What Is It Like To Read Star Wars For The First Time?
Bloodline, the latest Star Wars novel released just two weeks ago, takes place in the years before Episode VII, The Force Awakens. The book is one of several canon Star Wars novels that contribute to the overall Star Wars Universe, yet for me, it is my first experience “reading” Star Wars.
Very Minor Spoilers Follow
I’ve always loved Star Wars, and have been a fan since the early ‘80s, but my fandom has been almost exclusively from my experience watching the movies, over, over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read books about Star Wars, about the characters, planets and star ships; I’ve loved collecting Star Wars memorabilia and experiencing anything Star Wars from board games and card games to the Lego Star Wars video games. I however, never read a story about Star Wars that wasn’t directly pertaining to the full length movies in the series. Bloodline is therefore, quite a new experience for me when it comes to my Star Wars fandom, and I have to say, I’m loving it!
I had a lot of apprehension reading a Star Wars novel, because for me, my love of reading has been mostly books and stories that I have no prior experience in or expectation. I pick up a novel, and look forward to discovering the story as I read, imagining what the characters look like, and I get engrossed in what the author is describing. I also have read many books, or book series that later become movies, and have my own personal policy of needing to read the book before I see the movie. Books such as the Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia, both series I read long before there was a hint of movies being made based on the novels. I therefore was able to imagine a world all in my head relying solely on the author’s description. There were then series that I made sure to read before going to see the movies that were already out, such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. So maybe you can understand my apprehension when it came to picking up a novel about a universe that I already had complete graphic images and expectations in my head about. I guess, I just didn’t want to be disappointed. Well, I am now 200 pages into Bloodline, and I’ll be starting chapter 20 tonight, and I am quite the opposite of being disappointed.
What is great about reading Bloodline is that it really does feel like a totally new experience. It is so good, that I feel like I am literally watching another chapter in the Star Wars series unfold. Unlike other novels, I picked up this book having many images in my head about what the characters look like, what their personalities and eccentricities are, what a tie fighter looks like, along with having a complete history and backstory about what has transpired in the lives and the galaxy from far, far away. Yet, at the same time, there are new characters that I get to learn about and imagine just as if I were reading an unknown novel. The whole experience has been a mixture of recalling what I already know about Star Wars, along with adding new and exciting characters and plot twists that can also enhance my experience watching the movies that take place after Bloodline. I’ve even found myself imagining watching the X-wing, which Seastriker pilots, following the Mirrorbright as an escort, or diving into the caverns on the planet Bastatha, and even having Star Wars music playing in my head as I read. Along with imagining what these new planets look like by the description the author, Claudia Gray gives, I also love the parts in the story that have us recalling actual scenes from the original trilogy that involved Princess Leia. Scenes such as her experience witnessing the destruction of Alderaan, or where she killed Jabba the Hutt. These scenes are so cool to read about because I know exactly what they are describing.
As far as the storyline goes, I really like that the primary character is Princess Leia, and have loved her interaction with all the supporting characters, mostly Casterfo, Greer and Seastriker. Casterfo especially is an intriguing character with a lot of depth, and I am enjoying finding out more and more about his backstory, his personality, and can’t help but wonder if his name, Ransolm, is hinting at something to come. It’s also interesting reading the storyline unfold having a knowledge of what happens in the years after this, having seen The Force Awakens. It makes me wonder what exactly Leia and Casterfo are unfolding in their investigations of Rinnrivin Di and the Amaxine warriors, and whether it has something to do with the First Order we see in the Force Awakens. Whatever it is, I’m so intrigued and engrossed in this book that I can’t wait to finish it and see where Claudia Gray takes us on this Star Wars Adventure.
Overall, I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised not only with the storyline of Bloodline, but my experience as well. It makes me so much more intrigued to read more books in the Star Wars series, specifically the Aftermath series which are outlined in chronological order at the beginning of this book. I’m excited to finish this book and find out where Gray takes the story and the characters, and thus far feel she has done an amazing job not only with incorporating the characters we know and love, but creating new characters that mesh so well into the Star Wars Universe.