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Publisher's Summary

Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her life so far: proving herself in the areas of body, mind, and heart to be formally named heir to the throne of Alderaan. She's taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control. But Leia has worries beyond her claim to the crown. Her parents, Breha and Bail, aren't acting like themselves lately; they are distant and preoccupied, seemingly more concerned with throwing dinner parties for their allies in the Senate than they are with their own daughter.

Determined to uncover her parents' secrets, Leia starts down an increasingly dangerous path that puts her right under the watchful eye of the Empire. And when Leia discovers what her parents and their allies are planning behind closed doors, she finds herself facing what seems like an impossible choice: dedicate herself to the people of Alderaan--including the man she loves--or to the galaxy at large, which is in desperate need of a rebel hero...

©2017 Claudia Gray (P)2017 Listening Library

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Ruins the character

Sometimes less is more. I️ usually have a hard time buying into the idea but in this case, it’s definitely true.

Not only did this book suck, but it also takes things away from a fantastic character.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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For YA readers only, others can skip

It's safe to say that the character of Princess Leia is universally considered brave, rebellious, strong-willed and smart. Women and girls around the world look up to her as a role model of everything a modern woman wants to be. That these perceptions have endured is a tribute to the collective imagination of scifi fandom, which so lacks good female role models.

I say this because if you look at the character dispassionately, she has been horribly mistreated by book authors and screenwriters over the decades. Even in the original film trilogy, Leia starts out being good with a blaster and able to get herself out of her own scrapes in A New Hope, becomes subservient to the men around her in The Empire Strikes Back, and ends up dressed like a Victoria's Secret model and enslaved to a slobbering slug in The Return of the Jedi. (For a complete discussion on this topic, read the essay by Jeanne Cavelos,"How the Rebel Princess and the Virgin Queen became Marginalized and Powerless" in the excellent book "Star Wars on Trial"). Thank goodness the fans are now reclaiming Leia as warrior princess by re-naming "slave Leia" as "Huttslayer Leia."

With the reappearance onscreen of Leia as a wise elder (but still a rebel) in Star Wars VII and VIII, not to mention actor Carrie Fisher's untimely demise, fandom was more than ready for a new novel giving us more of Leia's backstory. Fingers crossed, I downloaded the audio book and started listening. What I heard was pretty disappointing. Let me count the ways:

1) Rather than giving us a meaty hero journey such as those of Frodo, Luke, Peter Parker and umpteen other male characters, this book takes us from young, inexperienced princess to young, slightly more experienced princess. A formulaic series of "challenges" is meant to bring young Leia to the brink of destruction, but the danger never felt real.

2) The love story was extremely . . . boring. I just didn't get why Leia was attracted to this character. There just didn't seem to be any chemistry shown between the two characters. I get that this is YA, but come on, YA has been bringing us great love affairs for a while now, Leia deserved better.

3) Even the Empire didn't seem very menacing in this book. The Empire's economic destruction of worlds as described was so over-the-top as to seem ridiculous. For a moment, I thought the much more compelling threat--that the Empire would discover the fledgling Rebellion--would come to the fore and propel the plot more convincingly forward. Tarkin, a worthy personification of the Empire with whom we know Leia has history, makes a couple of appearances and electrifies each scene he is in. But a hoped-for final confrontation between Leia and Tarkin never materializes and made the end of the book a disappointment.

4) I felt like the whole book told me how Leia was feeling over and over, rather than letting her interactions with other characters and situations motivate the character. And what she was mostly doing was whining about the fact that her parents were too busy working and holding royal dinners and couldn't give her hugs whenever she wanted them. Rather than giving us a spunky, savvy, if still young and raw-around-the-edges Leia, this book gave us a whiny, needlessly reckless, often clueless (she's 16 and cannot figure out why her mother has suddenly begun inviting important senators to their palace on a regular basis??) teen who was more 16-going-on-14 than future Rebel general.

5) I didn't care for the performance of the audio book reader, Saskia Maarleveld. I was looking for a performance that would reflect Carrie Fisher's straightforward, no-nonsense, firm speech style. Instead, we got a breathy, hesitant style that made Leia sound insecure. Something else that bothered me throughout the audio was the pronunciation of the name of Leia's ship, the Tantive IV, as "tant-ivvy four." Like most English speakers, I've always pronounced it so that Tantive rhymed with five. But I just looked it up, and I guess this (to my ears weird) pronunciation was established in the 1981 NPR Star Wars radio dramatization of A New Hope. So one point to the audio reader. I guess that means her pronunciation of Breha as "bree-ah" must also be correct. *sigh*

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Claudia Gray is 3 for 3 in Star Wars canon

Wow!
CLAUDIA GRAY KNOWS LEIA!
Simply put, anything Claudia Gray writes for Star Wars is a must read. she knows how to write our favorite characters and how to introduce new characters that we can instantly attach to.
Read this book or forever be incomplete.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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No one writes Leia like Claudia Grey

Claudia Grey has done it again. In my opinion no one else should be allowed to write Leia every again. The story is an exceptional character piece that drives into the mind set of a teenage Leia as she works through adolescence and her will to be a part of the early Rebellion. The emotional notes in this piece hit hard and help shape a deeper narrative into the Leia we know in a New Hope and beyond. The deeper meaning into Leia's relationship with her parents really drives the narrative along and give so much context into the larger Star Wars universe. Saskia Maareveld does a great job bringing Grey's exceptional work to life with great voice work and pioent emotion. Highly recommended

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic!

This was a fantastic followup to Claudia's Bloodline, piecing together bits and tie-ins that make both stories that much richer. Nice work and use of familiar characters without them seeming too forced...even a mention of a missed chance meeting for those who are familiar in the Star Wars lore (fandom nerd!). A pleasure to meet and get to know Breha and Bail Organa deeper than ever before, for sure. The pleasant introduction of new characters was nice and a few we got to see multi-dimensional arcs which was well done. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of adventure, while still maintaining the much needed political influence the story needed to stick to.
Overall, a great way to learn about one of all of our favorite characters since we were introduced to the Star Wars universe and I can't wait to see what, if any nuggets from this story appear in The Last Jedi...or even the ninth Skywalker tale.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 09-30-17

Leia: A legend in the making

Saskia Maarleveld is a terrific narrator who brings Claudia Gray's fascinating book about Princess Leia to life! Dripping with suspense without actual wars among the stars. I don't care for our present politics, but found the politics in this book intriguing. You can sense the tension when Tarkin is involved. Love the easter eggs throughout. I will re listen to Gray's Bloodlines after this.

I fully recommend this coming of age story/tie-in to any Star Wars fan.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Leia

Superb! Of all words this seemed the most apt. Elemental. Of course my immense regard for the Princess Royal and Carrie did slip in there, somewhere from my meanderings. Oh for heavens sake, get it already!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Star Wars continues......and this is part of it...

The young adventures of Princess Leia......canon now of course.
Couldn't decide whether or not this was geared towards the teen, young adult or adult audience........
It was ok.......
Lately, the Star Wars stories have been lacking real substance, and I've returned a few of them......
But this one, wasn't a bad listen.....

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Zzzzzzzzz

WARNING: Do NOT listen to this book while operating heavy machinery as it may cause drowsiness

Zzzzzzz..zzzzzzz

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • cbspock
  • Holbrook, NY United States
  • 09-09-17

The average Star Wars movie tie in book

Not as good as Lost Stars or Bloodlines. Not the tie in story I was looking for. It would have been nicer to have a tighter tie in with Rebels and Rogue One other then a throw away line about "trusting her with my life". This is yet another spin our wheels tie in. The romance was cringe worthy, while the rebel stuff was half interesting. The book takes a while to get going. I did enjoy listening to the audiobook. I would say read it if you like Leia. Just don't expect anything amazing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful