A review by Nalini Haynes
Bloodline. Luke and Leia are descended from Darth Vader; Leia’s son is Kylo Ren, the masked baddie from The Force Awakens. Whose bloodline? Lemme guess…
Senator Leia Organa undertakes an investigation into a criminal cartel because she’s bored with senate politics and wants to do some good before she quits. Then her party, the Populists, decides to make her their candidate for President — I mean First Senator. So she REALLY wants to get away from the senate for a while. Gambling, rushing into kidnap situation where she’s the captive and then running away — or flying away on a speeder bike, arm around her stoopid ‘rescuer’, shooting the crap out of her pursuers… THAT’S what nostalgia is made of: it’s so Return of the Jedi.
For those who watched Star Wars as kids who are now in their 40s and 50s, Leia is in her 40s. She’s a bit ‘Aww, these nice kids’ and a bit ‘will these damn kids get off my lawn!’ I’m sure most of the original fans can relate to some extent.
Han Solo is exemplary husband material — except he’s never there. They Skype. It’s a long-distance relationship. Early on, Leia reminisces over a conversation she had with Han while he was holding baby Ben; later that seems to have been a LONG time ago because now Han is mentoring other kids to compensate for Luke disappearing with their son.
Leia has staff: former pilot turned administrator Greer and intern Korrie as well as the indefatigable C3PO. She acquires a pilot, Joph, who pulls some stunts too. They’re all teens to twenty-somethings so Bloodlines isn’t just for Gen X and late Boomers.
The politics in Bloodlines is reminiscent of United States Democrat versus Republican politics where both sides distrust each other and bickering prevents most real work being done. I suspect Leia’s party, the Populists, stand for Republicans. If this is the case, then does Bloodline predict the murder of a haired ‘golden’ candidate whose goal is to take the position, bluster and do nothing?
Speaking of the murder: this screamed BECAUSE PLOT. It conflicted with the motivations and character of the perpetrator.
If Bloodline was a movie it would pass the Bechdel Test. Leia has conversations with her women staff and another power-hungry senator, all of whom are named, and many conversations don’t mention men at all. Anyone’d think women could function independently of men, with motivations and ambitions irrelevant to men. We can’t have this — the entitled white boys might get aggro.
Like in Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath, Bloodlines features non-traditional relationships; the straight white boys who feel displaced by the movie and Chuckles’s book will riot through the interwebs again. Joph, Leia’s new pilot, has two mothers. At least, I assume he has two; he refers to ‘mothers’. It’s possible he has more than two. Banter between other pilots reveals that one of the pilots is gay; his mates rib him like you’d rib a friend for dating a pole dancer or someone from a rival city. Joph keeps an eye out for likely recruits to join Leia so it’s possible we’ll see more of this happy pilot in future books.
No mention is made of a daughter. Are the Solo twins not a thing? Was Rey kidnapped or believed dead a zillion years ago? At this stage, if Rey is Leia’s child, it’s going to be difficult to justify no mention of her until the big reveal; Leia’s internal thinkings put to paper in Bloodline are too carefully focused on only her son, no mention of a daughter EVER. Not even during the media frenzy after revelations of Leia’s birth father. If Rey is the Solo twin, Disney has passed the point of reasonable obfuscation. (How can you be Solo and a twin? Did no one think that through?)
Other than the plot breakage in aisle four (the murder), Bloodline feels very Star Wars; it’s a good blend of the movies and the post-movies books that have been rendered ‘mythology’. For all those who have asked me how we got from Return of the Jedi to Force Awakens, read this trilogy. We’ll learn together.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback, 341 pages
Imprint: Century (Penguin Random House)