Steve digs his teeth into Claudia Gray’s compelling Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens adventure
This thrilling Young Adult novel gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe, from the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire…
Star Wars: Lost Stars – Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens | by Claudia Gray
Lost Stars starts us off on the planet Jelucan, a backwoods planet in the Outer Rim. The book opens up just before an Imperial parade is about to begin in the capital city of Valentia. Telling the story from the perspective of two youths, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, the story chronicles their lives from just a few years after the end of The Clone Wars all the way past the Battle of Jakku. With that in mind, the reader must understand why there are so many time jumps in the story.
Gray tells the story of two young children from different socio-economic classes and how they bond and grow up together. Despite their different backgrounds, they become the best of friends, and later, something much more. They learn how to fly together. They prepare for entry into the Imperial Academy together. They attend the same Imperial Academy. They are commissioned together. They do everything together until certain events split them apart due to ideological and political reasons. One, having a conflict of morality over the events that transpire, chooses to leave the service of the Empire and goes on the run as a cargo pilot, and even eventually joining the Rebellion against the Empire. The other, having a strong sense of loyalty, looking at those same events with a different viewpoint, chooses to honor her oath and remain with the Empire.
I enjoyed how the book takes us through so many iconic events in the Skywalker saga but told from the context of those not part of those stories in the original trilogy. Lost Stars walks us through the theft of the Death Star plans, the destruction of Alderaan and the Death Star, the Battle of Hoth, the Battle of Endor, the death of the Emperor, up through the demise of the Empire at the Battle of Jakku. It was wonderful to experience these major events through the eyes of two seemingly insignificant individuals. Being able to have a story told by those outside the movies was a welcome change.
Another thing that I loved about this book was the character development. I really got a sense of who the characters in this book were. Not just the two main characters, but also many of the supporting characters. This book shows you the side of being a part of the Empire you never really think of. For instance, you almost feel sorry for the deaths of some of the individuals serving in the Empire because of the way Gray shows the progression of these characters, such as Jude, the former roommate of Ciena who meets her untimely end when the Rebels destroy the first Death Star. The way the story is told gets you really invested in the characters in ways you would never think imaginable. Lost Stars gives you a brand new set of characters and pulls you in.
We learn about Ciena, from cadet to Lieutenant, to Lieutenant Commander, to full Commander, and finally to Captain, when she is given command of her own Star Destroyer. On Thane’s end, we see him progress from cadet to Lieutenant, and then to Imperial deserter, where he becomes, more or less, a smuggler and then his experiences as a starfighter pilot in the Rebellion.
I have to admit, I am not a fan of romance novels and this book did have that love story element. But, it was done in a tasteful way, at least in my opinion. Plus, the way that Gray built the characters of Ciena and Thane, you want these characters to get together. And when they finally do, at the beginning stages of their antagonistic relationship, it is saddening to know that these two can never truly be together due to their ideological rift. The relationship between the two, from their pre-teen years, all the way until the end is believable and real. You really have to root for them.
Additionally, the author takes us on a trip to planets both familiar and not. The story tells us about recognizable planets such as Coruscant, Alderaan, and Dantooine and new planets such as the Kerev Doi and Outlanne. In addition to developing the main and side characters, she also provides cameos from familiar faces such as Wedge Antilles, Princess Leia, Mon Mothma. Although not directly having a part in the story, the name of a highly popular character is mentioned in one of my favorite humorous lines in the book: “Who the hell is General Solo?”
Even though this book was designated a Young Adult novel, don’t let that steer you away from reading it. If you give it a chance, this novel WILL hook you in. I have never read one of Claudia Gray’s works but this one makes me want to check out more of her fiction.
Overall, this is a must-read for any fan of Star Wars.
Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray is published by Disney Books and is available to buy NOW!
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Steve Long is a new addition to the Future of the Force roster. Aside from being a passionate Star Wars fan, he also co-hosts the Rogue One Radio Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @otter272 where he channels his passion frequently!