Science Fiction

Star Wars: Lost Stars

Author: Claudia Gray

Published By:
Disney/LucasFilm Press

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


               You never know what you might find perusing the bargain shelves in Barnes & Noble.  On one particular adventure, I found a 550-plus hardcover book from the new Star Wars canon.  Entitled Lost Stars it was touted to be a book in the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it, but at that price, how could I pass it up?

               Lost Stars begins some time after the war with the Separatists is over.  The government of the planet Jelucan has just joined the Empire and its inhabitants are about to be visited by Grand Moff Tarkin.  Two young children are about to meet him and begin an epic journey that will find them on opposite sides of a much different war. 

Thane Kyrell’s parents are amongst the latter generation of settlers on the planet, technologically advanced and fairly well-off.  Ciena Rae’s ancestors are from the earliest settlers on the planet, successful, but steeped in the traditional ways and often looked down upon by the newer generation of settlers.  The two meet when Thane and Ciena fight off a group of bullies and become fast friends.  Their chance meeting of Tarkin in person inspires them both to become pilots for the Empire.  They pledge to help one another do just that and eventually attend the academy.

Though events at the academy threaten to drive a wedge between them, somehow the two find a way to keep their friendship alive.  As the two mature, so does their relationship and there are hints that maybe their friendship can turn into something more once the academy is over.  Upon graduation, Thane is sent to a tie-fighter wing on the Empire’s newest battle station – the Death Star.  Meanwhile, Ciena finds herself assigned to Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer, the Devastator.  Though far apart, the two keep in touch as much as they can until the fateful day when the two are brought together for an event that will shape the rest of their lives.

The meeting place is the Death Star and the event – the destruction of Alderaan and, later, the destruction of the Death Star itself.  Though the two are seemingly brought closer together, they can never be farther apart.  One realizes that the Empire is not everything they ever hoped for.  In fact, the Empire can be downright cruel and horrific, causing pain and enslaving others for little reason other than to flex its muscles.  Meanwhile, the other sees some wrong with the Empire, but believes in the oath taken when they joined…that oath is something not easily turned back on.  Can Thane and Ciena ever find peace in each other’s arms, or will the one thing that united them actually be the one thing that destroys them?

When I first started reading Star Wars: Lost Stars, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get into.  I’ve read Star Wars tales by Claudia Gray in the past and knew that she had a great handle on the Star Wars universe, but I was surprised to find myself instantly captivated by the characters and the storyline.  This book takes on so many of the major events in the Star Wars universe and shows them from two separate angles.  We see the destruction of Alderaan, the destruction of the Death Star, the Battle of Hoth, the destruction of the second Death Star, the Battle of Jakku, all through the eyes of two individuals, one whose loyalty to the oath taken when they joined the Empire has waned, and one who has never turned their back on that oath.  And yet, despite being on different sides of things, the relationship that Thane and Ciena nurtured since they were children hoping to become pilots for the Empire wavers, but never dies. 

Lost Stars has something for every single Star Wars fan out there.  There is plenty of action in the form of dogfights, speeder races and more.  The political thinkers out there will love the internal battles of Thane and Ciena as they struggle to understand what those in power are doing…what their end game is.  Of course, we all know what that end game is, but it is interesting to see these things from two different angles of characters going through it at the time.  Then, there is the romance angle.  What Star Wars fan didn’t appreciate the romance angle in each segment of the original trilogy?  Well, Claudia Gray takes things up a notch in Lost Stars – there are scenes for the mature audience in this book…not detailed love scenes, but there are love scenes, something that you see very little of in Star Wars books of old.

This book was such an exciting and intriguing adventure and was so well-written, I could visualize every scene in my mind’s eye and it got me thinking – why aren’t the powers that be thinking of making this book into a one-shot Star Wars movie?  I think Lost Stars would be a perfect selection for this type of treatment.  The one-shot movies took a hit with Solo, but I always thought the idea was great, especially after seeing Rogue OneLost Stars, if done correctly (meaning by the book, literally), I think it would bring the one-shot Star Wars movies back on line to greatness.  Just a thought, but while we are waiting for the powers that be to come to their senses, I definitely recommend checking out the novel version of Star Wars: Lost Stars.  You won’t be disappointed!


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