Lets start off with a warning, this will be a spoiler filled article on the novel Bloodline, so if you have’t read it and don’t want to read spoilers then run away now lil children. Still here? Then consider yourself warned. Last Friday we did an article reviewing what we expected to see in Bloodline and how it would relate. I think we did pretty well, though there were also a few new pieces of information I didn’t expect.
Everything squared with what we predicted, except for two items. First, Senator Castefo is the one to release the knowledge of Leia being Vader’s daughter and he DID get the information from the First Order. Kinda. A Senator in the employ of the First Order gives him the information, he himself is NOT connected to the First Order, which we thought he was. Also the First Order Senator did not get the information from the First Order but through a keepsake box that was supposed to go to Leia through Royal Succession lines. Leia abdicated her title of Governor and the Senator Lady Carise Sindian, who was next in line, discovers the box that was supposed to go to Leia and in it, the revelation of Leia’s true parentage. There was no mention of Snoke either, which was surprising. I expected the First Order Senator Sindian to at least mention Snoke, but alas she only spoke of the First Order and she does expect that she will have a place of power. At the end of the book Leia still doesn’t know of the First Order she just suspects there is something else out there.
There were some great new insights into both Leia and Han in this book. First, something that was both surprising and yet makes sense, is that Han and Leia spend a lot of time apart. Han has a legitimate business and mentors young pilots across the galaxy. In light of this, it’s clear that Rey was just the last in a long line of young pilots Han tried to help. Another surprise was how Luke had little to no involvement in the Galaxy at large. He is very private, and apparently the Senate and even Leia don’t know much about what he is doing. He is apparently looking for information on the Jedi knights of old with his nephew and that is all we know. Actually, there is no contact with Ben or Luke in the entire book. No one outside of Luke, Han and Leia know of Luke and Leia parents. Leia thinks Han may have told Lando or Chewie, but that is it. When it is revealed to the Galaxy at large, Ben learns of it as well, although we never get his reaction. The silence from Luke and Ben is deafening however and I do wonder if Luke is already worried about problems with his nephew or if this sets it off.
Finally we learn of a group called the Amaxine warriors, which are a group that once battled the old Republic, but left for the edges of the galaxy and disappeared. At first they appeared to be a very small group and a potential forerunner to the Knights of Ren and they may have been a partial inspiration for Kylo. However, we find out they have come back in a big way and are set up to be the first wave in the First Order’s attacks on the New Republic(or at least they think that is their objective). There are thousands of them and they have enough ordinance to fight the New Republic on an almost even footing. Fortunately, Leia and Han end up destroying them when they grouped together(except for their leader who escapes) so it puts the First Order’s plans a step back. I suspect that the First Order planned to use the Amaxines to force the hand of the New Republic into supporting the Centrist’s ideas. After a few victories by the Amaxines the call for a Centrist style string government and military would seem appealing. Then after they are installed they allow the First Order to come in and BOOM: the Amaxines get wiped out and now the First Order is in control. Snoke was planning much like Palpatine did, or at least that is what I suspect was going to happen. As we know the First Order eventually had to take a different tactic in TFA.
Thoughts on the book
Overall I really liked this book. It is well written and Gray does a fantastic job of capturing Leia. Leia’s use of the Elder Houses to strike back at the very end against Carise Sindian was fantastic and showed Leia’s level of cunning in the way I expect she always operated. It also got me wondering if the First Order warned their allies in the Senate. We know there are more than just Sindian because of not only her comments in this book but also the before the Force Awakens story on Poe. Did those senators escape or did the First Order kill them with the rest of the Senate? If they did kill them what does that mean for the planets they came from, are they still pro First Order or do they see the light? There are a large amount of open threads left by the actions in this book for both the First Order and the Senate.
I do have a few issues with the book that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere. The ending with Castefo feels rushed and unearned. I think he would have been given a better chance to defend himself and Leia would have done more to save him. I didn’t like that Leia wasn’t given any name to put with the ominous threat ‘out there’.” When the Amaxine leader kills herself, I think a line of “For the First Order ” would have been good to see as it would have given Leia a concrete reason for creating the Resistance. I just don’t think the current “we think there is another organization out there” is enough. In the end these are not huge negatives because the book delivers on a Star Wars story that fits the Star Wars universe better than the old EU ever did and leaves the reader with new appreciation and understanding of what is happening in TFA.