Leia, Princess of Alderaan seemed a bit iffy at first. Despite being part of the “Journey to The Last Jedi” it is a prequel to the original films. Precisely, this book seems to take place around the same time as the start of Star Wars: Rebels. Author Claudia Grey has delivered nothing but gold for Star Wars so far and that continues here. Readers saw in Bloodline that she can write middle-aged Leia well and she did an equal job with young Leia. For multiple reasons, exploring Leia’s history in full is a crucial component to the Star Wars universe.
We have already seen differences in Leia in the new Disney Star Wars compared to the old Expanded Universe. The old novels had her serving as a leading figure in the New Republic after the fall of the Empire. As constant warfare grew, she eventually gave up politics and became a Jedi Knight. While she did still marry Han Solo, they had three children in the old continuity (all of whom arguably played a much more important role in the later stories than Leia herself). There are some similarities to the new Disney era, such as Leia quitting politics to go fight. However, she is a character that could and has been improved by being reinvented a little.
Princess of Alderaan largely deals with how Leia first became involved with the Rebel Alliance. Leia is just as spunky and headstrong as Carrie Fisher originally portrayed her. While still inexperienced, being only 16 years old, Leia is a remarkably intelligent young woman. Claudia Grey touches on all of these traits, writing the character as well as George Lucas originally did. Along with Leia herself, Claudia Grey does just as good of a job with other iconic characters such as Leia’s father Bail Organa and Grand Moff Tarkin.
This is very much Leia’s coming of age story, showing the point where she begins to become a hero. Being a Young Adult novel does make it a bit lighter in tone than other Star Wars books. Nonetheless, we do see tensions and the characters are put in real danger both physically and politically. In the beginning the Rebel Alliance was walking on a tightrope; one slip-up and the Empire would have crushed them. Like Rogue One, the story ends with a message of hope even though readers already know the fate of Alderaan.