There’s much that’s been said and written about the story Claudia Gray has penned about Leia Organa in the few days since the novel’s release May 3.

Be it revelations of the Huttslayer or the examination into the warrior and strategist or deep dive into the political machinations of the New Republic and her role in its founding, the novel has struck a near-unanimous chord among readers, Star Wars fans and historians for whom charting the Saga’s lore is an almost full-time affair.

Very Minor Spoilers follow below … you may wish to read Bloodline before proceeding.

The novel is a true work of inspiration, yet it must be noted that its audiobook incarnation adds a new level of detail, scope and heft to the words Gray has put to paper.

Suffice it to say, I won’t repeat what you already know about the plot. For that, you can read Dan Zehr’s percipient analysis of the story and elucidate even more than I can offer.

No, instead, what I offer is simply this: January LaVoy’s candid yet deeply entrenched reading of Bloodline has turned the work into the prequel to The Force Awakens that helps not just set the stage for the events in that film, but likely the rest of the new trilogy, too. And it does so by capably mining Leia’s history — private and public — taking the listener through some 10 hours of story in what was akin to the blink of an eye.

Such is the effort of the Random House Audio production. It’s seamless and, at times, I found myself gripping my steering wheel as LaVoy guided the story through unexpected u-turns and emotional chasms. Of particular note, without doubt, is the very public, very damning reveal of Leia’s patrial lineage. The mix of utter shock and revulsion as Leia’s darkest secret is laid bare before not just the Senate, but in all likelihood her and Han’s son, Ben, is a devastating moment that lingered long afterward.

That’s a testament to LaVoy’s work. There’s a reason she was named Publishers Weekly’s 2013 Audiobook Narrator of the Year and is a five-time Audie Award nominee.

In short, the audiobook of Bloodline is a masterstroke of storytelling and gripping detail. It’s definitely worth listening to, even if you’ve already read the book.

Purchase Bloodline here.

Penguin Random House Audio provided an advanced copy for review.

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