This book is an exciting political thriller that just happens to take place in the Star Wars universe starring both new and familiar faces. It includes plenty of intrigue, instances of excitement, and brief moments of lovely characterization. And while it features half a dozen point of view characters, the chief of those is Senator Leia Organa Solo. Not enough books feature an older woman as the heroine, which is a shame, because that’s generally who knows how to get things done.

It could have been easy to portray the Centrist and Populist political parties as allegories for American Democrats and Republicans, but the comparison is not so simple. Both sides have good and bad aspects, and Gray does an excellent job of setting up how the contrasting political ideologies create the perfect breeding ground for the rise of the First Order, prior to the events of Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens.

Even the character initially put forth as a foil to Leia, the young, charismatic senator who seems to idealize the virtues of the Empire, isn’t quite so two-dimensional. The development of their friendship was as strong as any romance I’ve read, and the final outcome left me in tears.

As a side bonus, Gray introduces us to two amazing side characters in Greer and Joph. I hope to learn of their future adventures in the Resistance some day.

Highly recommended for any Star Wars fans who need more Leia in their life. (Which, lately, seems to be a lot of them. Space Mom probably has OPINIONS about some of the attitudes of the past few years.)

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

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