Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, a book review
Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray was part of a review package I received from Disney Publishing Worldwide. Any time that a Star Wars book is thrown my way, I’m going to devour it. Since Disney took over all things Star Wars, the books have been nothing short of fantastic (although the Battlefront book was odd). Since The Force Awakens has turned out to be a magnificent return to the series, we’re going to see more interest in Star Wars books. Also, this is part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
I didn’t know anything about Star Wars: Lost Stars, but I was hooked within the first few pages. The book starts about eight years after the fall of the Old Republic on a planet called Jelucan. We meet two children and their families. Ciena is from the first settlers of the planet, over 500 years ago. They were cast out from their home planet after a civil war. The first settlers believe in family, community and keeping their word. The second-wavers arrived about 150 years ago and were much more modern in tastes and needs. There was an obvious disconnect between the two societies and this keeps most of the novel moving through its paces.
I was immediately drawn to the Romeo and Juliet-like story of the novel. The over-arching theme is that the two friends grow up together simply by learning to fly. Their hopes are to be accepted into the Imperial Academy. For most of the galaxy, the Galactic Empire is still seen as the best way to go.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but Thane and Ciena find themselves competing amicably at an Imperial Academy until a situation breaks their friendship. The rest of the novel follows both of them as they experience different parts of the conflict between the Empire and the Rebels. It was pretty eye-opening to see the rebels painted as terrorists, even with the destruction of Alderaan. Ciena follows her honor-bound decisions while Thane reacts on an emotional level. Thane and Ciena find themselves in conflict, emotionally and morally, throughout most of Star Wars: Lost Stars.
I loved reading how both of them were at the nexus of all of the major battles and incidents of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. They also run into the major players of the films and interact on crucial levels. Again, I loved reading how Thane and Ciena were always on the edge of the films and part of them. It reminded me of the wonderful Phineas and Ferb Star Wars episode.
People will say this book is a teen romance, but it really is so much more than that. This book is a perfect expansion of the films of the original trilogy. Gray pulls back the curtains ever so slightly and we see how the battles came together and what brought about many of the conflicts. Also, it’s amazing to see characters like Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin, Admiral Akbar and others from the viewpoint of the rank-and-file. We know all about Vader and the Emperor, but to the general population of the galaxy, they’re the leaders and enforcers of the peace.
I had a history professor who said that all of history was written by the important people: the wealthy, the powerful and the victors. To me, seeing the monumental Star Wars events through the eyes of normal people was a quite wonderful.