On its face, Leia: Princess of Alderaan is a story about Leia’s coming of age as the rightful heir to the throne of Alderaan. In reality, Leia: Princess of Alderaan is a coming of age story about her education as to what Palpatine’s tyranny really looks like up close, her first encounters with people trying to do something about it, and her desire to join the cause no matter what the cost.
The ties to other Star Wars stories are all over the place. Leia’s keepsake chest and the Elder Houses reference in Star Wars: Bloodline are here, and it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that Lost Stars gets flagged in here somewhere, too.
The Sequel Trilogy gets its most obvious touchstones from Leia’s first-ever visit to Crait, and the introduction of Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo as a teenager going through the Apprentice Legislator and Pathfinding programs with her and a few other kids. The Prequel Trilogy gets flagged with history exhibits and references to the fact that Bail Organa can tell some crazy stories about the Clone Wars. Even Rogue One gets some love, with the Wobani humanitarian mission, Senators Vaspar and Pamlo, and a thinly-veiled reference to someone who could easily be Director Orson Krennic.
Possibly the biggest villain looming over the proceedings, though, is Grand Moff Tarkin, who’s taken an interest in the Organas and their sudden penchant for throwing lavish dinner parties. In fact, Tarkin crashes one of these parties, which makes for one of the most memorable scenes of the book.
I’m at the point where I feel comfortable saying that Claudia Gray is my favorite Star Wars novelist in the new canon. Between Lost Stars, Bloodline, and now this, it seems like she’s hit a home run (or near enough to it) with each one out of the gate. And her portrayals of Leia are so vivid and well-crafted, it’s enough to make you sad for the loss of Carrie Fisher all over again.