(Welcome to the first in a series of reviews for various books, movies, and other media. Please note that “reviewed” does not necessarily imply “recommended”. Rather, I’d like to provide an overview of popular material, allowing you to make informed decisions as to what is allowed in your life and home.)
Author: Claudia Grey
Genre: Sci-fi, thriller, mystery
Recommended Audience: 13+
LUCERNA Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary: Star Wars novelization. Senator Leia Organa struggles to find her place in a galactic government that’s crumbling at the core.
This book and I first met two months ago. I was browsing the library, looking for something clean and thrilling among the slew of shirtless heroes and high heels; and my fingers closed on the spine of this piece. I wasn’t too impressed; the contrasting yellow and red with the Dark Lord in the background made it seem more like a memoir than action story.
I shrugged and grabbed it anyway.
I’m glad I did.
Years have passed since the battle of Endor (you know – the one with the adorable Ewoks) and the defeat of Emperor Palpatine. Han Solo and Princess-turned-Senator Leia are wed, their son, Ben, is riding the galaxy with his Uncle Luke, and everything seems peachy.
But not quite. Beneath the aura of intergalactic freedom, the government is falling apart. Opposing Centrists and Populists can’t decide on the best way to order a hamburger, let alone what’s best for the zillions of creatures in the galaxy. The action starts when Senator Leia, who is considering giving up the fight for good and disappearing into the sunset with Han, leaves on a final diplomatic mission with Senator Casterfro; a seemingly shallow, empire-minded young bigot. Of course, nothing is what it seems, and the political jargon quickly gives way to a roller coaster of conspiracies, back-stabbing, secret societies, and a few pure thrill rides.
My favorite aspect of this book was its focus on the characters. In the movies, we rarely get deeper than a few sharp words from Leia and a grunt or so from Han. Here, we see the famed Princess in her prime: self-sacrificing for her ideals, a witty speaker, a loving wife and parent, who can still ride and shoot with the best of ‘em. The past haunts her as well, as Darth Vader’s dark heritage makes her more determined than ever to prevent one-person control of the Senate.
Another well-developed character is Ransolm Casterfro, the opposing Senator sent with Leia on her final mission. He’s rather annoying at first, seemingly useless foil for Leia’s heroics. But as she grows and changes, so does he, as they are forced to find middle ground between the parties to get the job done. Casterfro makes for an interesting character, changing from near-antagonist to near-protagonist, but always suspicious until the end.
Even side characters get an involved backstory, from thrill-seeking young pilot Joph Seastriker to Leia’s assistant Greer, who seems to have secrets of her own. Seemingly unimportant drop-ins from the beginning make important revelations near the end.
All-in-all, it’s both a thriller and a whodunit, with lots of human interest thrown in for good measure. Role models teach standing for what you believe (yet without judging others), the importance of family, and the dangers of a government-controlled society.
Slight innuendo, maybe once or twice, nothing is described. I believe “d-mn” is exclaimed once. The mystical Force plays a background role. Various characters bend the rules or lie to accomplish their objectives.
I approached Claudia Grey’s Bloodline cautiously, expecting yet another piece of glorified fanfiction. Instead, I found a work of art; born in a different galaxy, it might spin off a series of its own. The writing was smooth and poetic, the characters three-dimensional, and the plotline fairly seamless. Watching the shadowy rise of the First Order was fascinating, from a writer’s perspective.
As I spent several hours glued to the engrossing tale, there was a flicker of doubt in the back of my mind. Why, out of the entire library, was this the only thriller I could find that was even decent? Out of hundreds of books, only one or two were admittedly Christian, both romance. Literature is the testimony and lifeblood of an educated nation; yet we so often overlook it as an opportunity to witness. Jesus commanded we “go unto all the world”, yet we take exception to the area of media.
That being said, Bloodline is a good book. But every good book produced by secular publishing is a rebuke to silent Christians nationwide.
STORY – full star
CHARACTERS – full star
WRITING STYLE – ½ star
SUBLIMAL MESSAGE – full star
RECOMMENDED – ½ star