Portraits of Princess Leia

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The only reason I can think of for including this character is that he adds a face to the antagonists for the first half of the novel, after which he’s displaced by a Sith Inquisitor. Could this not have been accomplished from the perspective of the military officer in charge of the mission? This book is ripe for a green young officer, chafing at the backwater assignment of Raada but eager for promotion that a successful completion of this mission will bring him. He could complain about how peaceful and easy the assignment was meant to be, only to be stymied again and again by the belligerent citizens of Raada. Instead, we got a number crunching bureaucrat who gives away the plot and cuts his losses before he can face any recriminations for his actions.

His wasn’t the only point of view shift that underwhelmed. More than once at the end of a chapter, the point of view shifts to a tertiary character for the final few paragraphs after the main character has ‘left’ the action. It’s a reasonable storytelling choice with inconsistent results. The lack of visual cue can be mildly jarring since major shifts have a line break to indicate their presence.

Some shifts work better than others, too. Hedala’s paragraphs worked better than Hoban’s, for example. For me, the success of the shift depended on what information the character conveyed. If it added no new information, or offered information that could have been conveyed equally well in conversation with a main point of view character, the shift felt unnecessary. I understand that Star Wars novels typically utilize multiple points of view, but I wish Johnston had either stuck to a few, well done perspective characters, or given more space to the tertiary ones. Two paragraphs does not justify your own perspective if you’re not giving me new information or insight.

Is It Worth it?

Despite my nitpicks, I still give it an 8/10 and would not hesitate to recommend it!

It has so many good things going for it that the annoyances are minor compared to what I enjoy about it. Someone should hire Claudia Gray and E. K. Johnston to write all the lady centric new canon Star Wars books because Ahsoka and Bloodline have been gifts.


Wholeheartedly Approve

  • Ahsoka having her own novel
  • Awesome new canon queer woman character in Star Wars
  • Bi Ahsoka (?)
  • Nuanced and interesting healing arc
  • Grief and PTSD handled with care

Eh, I Could Do Without It

  • Jenneth Pilar
  • Giving away plot details in a way that undermines tension
  • Seemingly unnecessary point of view shifts

Cover and First Image Courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm.

This article is a reprint (with minor modification) of an article originally published by Gretchen on TheFandomentals.