'Leia, Princess of Alderaan'
A review on the book by Claudia Grey
As a die hard Star Wars fan I will always find new ways to learn more about the universe George Lucas created, including cosplaying as Princess Leia herself. It is one of my favorite things to do, and in order to add more to my portrayal of this great heroine, I read the book Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray.
A lot of people warned me not to read it. They said they hated how it was written, and that Claudia Gray was a terrible writer. Well, it's a good thing I never listen to other's reviews on matters of books, for if I did, I would never read another book I wanted to read again. I personally didn't care of Claudia Gray was as talented as Shakespeare or as horrible as Stephanie Meyer. I wanted to know more about Leia, and how she has changed since Disney bought the franchise. You see I grew up on the original extended universe, and so when Disney bought Star Wars and said my original universe, my childhood, I had to learn more.
I sat down and read Gray's book, and to my surprise I enjoyed most of it quite well. I loved seeing how Leia, at age sixteen, was already a strong idealist, and wanted nothing more than to change the world. She knew who she was her whole life, she knew she was an adopted princess, a young girl with parents who loved her more than anything in the world. But when they started to distance themselves from her, she questioned everything about her world.
This is something I believe everyone, boys and girls can relate to. There comes a time in all our lives where we question who we are and what we are, and that moment can be as major as our own parents distancing from us, or as minor and natural as going through puberty. For Leia it was much more. It was about taking her rightful place as heir to the throne of Alderaan, but in order to do that she had to survive three tasks, one of heart, one of mind, one of body.
Her choices would be ones that would build Leia into the princess we know and love today. For heart, she went on diplomatic relief missions to help planets in need. Planets and peoples who were devastated by the rise of the empire. Her test of the mind was serving in the Apprentice Legislature of the Imperial Senate on Coruscant. This shouldn't be a surprise for readers or any fan of Star Wars, as we know Leia to have been a member of the Imperial Senate at the start of A New Hope. In fact the start of A New Hope she was around the age of 19, and the book takes place during her 16th year of life (she doesn't know when her birthday is, so she celebrates her name day). And finally her task of body is to climb Appenza Peak on Alderaan. It isn't the highest or the most dangerous mountain on her planet, but she had to train for this task, and learn how to survive in the wild.
During her tasks, she meets many people including Amilyn Holdo of Gatelenta, Chassellion Stevis of Coruscant, and most importantly Keir Domadi of Alderaan. Keir and Amilyn are the two most important people in this book outside of Leia, for as she grows into the princess she is known as in the Star Wars franchise.
I love Holdo in this book. I enjoyed seeing how she tried so hard to be herself, even though her heritage taught her to be modest and quiet. She is an outgoing young woman, expressing herself through her dyed hair and her unusual clothing. She is eccentric, impulsive, and outspoken. She expresses herself without fear, and becomes a true and loyal friend to Leia in the most unexpected way—and when she needs a friend most of all.
As much as I love Holdo though, I dislike Keir. The reason for this is that, while I know Leia is a sixteen year old girl in this book, and would have had infatuations and crushes, I hate that her relationship with Keir becomes a distraction from who she is, to who she will become. I enjoyed reading how Leia accepted her parents when she learned their plans, how she learned to become more independent and self sustaining, and how she used her intuition to discover the truth of the galaxy she lived in. Keir however, I feel, is an unnecessary distraction. I enjoyed their friendship and what he had to teach her, as if it weren't for him she may have never learned how to fire a blaster, but I hated what he became to her.
In the end, Leia, Princess of Alderaan is a book I would highly suggest. It honors the character that Carrie Fisher brought to life in new ways that I have never imagined. I loved seeing how a young Leia grew to a princess, and became the leader of the rebellion. It's a must read.