi!!!

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