Star Wars Bloodline - Mini Review

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TalRaimi
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Star Wars Bloodline - Mini Review

Post by TalRaimi » Tue May 17, 2016 5:44 am

I don't normally do this but have decided to try and get my thoughts about movies and books down on (virtual) paper more often. As such here's my mini review of the new Star Wars book.



Bloodline is the first of the new Star Wars books that I’ve read and I was intrigued as it promised to be the first piece of material to shed some light on what’s actually been going on in the galaxy leading up to The Force Awakens. One of the things that I felt was missing from the film was some context about the political situation in the Galaxy and so I had high hopes that Bloodlines would shed some light on that. And it does. Up to a point.

Fair warning, minor spoilers may follow.

We get to see the New Republic and are given the bare minimum of information about it needed to progress the story forward. This bare bones fleshing out of things is very much par for the course in Bloodlines. It feels like the author has deliberately had her creativity restricted and I can picture a Disney/Lucasfilm suit laying down the guidelines she must follow. ‘You can’t have Ben or Luke in the book. Leia is a senator but don’t mention which planet or sector she represents as we’ve not figured that out yet. You can use Han but only briefly, we’ll probably get someone else to do a standalone book for him, so just keep him at arms distance from Leia etc...’

Bloodlines follows the Force Awakens in the fact it adds very little that’s new to the Star Wars galaxy. While it touches on the running on the New Republic and the internal wrangling, the politicking all feels very superficial. There’s a lot of telling instead of showing here. Any planets or species that are introduced are quickly sketched with almost no time devoted to fleshing them out and making them feel like believable worlds and beings.
There’s also barely any effort to make the non human species standout. There’s a Nikto in suit who acts like a small time gangster from the sopranos, a Senator who walks on four legs but is otherwise indistinguishable from any other human and... and actually I think that’s practically it for non humans. The New Republic certainly doesn’t come across as a very diverse alliance of worlds.

It’s the same issue with the majority of the supporting characters. With the exception of Leia and one other, there’s little or no depth to anyone else. I’m not asking for Shakespeare here, but when compared to some of the more memorable characters of yesteryear I can barely remember anyone’s name here or remember why I should even care? I fully admit that what I look for in a book are characters with a little depth to them, that let me invest in them, this then makes whatever struggles they go through all the more harrowing and the triumphs that much more satisfying.

The plot here is serviceable, I hesitate to call it a political thriller, unless this is a young adult book, which correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t believe it is. The Senate is approached by a Twi’lek representative of Ryloth who asks the Republic to help them as a new criminal cartel is making life difficult for the Twi’Leks. Princess Leia and a rival senator are duly sent off to investigate and discover a larger conspiracy that threatens the galaxy. There are a couple of twists and turns along the way, most fairly predictable, but the bad guys are paper thin and uninteresting and the threat never really feels that big.

Again I think the book doesn’t do a very good job of painting a sense of scale and relies on you having seen the Force Awakens to make sense of a couple of it’s later developments rather than them making sense within the context of the books story.

Overall this feels like filler to me. Sold on the premise that you’ll finally get to find out what happened to the galaxy after the Empire’s defeat. It turns out the answer is not a lot. Claudia Grey writes well enough but it’s a shame she wasn’t given the change to actually add something to the Star Wars Galaxy. This is a missed opportunity for me.
'Would you do it with me, heal the scars and change the stars?'

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