Skip to content

Bloodlines by Karen Tarviss


Bloodlines is, by far, the worst Star Wars book I have ever read.

The book is part of a new 9-book series called Legacy of the Force, only two of which have been released so far. It’s set in the future when Han Solo and Leia’s kids have grown up. The New Republic is being accused of high-handedness similar to that of the Empire and resistances to it have sprung up, notably from Han Solo’s home planet of Corellia.

The major problem: the author has the character development all screwed up.

We are familiar with Boba Fett, the bad-ass bounty hunter. What you get is Boba Fett, dying man and mushy grandfather. Who realizes after some fifty years that he has been unkind to his former wife and two year old daughter; and then adopts his granddaughter to finally feel a sense of family.

We know and love Han Solo, who flies into asteroid fields with the odds stacked against him at three thousand seven hundred twenty to one. We are a bit surprised to meet Han Solo, running for his life from a rumoured death mark, under cover and thinking of growing a beard to disguise himself.

We were inspired by Princess Leia, beautiful yet strong enough to inspire the entire Rebel Alliance and be a leader of significant impact in the New Republic. And presto, she’s converted into a rather resigned wife who tries to tell her partly-senile husband that he shouldn’t meddle in the relationship affairs of his thirty-one year old daughter.

We are familiar with Luke Skywalker, sincere, calm and powerful Jedi Master who has great insights into the Force and leads the Jedi Council. We find a Jedi council that is totally irrelevant to government besides simply being sitting and frowning upon the war which the government is starting. “Grand Master” Luke Skywalker, as he is introduced in the Dramatis Personae, spends most of the book arguing with his wife about whether their son is under a bad influence and whether their nephew is going through a bad relationship or has turned to the dark side.

The nephew in question is Jacen Solo, a Jedi Knight (under the apprenticeship of a Sith) so powerful and wise that he can hide and show his Force-presence and travel backward and forwards in time. Yet he is pathetic enough to believe in completely ridiculous arguments for killing innocents. And this, if it may be referred to as such, is the “plot” of the book. Jacen has his ideas – Sith-like ideas of how to control order in the new government, whereas everyone else seems to disagree with him.

The plot moves ever so slowly – with nine books in the series, not hard to imagine why. Less pressure on the creativity, but more money into the authors’ coffers. And virtually no action at all. Not one lightsaber fight, only a second’s worth of space combat, some SWAT-like teams arresting civilians and one anti-climactic assasination. This is what Star Wars has come to?

If you’re looking for a galactic soap opera, with loads of self-pity, broken hearts and impotent characters, by all means go and pick up this book.

As a fan, I can’t help but cringe at what this has done to the Star Wars universe. Until now, although there was a fair variation in Star Wars extended fiction, there was at least a minimal level of quality. And usually the lower-quality literature focused on side issues like cloned soldiers, or unknown Jedi and so on. This book has taken a wonderful story with it’s strong characters and basically ripped it apart. My respect for the likes of Kevin Anderson and Timothy Zahn has doubled – sounds like its not easy to write quality Star Wars, and they did a brilliant job.

Rating: 1/5