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13 May 2016 @ 01:22 pm
Book Review: Bloodline  
Last night I finished Bloodline by Claudia Gray... Maybe I should say I finished it early this morning, because it was 2 am when I finally put the book down... The last few chapters were so good I just couldn't bring myself to stop... and now it's over and I have a more clearer vision of what happened in The Force Awakens, and it hurts even more now...

This book is great! I absolutely loved it and if I could give it more than 5 stars I would.

The author is indeed a huge Han/Leia Fan because in Bloodline Leia is just spot on... I could see Carrie Fisher's face and hear her voice while I was reading!




Bloodline

Originally published: 2016
Author: Claudia Gray
Genres: Sci/Fi / Star Wars Novel
(reading time: May 6 - May 12)
★★★
The book is full of politics but - since basically all of it is from Leia's point of view - it's not heavy as you might think. She constantly talks and thinks about Han and how much she misses him/wants to be with him/loves him.

Han is away working for the whole book, and it makes sense for the story itself, but also it's something that feels right for them. They live on the planet where the Senate is, and I can't imagine Han being able to be Han there, where all that matters is image and protocol, mining Leia's career and be bored as hell.

I can see them being private about their relationship and I love the fact people is still puzzled about how two people so different ended up together... For our joy, even if they're not physically together, they talk constantly via holo. You can feel they love each other very deeply, and that makes the events of TFA even more intense...

I remember reading online that the book portraits Han as a bad/absent father (and that explains why Ben turned to the dark side)... It's not true! Han is away for work often but he stays in contact with his family all the time, and he's there for them when they need him, even when they don't ask (He drops everything after Leia sends him a message just to say what happened when her secret got exposed, because he knows she needs him to be there to comfort her, even if she doesn't ask and pretends to be okay). In the book it's made also clear that Han acted like a big brother for Luke and a father for a lot of the pilots he trained, because he has it in him and he always regretted not being able to do the same for Ben - probably because he had to start training as a Jedi pretty soon, or he didn't want him to follow his footsteps...he wanted more for him that he could offer... Oh Han!!!

Han had taken countless young pilots under his wing during the past several years, many of whom remained close to them both even now.
His willingness to take on the role of mentor was one of the first things she’d noticed about Han Solo, years ago—well, one of the first things she’d liked about him. For all his griping about “farmboys,” Han had dedicated himself to Luke in the days after the first Death Star’s destruction. Leia had watched as Luke slowly overcame his grief for Obi-Wan Kenobi and his aunt and uncle, while learning about gunnery, ship repair, and countless other things from Han. The sarcasm and wit Han used disguised his concern from Luke, and even Leia took a while to realize that Han was looking “out for her, too.
Han was just as committed to his current crop of young pilots. Leia wished she could believe he mentored them out of the same impulse that had led him to befriend Luke; probably, on some level, he did. But Han was also teaching these kids the same lessons he’d wanted to teach their son.

Ben is away with Luke, and they're unreachable throughout the whole book, so we don't know what's going on with them, and Ben doesn't know Darth Vader is his grandfather, Leia leaves him a message but the story is all over the news so we don't know how he finds out in the end... We'll probably have an answer in episode VIII, I hope.

As I was saying, I think that the whole family situation is very real. It looks like a real family (one from our galaxy) where the dad has to spend time in another city for work and the kid is in college... I don't understand why people go crazy about the fact Han is not with Leia the whole time... I can't stress this enough, but can you honestly imagine Han sitting around the house doing nothing or joining the political scene? No... I think the picture Claudia Grey portraits works extremely fine. I'm totally on board with that...

I also understand even better why Han and Leia took some time apart after what happened to Ben... Han says - in The Force Awakens - that he knows that seeing him reminded Leia of Ben and that hurt... This makes one thing pretty clear to me: The reason why he left was selfless... He left because he couldn't stand being the one who caused Leia to suffer and he's the kind of guy who wants to fix things... Not make them worse... I can imagine them fighting because they weren't able to express their feelings about what happened to them, and taking all the blame upon themselves... Leia thinking that she was wrong sending Ben away, and Han thinking he could have done more for him... Blaming themselves, believing that the other person was probably thinking the same thing.

The reaction of the Senate when they discover Leia is Darth Vader's daughter is intense and they fear she (and Luke) could be like him... So, can you imagine when Ben turns to the dark side? After he has been training with Luke God knows where?... I can see the people turning their back on the Skywalkers and point their fingers... That's maybe the reason Han goes back to be a smuggler... Maybe his business goes south because of all the gossip... Maybe he goes back home to be with Leia and it's just too painful not to be able to find a way to solve the situation so - after a fight - he leaves... But the love is true... That's pretty clear to me! They separate for a while just because they weren't able to express their feelings in a totally Han/Leia fashion...

So THANK YOU CLAUDIA GRAY for giving me this book that puts my heart at ease about Han and Leia's love... I've never had any doubt but sometimes the internet goes crazy, and I start to wonder if I just live on my own planet where I just see what I want to see...

Here some of my favorite Han/Leia Moments in the book:

Leia's flashback:
“Never imagined this,” Han had murmured, sitting up in their bed late at night, Ben’s tiny head resting in the crook of his father’s arm. “Having a kid. Even wanting a kid. But now he’s here, and—”
“And you’re a dad.” Leia had leaned closer, unable to resist the chance to tease her husband. “Just think, hotshot. Someday you might even be a granddad.”
Han’s chuckle had warmed her. “Speak for yourself, sweetheart. Me, I ain’t ever getting that old.”


Leia decides to quit the senate and calls Han to share her plan.
“I’ve been thinking.” She pretended to mull the question over. “What if I decided to go flying around the galaxy with some scoundrel?”
Han raised his eyebrows and pointed toward his own chest.
Leia laughed. “Unless you had another scoundrel in mind.”
“Hey, hey. I’m the only scoundrel up for the job.” He shook his head in—surprise? Disbelief? Leia wasn’t sure. What mattered most was the warmth in his smile. Even if Han wasn’t convinced she intended to do this, he liked the idea.”

Han studied her for a few moments, then began to grin. “You realize—after three months on the same ship, we’re gonna kill each other.”
Leia leaned closer to the terminal so he would see the wickedness in her smile. “But won’t those three months be fun?”
She was thinking of a sublight run they’d undertaken together early in their marriage, which had begun with a great deal of bickering. However, all that time alone, with no one to interrupt them, had eventually led to much more enjoyable pursuits. Given the timing, she was fairly sure those pursuits had directly led, some months later, to Ben’s birth.
“Oh, we’ll have fun.” Han brushed his fingers near the holocam, as if he could touch her face. “You better believe it.”


Ransolm Casterfo wonders about Leia's life.
“Did you spend the entire Rebellion in the company of smugglers and lowlifes?”
He probably meant this to be a cutting remark. Instead Leia found herself thinking of the first time she’d really seen Han’s face—in a garbage compactor aboard the Death Star, moments before he fired his blaster at the magnetically sealed walls and nearly killed them all. Leia couldn’t help smiling. “Almost, Senator Casterfo. In fact, I wound up married to one.”


Leia gets nominated as First Seantor and now she believes she can't quit
“Told you—you’re never going to leave.” Han shook his head and smiled as if to say, See? I’m always right. His cocksure grin would’ve fooled most people.
Leia, however, could sense his disappointment, and it was harder to bear than her own.
“I don’t want this,” she said. “You know I don’t.”
“Of course not. That’s why you’re putting together the, whatsit, ‘exploratory committee.’ ”

“Han? I’m sorry about the campaign. I really wanted something different for us.” She thought of her daydreams about the two of them flying through the galaxy together, carefree at last. Already those dreams were fading to shadows. “But nothing ever changes.”
“Hey.” Han looked up from his work, more solemn than he’d been at any other point in the conversation. “Don’t apologize to me for taking this seriously, okay? You put duty first. Drives me crazy sometimes, but that’s who you are. It’s also probably why the New Republic is still in one piece.”
Leia couldn’t quite smile. “Someday.”
“Someday.”
The words sounded like a promise. But Leia couldn’t make herself believe that day would ever really come…and she knew Han couldn’t, either.
(THIS JUST HURTS)

Leia thinks about what her birth father put her through.
Leia wouldn’t give up her memory of any of them, but she wasn’t sure she would’ve relived a single second.
(Well. Maybe the time Han had run through the ice tunnels of Hoth to rescue her.)


Han calls Leia after the bombing.
The first image that flickered into being was Han’s face, and he looked more stricken than she had seen him in years. “Leia, sweetheart, Greer tells me you’re sleeping the bacta off. But when I heard somebody bombed the Senate, and saw those pictures…” He shook his head, as if trying to cast the images out of his mind. “If I hadn’t gotten your message, I would’ve gone out of my head. I’m just glad you’re all right. Contact me when you’re up and around again, and if you change your mind about me coming to Hosnian Prime, just say the word.” Han gave her the smile that had never failed to stop her heart. “I love you.”

Han calls Leia to let her know he won;t be able to get her messages for a while
“Make sure you’re taking care of yourself, all right? It’s gonna be a while before I can be back to take care of you, and I know how good you are at getting into trouble.” Han’s lopsided grin made him look, just for a moment, like the dashing young smuggler she’d first met. “That’s what I like best about you, you know.”

Casterfo asks Leia what would she do if she could leave her life of duty.
“Just guess. Or ask yourself what you’d do right now, this moment, if duty didn’t stand in your way.”
Leia’s smile widened, became genuine. “I’d run off to traipse around the galaxy with my husband.”


Leia remember Han's reaction when she told him Darth Vader was her real father (I love the fact she kept is a secret from everyone but she told Han right away because she wanted to give him herself completely with no lies or secrets)
But now Leia’s memories were claiming her again, taking her back to the forest moon of Endor in the aftermath of the tremendous celebration that marked their victory. Han had held her so tenderly as they rested on soft mosses, the scent of cedars and pine all around them. When she’d told him the whole story, she’d been terrified that Han would immediately abandon her. Their romance had been so new then. Only the day before, he had offered to step aside if she wanted Luke instead. Would he be even quicker to leave once he knew she was a part of Darth Vader himself?
But Han hadn’t flinched once. He had simply rocked her in his arms, giving her what comfort he could. If she could only be in his embrace again now, maybe she would feel as if this were something she could bear.


Leia leaves Han a message (knowing he won't be able to see it) before she leaves for a dangerous mission after the Senate find out she's Darth Vader's daughter.
Leia smiled into the holocam, trying to envision her husband’s face. If the mission to Sibensko went wrong, her next words might be the last Han would ever hear her say. The first time she’d had to ask herself what to do in this situation had been at Cloud City, and she said the same thing now as she had then. “I love you.”

But Han gets the message and drops off everything knowing she needs him.
“Sorry I’m late, sweetheart,” said Han.
She slipped into the empty copilot’s chair beside him. “Honey, you’re right on time.”
Her husband had not only received her message, but he’d dropped everything he was doing to rush here to help her in any way he could. Leia let go of all the frustration she felt at Han’s long absences, all the bickering they’d never grown out of. In the end, she knew, he would always come through.


Han comforts Leia in their bed.
Han snuggled her closer against his chest as they lay together in their bed on Hosnian Prime. Moonlight slanted through the bedroom window, but paler now as dawn approached. Leia rested her head on his shoulder and shut her eyes, taking comfort in the tenderness with which he kissed her forehead.

Han stroked her hair, which spread across her pillow, off the far edge of the bed. “Look at it like this. You wanted out of the Senate anyway. Now you’ve got your chance. Once your term’s up, you’re free. You can spend some time flying around with an old scoundrel for a change.”
“Han, that sounds like paradise.” But she couldn’t set aside all her worries so easily. “Has it been bad for you? When the sublight relays ended, and you came out to realize they knew my secret—”
“Everyone assumed I must’ve had no idea who I’d married. I made it clear that I’d known from the start, that I don’t give a damn, and anybody with any sense wouldn’t care, either. Nobody’s been fool enough to bring up the subject twice.”

“Hey. Just now, for tonight, let it go. Not even you can save the whole galaxy before breakfast.” Han smiled gently. “You take too much on yourself. Always have. And you’ve been through too much lately. So let someone else take care of you for a little while.”
She felt some of the tension drain away from her. “Do you have any idea how much I love you?”
“Yeah, I’d say I have a pretty good idea.” Leia mock-punched him in the arm, and Han chuckled. “C’mon. You know I love you, too.”
“Yes,” she said as she tilted her mouth up for a kiss. “I know.”

She sighed in fond exasperation. “Some things never change.”
His expression grew more serious, and he reached across the table to take her hand. “That’s right,” he said. “Some things will always be the same.”
“Is that a promise?”
“You better believe it.”

 
 
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orangerfulorangerful on May 15th, 2016 02:20 pm (UTC)
Oh I CANNOT WAIT to read this!!! I'm on the hold list still but it sounds like I will need to drop everything and read it ASAP! :D
Ery-chan: Mood: Okayerychan86 on May 15th, 2016 02:51 pm (UTC)
DROP EVERYTHING. Say that you're dead and close yourself inside the house until you're done with it! It's a great book and puts the events of TFA under another light. It is extremely interesting and it adds a lot of weight to the new trilogy!

As I said there's a lot of politics and it *should* be dry because of that but is not. Since we're experiencing it from Leia's POV we have her thoughts to accompany us throughout the book and - as any human being - her thoughts drift into memories and feelings. It's a wonderful bridge between the original saga and the new one. Claudia Gray did a marvelous job and I really hope she'll write more books!

I am 100% happy with where Leia and Han are in their lives even if they have to spend time apart. As I read somewhere in the EU Han was basically Leia's personal pilot, her husband and nothing more after the battle of Endor, but in the new Canon the character has grown beautifully and remained in character. I can see him going on missions with her until the New Republic started working but then I can see him being restless and wanting to do something with himself.

Than, in TFA, we find him and Leia back to what they were because of the tragedy that happened to them with Ben and - since we see in the book how the revelation that Vader is Leia's father - everything makes even more sense.

I was so inspired by the book that I opened up again Final Cut Pro after a long time and I made a music video that I'll post maybe later today :D

I'm telling you I was so
(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2016 12:03 pm (UTC)
Bloodlines review comments by megancyber
Thanks for a better in depth review than a person can find without having to read and BUY things to understand the movie. Never had to do that with the originals and it's BS having to slog thru someone's writing style you don't like just to learn this stuff, than headcanon it.

Most fellow fans like me were just as disgusted with how Han & Leia were portrayed mainly Han, and Claudia was run thru the grist mill by DISNEY/LUCASFILM having to REWRITE the BOOK TO RETCON and make Han/Leia look BETTER than the movie showed. See Gray's interview with ColliderStudio on Youtube. Her deadlines were extended, SW8 stuff inserted & IMHO, because blowback from fans like us and focus groups BS made them want the earlier book version to mesh and make the movies SW7&8 line up. SWTFA could've told us and SHOWN us everything you feel so much better about Han&Leia but was makeshift after-the-fact cobbled together for the book being promoted SO HARD to fix their stupidity. It was MORE IMPORTANT TO SHOW SHINY SHIPS and Asplosions than focus on the old characters being written out.

Great for Han/Leia fans but that Luke is bopping around apart from his Force bonded twin & Han his BFF isn't very character based but they are trying to use EU holocron Sith temple stuff Luke is supposedly looking for to excuse Ben going so dark to shiv his Dad, versus just being a resentful angsty young man angry he was lied to for years.
(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2016 12:19 pm (UTC)
Bloodlines review comments by megancyber
Thanks for a better in depth review than a person can find without having to read and BUY things to understand the movie. Never had to do that with the originals and it's BS having to slog thru someone's writing style you don't like just to learn this stuff, than headcanon it.

Most fellow fans like me were just as disgusted with how Han & Leia were portrayed mainly Han, and Claudia was run thru the grist mill by DISNEY/LUCASFILM having to REWRITE the BOOK TO RETCON and make Han/Leia look BETTER than the movie showed. See Gray's interview with ColliderStudio on Youtube. Her deadlines were extended, SW8 stuff inserted & IMHO, because blowback from fans like us and focus groups BS made them want the earlier book version to mesh and make the movies SW7&8 line up. SWTFA could've told us and SHOWN us everything you feel so much better about Han&Leia but was makeshift after-the-fact cobbled together for the book being promoted SO HARD to fix their stupidity. It was MORE IMPORTANT TO SHOW SHINY SHIPS and Asplosions than focus on the old characters being written out.

Great for Han/Leia fans but that Luke is bopping around apart from his Force bonded twin & Han his BFF isn't very character based but they are trying to use EU holocron Sith temple stuff Luke is supposedly looking for to excuse Ben going so dark to shiv his Dad, versus just being a resentful angsty young man angry he was lied to for years.
Ery-chanerychan86 on May 17th, 2016 03:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Bloodlines review comments by megancyber
Thank you. I'm glad my review was helpful... Please feel free to ask me any questions about the book... I basically only talked about Han and Leia here and it wasn't a very deep review so really if you need more info I'm here.

I think Episode 8 will go deeper into what made Ben go dark and what Luke felt using the force. He must have felt Han's death and Leia's despair. I don't think it was simply the temple who made Ban turn to the dark side... As I don't think it was only the knowledge Darth Vader was his grandfather and the fact his parents didn't say anything. I'm as sure as hell Han and Leia were great parents with very busy lives, I think they gave everything to Ben and I think that what broke him and made him turn was not plain rage for a childhood he thought that wasn't good enough. He calls Han foolish, like he was a dreamer who believed in something greater, something that was too hard to fight for for Ben. If he was a bad dad he would have said "why now, you never cared" but Ben knows his father loves him and he loved him too because he fells like he HAS to kill him in order to get away from the light. If he hated Han it would have made no difference killing him or not killing him.

I liked the movie and - even if it hurts - I think the story works... I would have put a more deeper dialogue/confrontation between Han and Leia but I think what they wrote was in character. When Han says "it wasn't all bad" he's not saying they had a bad relationship, it's just his way to make Leia express her feelings like he always did in the past. He wants her to be the one who says the mushy stuff xD

They love each other and we see it very clearly in these scenes. We see their love also in the fact that he run away because it was a selfless act since he thought his presence was hurting her.

This is how I see it :D

Thank you again for your comment! :D