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Look, Your Worshipfullness

In Claudia Gray’s Leia, Princess of Alderaan, Leia Organa is your typical YA MC dealing with first loves, intense schoolwork, and a rebellion that could affect the fate of an entire galaxy.

Look, Your Worshipfullness

BOOK REPORT for Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray

Cover Story: Uncanny Valley
BFF Charm: Platinum
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Bonus Factors: Star Wars, Kickass Parents
Anti-Bonus Factor: Sense of Foreboding
Relationship Status: Member of the Rebellion

Cover Story: Uncanny Valley

I appreciate how well the cover artist captured a very iconic Princess Leia movement, but it reminds me just enough of the uncomfortable scene at the end of Rogue One that I can’t really like it.

The Deal:

Princess Leia Organa is the de facto heir to the throne of Alderaan, her adopted parents’ home planet. But in order to become, officially, the next in line for the Queendom, she must prove to herself, her parents, and her people that she’s worthy through the traditional undertaking of three trials: the Challenge of the Body, the Challenge of the Mind, and the Challenge of the Heart.

Through her challenges, Leia learns more about herself, her place in the galaxy, and why, exactly, her parents have suddenly become preoccupied with dinner parties and keeping their daughter at arm's length.

BFF Charm: Platinum

My view on Leia is totally tainted by knowing what a supreme badass she becomes later in life. But thinking about this version of her, the young, untested Leia who’s hard-headed and prone to acting before she thinks—I’m pretty sure her favorite adage is “it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission”—I’m still totally sold that she’d make a killer BFF. She’s undeniably a force (heh) to be reckoned with, even before fate hands her the many hard knocks and extreme highs of her life. She knows right from wrong, isn’t afraid to put her neck on the line for what she believes in, and is unwaveringly loyal—once you earn that trust. She’s sassy and smart and has more common sense than most of the men in her life. Queen is a fitting title for her, even if she never gets the opportunity to actually wear the crown.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

It might surprise you to find out that Han Solo wasn’t the first man to catch Leia’s eye. Her love interest in Leia, Princess of Alderaan, isn’t quite up to the standards set (or that will be set?) by the infamous nerf herder, but it’s pretty obvious why he’s a good starting romantic partner for Leia. There wasn’t as much swoon in this novel as I typically expect from Gray’s books, but I’m going to assume that's because Disney and wasn’t entirely up to her.

I did, however, laugh knowingly at this exchange between Leia and her mom, Queen Breha:

With a deliberately melodramatic sigh, Breha put one hand to the front of her scarlet silk wrapper. "I suppose a tiny bit of me hoped that my daughter's first romance wouldn't be so ... suitable. Sometimes it does a girl good to fall for a bit of a scoundrel, now and then."

An utterly novel idea occured to Leia. "Mom—when you were young—you never—you wouldn't—"

"Good night, dear." Breha turned back toward the door.

Talky Talk: A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

This is Gray’s third Star Wars tie-in novel, and the second to star Leia Organa. I haven’t read Bloodline, her novel that’s set between The Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, so I don’t know how well she brought adult Leia to the page, but she certainly captured what Leia might have been like pre-rebellion and pre-A New Hope well. (I also highly recommend Lost Stars, Gray’s other Star Wars YA.)

Leia, Princess of Alderaan is a fun read that reminds me a lot of the expanded universe (EU) books that were formerly canon*. I started reading the novel before seeing The Last Jedi, and didn’t finish it until after, and was pleasantly surprised to find the nods to latest film, including a young woman with a penchant for purple hair.

The book didn’t quite feel like a Gray novel, however, which was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping for Gray’s typical mix of swoon and action, but neither quite lived up to expectations, even if I did read the novel on yellow alert (see Anti-Bonus Factor: Sense of Foreboding below). I chalk this up to limitations put on her by the publisher, however; I’m guessing they have a heavy hand when it comes to creative control over these stories.

*Don’t get me started.

Bonus Factor: Star Wars

I love Star Wars a whole lot, y’all. So I am here for new EU books, regardless of how much I think it’s lame that the whole former extended universe got retconned.**

**I got myself started.

Bonus Factor: Kickass Parents

We didn’t get to know them much in the prequels, but Leia’s adopted parents are pretty dang awesome. Bail and Breha Organa were instrumental in the inception of the Rebellion, and although they meet an untimely end in A New Hope, the fight against the Empire wouldn’t have gotten half as far as they did in the original trilogy without them.

And I had no idea until reading Leia, Princess of Alderaan.

They’re also just fantastic parents, even if Leia spends much of the novel stressing about them all growing apart. Breha especially; she’s obviously where Leia got her strength, compassion, and fire.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Sense of Foreboding

I couldn’t help but read this novel with a heightened sense of anxiety, knowing what happens in Leia’s life. She’s so hopeful and young in this novel, and it’s tough being privy to her future.

Relationship Status: Member of the Rebellion

I might not have Force-given powers, Book, but I know a good thing when I see it. You gave me a great glimpse into the larger Star Wars universe, and I thank you for that. If I hadn’t already joined the Rebel Alliance ages ago, you would have inspired me to do so. As it is—see you in battle.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Disney Lucasfilm Press, and got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Leia, Princess of Alderaan is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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