Leia, Princess of Alderaan is the Star Wars novel I never knew I needed.
Claudia Gray’s newest novel, Leia, Princess of Alderaan, knocked it out of the galaxy. The story follows a spunky teen Leia Organa as she grows into the iconic, well-loved Princess we meet in A New Hope. She explores her complicated home life and eventually the broader galaxy in a myriad of adventures. The book focuses on the missions Leia has to go on in order to (eventually) rule Alderaan. It’s definitely a coming-of-age novel, with all of the added adventure of the Star Wars universe. While at some times it felt a little young for me, it was overall a fun read!
I was pleasantly surprised at how much we get to know Leia’s home life — especially her relationship with her parents. Their relationship is rich with complications, and her parents’ fear for her safety really comes through on many levels of the story. As she embarks on missions from Alderaan, we get to see her go head-to-head with her parents about what it means to fight the Empire. Even the portrayals of Bail and Breha are rich and nuanced, which only adds to the story and Leia’s character development.
Although the book bridges the gaps between stories we already know, a bit of mystery is interwoven throughout the story. I especially appreciate that aspect because in some ways, we know where much of Leia’s arc takes her, so the mystery nicely compliments our familiarity with the series.
On that note, the foreshadowing in the book was done very well and was cool to read! Everything in the story feels like it connects seamlessly in the storyline and also in the world as a whole. Claudia Gray really demonstrates her affinity for Star Wars writing, often referencing some other fan-favorite characters (Mon Mothma, anyone?!). Claudia also introduces some fresh characters to Leia’s story arc, and the relationships feel mostly natural.
Now, as an avid Leia fan, I’m pretty picky about portrayals, and I mean it when I say I love Claudia Gray’s. Leia’s voice feels almost spot-on. She is sassy, smart, and consistently fights for those who need help. While it did take me some time to adjust to the younger teen Leia, her actions felt genuine to who she is. It was great to see some of Leia’s flaws come through, too, as it made the characterization feel very dimensional. And, okay, this could just be me, but… I love how often she argues with people throughout the book. There is just so much classic Leia spunk!
Elements of romance and tragedy strike throughout the book, too. It’s very much a classic coming-of-age novel in that sense. The romance aspect did feel a little out of place and predictable to me. That and the relatively simple structure was what caused the book to feel a bit young or oversimplified at times.
(It was personally easy to overlook in favor of looking for The Last Jedi hints!)
Leia, Princess of Alderaan was a relatively quick read that included action, drama, and even some good old teen angst. Following Leia as she grows up — especially through the lens of Claudia Gray’s spunky portrayal — is exciting and rewarding, and this story fits well into the Star Wars universe. This is definitely one of my favorite Star Wars novels I’ve read! Claudia Gray, you’ve done it again.
Leia, Princess of Alderaan… the Force is with you.
Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her life so far: proving herself in the areas of body, mind, and heart to be formally named heir to the throne of Alderaan. She’s taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control. But Leia has worries beyond her claim to the crown. Her parents, Breha and Bail, aren’t acting like themselves lately; they are distant and preoccupied, seemingly more concerned with throwing dinner parties for their allies in the Senate than they are with their own daughter. Determined to uncover her parents’ secrets, Leia starts down an increasingly dangerous path that puts her right under the watchful eye of the Empire. And when Leia discovers what her parents and their allies are planning behind closed doors, she finds herself facing what seems like an impossible choice: dedicate herself to the people of Alderaanincluding the man she loves or to the galaxy at large, which is in desperate need of a rebel hero…