Book Review — Leia: Princess of Alderaan


In the novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan, we learn Leia’s story within the Rebellion, binds the Star Wars galaxy together…

Once again, author Claudia Gray delivers an emotionally gripping, eloquently written Star Wars story with a novel all about our favorite Princess — Leia: Princess of Alderaan.

"Authority can be given, but leadership must be earned."

First mentioned by Darth Vader in A New Hope, Leia was known for her humanitarian efforts, with her plethora of “mercy missions” throughout the galaxy. We are taken on a handful of these journeys in the novel, to a few planets that may sound familiar from other Star Wars content.

Wobani (as it appeared in Rogue One)

"A forlorn world in the Mid Rim’s Bryx sector, Wobani is the site of Imperial Detention Center & Labor Camp LEG-817. Jyn Erso is serving a 20-year sentence on Wobani under the alias Liana Hallik when Alliance Pathfinders free her from captivity."

Before being used as an inhumane labor camp, Wobani was once a beautiful planet with much promise. Leia’s trip to this outer-rim territory occurred shortly after her 16th birthday, and about three years before the events of Rogue One when we find Jyn Erso imprisoned on this very world.

Crait (will appear in The Last Jedi)

"Now uninhabited, Crait is a mineral world dusted by a layer of white salt, reflecting the planet’s sunlight. It was once the site of a Rebel Alliance outpost, and has become a haven for the fleeing Resistance forces."

It makes sense why Leia would use this very location for the Resistance, about 35 years after the events of the novel. It’s remote and she would need every resource she could find after the First Order discovers their hidden base in The Force Awakens.

Leia also adds more ties to the films, this time from A New Hope.

Leia meets Tarkin.

On a few occasions, Leia interacts with Grand Moff Tarkin, which makes the reader feel uneasy during each meeting, even with the knowledge that the Princess would be safe until the events of Episode IV. Tarkin was always very suspicious of her but also held her in high regard and with the utmost respect.

Another canon connecting moment was when Leia visited Tarkin’s homeworld of Eriaudu, which we get a heavy dose of in the novel Lords of the Sith.

The Princess also travels to one of Naboo’s moons, in an effort to gain the assistance of the current queen, in preventing the oppression of the Empire on certain worlds in the galaxy. She is then introduced to the Moff of the region, who you might remember from The Phantom Menace.

Quarsh Panaka

The former Captain and royal bodyguard of Leia’s birth mother Queen Amidala/Padme Skywalker makes an appearance and what an encounter it is. When he meets the Princess for the first time, the (now) Moff immediately figures out Leia’s connection to Padme.

"Panaka’s gaze finally turned to Leia. He stopped short, eyes wide with shock. Although he managed to hold on to his cup, some of his tea splashed onto the floor. “Moff Panaka, are you well?” Dalné hurried forward as the little droid reached out an extender to mop up the spill.“Of course. Forgive me. Your guest—reminded me of someone else.” Recovering his dignity, Panaka straightened and walked toward Leia, seemingly at ease again. Yet she could see the intense curiosity in his eyes."

Before Panaka informs the Emperor of this startling news, members of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans kill the Moff, completely unrelated to what was going on with he and Leia.

This chapter in the book was my favorite and I literally gasped when Panaka realized who Leia truly was, but then again when he was ruthlessly murdered.

Leia knew who Kenobi was.

Growing up, Leia heard tales of the Jedi heroes of the Old Republic, especially of the great General Kenobi, from her adoptive parents Bail and Breha Organa, who both have a heavy presence in the novel.

"Like so many of the Emperor’s other promises, it was a lie designed to conceal other plans; her parents had taught her how to see through such things."

Leia nearly hired Han Solo as a pilot for one of her missions.

"She’d also hurried after one YT-model ship that had looked promisingly run-down and probably in need of money for repairs, but it took off before she could even reach it."

Leia forms an alliance with Mon Mothma.

Even at a young age and before her actual involvement within the Rebellion, she forms a tightly knit relationship with Mon Mothma. This relationship grows throughout the novel and later extends into events closer to The Force Awakens.

Next: 50 Most Memorable Moments from Star Wars Rebels

We hope Lucasfilm continues to release more Leia stories, with Claudia Gray at the helm. If you missed her previous Leia novel, Bloodline, make sure to pick it up. You can purchase all of her Star Wars novels here.