A few notes before we begin:
Bloodlines is the second book in the legacy of the force series and the 24th book published by Del Rey after they took over the Star Wars book publishing prior to the New Jedi Order series.
This book shows us how Jacen Solo begins to rationalize his fall to the dark side. It also covers how he flow walks into the past to try to figure out how his decision is different from the one that his Grandfather made. That is important now that in the Disney timeline we are going to start to see how Ben Solo becomes Kylo Ren. I imagine we will see that in the books more so than the movies but we should see some of that in Episode 8.
Karen Traviss is the author and is the main force behind the writing about Mandolrians and Mandolrian culture. With that we get a very in-depth look into the mind of fan favorite Boba Fett. That is very interesting stuff and it makes this book a very easy read.
However, seeing Jacen solo grapple with his family’s past and his decision to take a step towards the Dark Side is why I wanted to read this series in the run up to Episode 8.
I really enjoy reading about Jacen making a similar choice for similar reasons that Anakin Skywalker made in Episode 3. Jacen’s motives are more shades of gray as we can effectively argue that he is doing things for the good of the galaxy and the Galactic Alliance. In later book even Luke Skywalker realizes that Jacen’s actions are for the most part for the greater good.
For me though this run of books proves how important having a cohesive story team in place is for huge multi-media projects like Star Wars. The seeds for this turn were planted in the final few New Jedi ORder books. The parallel between Jacen and Anakin is further developed in the Dark Nest Trilogy, and finally in the opening books of this series we see Jacen really wrestle with this monumental decision.
On the surface Jacen makes this choice to bring stability and peace to the galaxy. However given his secret affair with Tenel Ka and their very secret parentage of her daughter Allana really makes this decision as selfish as the one Anakin makes. In the end Jacen is really diluting himself thinking he isn’t repeating this mistake.
In the end this book offers us a very in-depth look at two really intriguing characters. I like that Jacen Solo is really the central figure of this series and the more established characters from the movies and previous books are moved more towards the edges. That is the thing the Expanded Universe has over the new books in the Disney timeline. They established unique fan favorite characters and then developed them into something great or in Jacen’s case something very menacing.
I also like the way Ben Skywalker’s character was developed over the course of the Del Rey books. Here is a character that they created and turned into something very different from anything else we have ever seen. He goes from being afraid of the force to being okay with that great responsibility and power to the loyal apprentice of Jacen. Like most teenagers he learns life lessons not so much from his parents but from the role models he chooses to have in his life. The bond between Jacen and Ben is very strong and Ben is on a pah to learn a lot of things, not all of them good.
Read More of the Star Wars Book Club Expanded Universe Coverage Here