No I am not talking about The Princess Diarist (that will be read and reviewed before the end of the year, don’t worry). I am talking about Leia Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray. I had picked up the book because it was interesting to get a princess Leia story set before the events of A New Hope and because I enjoyed listening to Bloodline also by Claudia Gray.
The book follows Leia as she goes through trials to earn her status as royalty to the Alderaan royal family and her early adventures as she enters the world of the rebellion against the empire.
Spoilers from this point onward, I’m not a jedi so I can’t mind trick them out of you. Also there will be fanboy tendencies and observations and other nonsense.
Leia is destined to become ruler of Alderaan, a planet of peace and charity. To earn the title of royalty Leia must master the challenges of mind, body, and heart. At the same time Leia is participating in the Junior Senate prepping to take over the political world of Alderaan when the time comes. Through the story Leia begins to discover her parents involvement with the rebellion against the empire feeling conflicting feelings of joy that people are going to stand against Emperor Palpatine and anger that her parents kept such a secret from her and would betray the way of her people who had been pacifists for centuries.
Leia’s discovery of the rebellion is actually the end result of her performing an act of charity through the challenge of heart. While “hiring” refugees on Wobani in order to grant them a happier life, she unintentionally screws up negotiations her father Bail Organa had been working on for years to allow citizens from Wobani to immigrate to Alderaan.
Through her challenge of the Mind Leia notices interesting activity in some sectors and decides to look into it thus discovering a wider rebellion. Her parents aren’t entirely thrilled at the discovery that Leia knows about the rebellion due to her innocence and lack of knowledge about the rebellion being the only thing to protect Leia should the Empire catch onto what the Organa family is up to. An interesting event happens with Leia’s challenge of the body also occurs where in a life and death situation Leia uses the force without realizing it!
Despite the efforts of her parents Leia becomes more active in the rebellion both intentionally and by sheer accident gaining the attention of Wilhuff Tarkin who slowly becomes Leia’s arch enemy in not only the book, but in the future as well (until Luke blows him up anyways).
Fans of Star Wars will also see more of Leia’s personal life with Bail Organa and her mother Breha Organa and how they balance their life. Bail is the senator of Alderaan representing the planet in the galactic senate while Breha is the queen and ruler of the planet taking care of things on the planet. It was very interesting to see Bail function out of the public eye as father to Leia with him actually losing his temper at times when Leia got too close to participating in the rebellion. Breha for the first time is very active in Star Wars content with very little of her ever seen even in Legends material. There is actually a very funny scene involving Tarkin and Mon Mothma where an argument is staged to throw off Tarkin to what is really happening in the rebellion.
There are many shout outs and foreshadowing in the book, one particular event happening on the planet of Naboo that I’m not going to spoil in this review and I encourage readers to look for. There are cameos of C3PO and R2D2 (I kind of feel like it’s mandatory to have them around these days), foreshadowing for Bloodline (guess who that lock of hair belongs to). Other things include the introduction of the character Amylin Holdo who will be featured in Star Wars the Last Jedi this December. In the story Holdo is more or less the Luna Lovegood of the Star Wars universe choosing to constantly wear exciting and detailed clothing compared to the humble simplistic clothing of her people of Gatalenta. Her character arc (besides becoming a close trusted ally of Leia) is finding a balance to be independent of her people without resorting to some stranger fashion choices.
My only complaint about the book was some possible timeline issues with the television show Star Wars Rebels in relation to what age Leia is when she meets Ezra and the crew of the Ghost.
I give Leia Princess of Alderaan four Porgs out of five (yes I can rate a book with porgs even if there aren’t any porgs in it!)