I so, so love this book. It's a captivating read about Leia that gives us a lot of background to her, and fills us in on some of the culture of Alderaan before it was lost. We also get to know her parents a lot, especially the frequently overlooked but just amazing Breha Organa. It's definitely up there among my favorite Star Wars novels, no doubt about it, and one I'd definitely recommend to anyone looking for a good Star Wars read.
Also boy, does Claudia Gray know how to do character development! I decided to follow up last week's re-read of Lost Stars with a re-read of this one, and I'm glad I did. It was a great pairing.
Spoilers ahead for Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray.
Of course the best part of this book is Leia herself. Gray really captures her voice and I really got engrossed in her development as she learns more about the galaxy and the rebellion her parents have been helping to build. You can really feel her sadness as she loses time with her parents, and how much she wants to fight to have their attention back. I really think that she's written perfectly, and I never wanted to put the book down. I loved getting to be inside of her head and hear her thoughts as she processes and changes over the course of the book.
The very, very close second best part of the book are Bail and Breha. I absolutely adore the way that their relationship is written, it's so sweet and it makes it hard when the conflict of the story forces tension between them. Bail as a character is known for his calm diplomacy and fearless leadership, so it's fascinating to see him when he lets himself be angry and vulnerable with his family at low points. Breha is character that has had next to zero exploration, so getting to learn all about her and really connect with her character. She's charming and sweet, and one of my favorite scenes in the whole book are when she and Bail fake a drunken argument to try and make Tarkin so uncomfortable he leaves their dinner party- and it works! Bail and Breha make for such a great power couple, and I love it.
The Alderaanian royal family aren't the only ones we get to know and see grow throughout the book. Other important characters include Amilyn Holdo (who we know from The Last Jedi) and Leia's first love, Kier Domadi. We get to see how eccentric Holdo was in her younger years- covering her possessions in glitter, frequently changing the color of her hair and wearing a dizzying assortment of bright colors and patterns at all points. We also see how she has a quiet method to her madness, how her seemingly random metaphors actually make sense and we, along with Leia, grow to appreciate her wisdom and see through the layers of Holdo-isms. The character is very, very out there, but you can easily see how this odd teenager would grow into the Holdo we see of The Last Jedi many decades later. Then there's also Kier, a fellow Alderaanian who Leia falls for. They have a cute romance and Leia gently brings him into the loop of rebel intelligence, but he fears that her parents involvement will condemn all of Alderaan and plans to report them to the Empire, but he dies before he can do so, devastating Leia but leaving her with mixed feelings amongst her grief. He was a really interesting character, and one that I was pretty drawn into as he grew just as much as Leia did.
Leia is a super, super cool book and I cannot sing its praises enough. It was hard for me to put down even when I DEFINITELY had other things to do. It's a great read for anyone to pick up, and I think everyone should read it so I can talk about it to everybody.