This was my second Claudia Gray Star Wars book and she continues to impress.

This one was a different animal from Lost Stars as it covers one particular...month? or so of Senator Leia Organa's life about 10 years before the events of The Force Awakens.

Gray does very well crafting an older, more jaded Leia who is forced to come to grips with the identity issues I've always felt clouded her character. Is she a Princess, or an orphan? A warrior, or a politician? The last surviving member of the ruling house of Alderaan...or the tragic daughter of Anakin and Padme? Events in the book force her to face and attempt to reconcile these many facets, and also to take direct action to overcome a mysterious threat to the New Republic she sacrificed so much to establish.

Though set in the Star Wars universe, it also feels like very much a book of its time- one can't help but imagine that Gray was influenced by the divisive politics of U.S. Republicans and Democrats when creating the toxic atmosphere between the Centrists and Populists that pervades the story.

On the downside, it was deeply annoying that Luke Skywalker and Ben Solo were nowhere to be found, or even really talked about, during the book, though I daresay this wasn't the author's choice as much as Disney and Lucasfilm wanting to maintain the mystery prior to the release of Episode VIII. Han and Chewie don't factor much, either, which means that this really is a Leia solo book (ugh, unintentional pun), and a darn good one.

The supporting cast, Greer, Korr, Joph Seastriker, and so on, were kind of flimsy, unfortunately, as were some of the villainous characters, though I liked Lady Carise Sindian quite a bit.

In the end, not as amazing as Lost Stars but still a very solid outing, very much recommended to anyone interested in fleshing out the backstory to the turmoils of the New Republic, getting some hints at the rise of the First Order, and generally spending some time not quite as long ago in a galaxy just as far, far away.

mexicanadiense's rating:
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