A young adult novel, written by New York Times Best-selling author Claudia Gray, about sixteen-year-old Princess Leia, set before A New Hope.
Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her life so far: proving herself in the areas of body, mind, and heart to be formally named heir to the throne of Alderaan. She’s taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control. But Leia has worries beyond her claim to the crown. Her parents, Breha and Bail, aren’t acting like themselves lately; they are distant and preoccupied, seemingly more concerned with throwing dinner parties for their allies in the Senate than they are with their own daughter. Determined to uncover her parents’ secrets, Leia starts down an increasingly dangerous path that puts her right under the watchful eye of the Empire. And when Leia discovers what her parents and their allies are planning behind closed doors, she finds herself facing what seems like an impossible choice: dedicate herself to the people of Alderaan – including the man she loves – or to the galaxy at large, which is in desperate need of a rebel hero…
It’s no secret that I love everything Claudia Gray writes, especially when it has to do with Star Wars; Bloodline and Lost Stars are two of my favorite Star Wars novels to-date. Leia, Princess of Alderaan is no different – I absolutely loved it! I couldn’t put it down!
Through Leia, Princess of Alderaan, we get a new look at Leia as a young adult; we’ve only ever known Leia as an adult and full member of the rebel alliance – first a Princess, then a General. But through Gray’s latest novel, we get a look at her life on Alderaan, her education and early experiences in the Imperial Senate, and her family life with Breha and Bail Organa.
On the Star Wars Canon timeline, Leia, Princess of Alderaan takes place across the span of a year at the end of the Star Wars: Rebels era in the period leading up to the events of Rogue One and a New Hope. To give you a more specific idea of where Leia, Princess of Alderaan falls on the canon timeline, it more or less occurs during Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree’s first year at the Royal Imperial Academy on Coruscant (from Lost Stars – if you haven’t read this yet, just go ahead and do it!).
Gray covers a lot of ground in the span of this year. Leia experiences her first formal appearance on Alderaan in her official capacity as Princess; she travels to other worlds, experiencing first-hand the harsh conditions of the Empire; she discovers the foundations of the Rebellion; and she falls in love. The lessons she learns in this year end up shaping the rest of her life in truly profound ways.
Even though Leia, Princess of Alderaan is a young adult novel, the themes are mature and serious enough that this can be enjoyed by most Star Wars fans of all ages. I say most, not all, because compared to Lost Stars, Gray’s other young adult Star Wars novel, Leia, Princess of Alderaan read much more like a young adult novel – Leia spends a large amount of time thinking her parents are ignoring her instead of realizing that they are caught up in the foundations of the rebellion; it is a very self-centered teen moment, and I could see certain Star Wars fans being put-off by moments like this.
I personally loved seeing this rare young version of Leia, while she is still innocent, naive, and a bit self-centered. Leia does not yet realize the full power of the Empire or the crimes and wrongdoings they are capable of committing. As a result, Leia’s inexperience, naivete, and self-centeredness leads her to play dangerous games, fall into traps, and she often finds herself in moments where she is in over her head, endangering both her own life and the lives of others.
In addition to young Leia, we get a closer look at Breha and Bail Organa, as well as Mon Mothma and the other secret allies in the Senate who form the foundations of the Rebellion. Star Wars buffs will also delight in the many references to all of the movies, with Easter eggs and surprise cameos scattered throughout. And because technically, this novel falls under the umbrella of Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it is safe to assume that there is some foreshadowing related to Leia’s role in the upcoming movie.
In sum: I loved it! Claudia Gray, just go ahead and take all of my money! Especially when it comes to any and all future Star Wars novels! Give me another one! Or better yet, just go ahead and write all of the Star Wars books from here on out!
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Title: Leia, Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars – The Last Jedi)
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (2017)
Genre: Star Wars, Science-Fiction, The Last Jedi, Space Opera, Young Adult, Teen
Read… over the course of a weekend while… soaking in the bathtub.
Purchase your copy here.
Author: Claudia Gray
“Claudia Gray is a pseudonym. I would like to say that I chose another name so that no one would ever learn the links between my shadowy, dramatic past and the explosive secrets revealed through my characters. This would be a lie. In truth, I took a pseudonym simply because I thought it would be fun to choose my own name. (And it is.)
I write novels full-time, absolutely love it, and hope to be able to do this forever. My home is in New Orleans, is more than 100 years old, and is painted purple. In my free time I read, travel, hike, cook and listen to music. You can keep up with my latest releases, thoughts on writing and various pop-culture musings via Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, GoodReads, Instagram or (of course) my own home page.
If you want to contact me, you can email me here, but your best bet is probably to Tweet me. I don’t do follows on Twitter, but I follow everyone back on Tumblr, Pinterest and GoodReads.”