Book Review: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
Genre: Space opera, Children-Tweens
Series: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars Canon
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (September 2015)
Author Info: ClaudiaGray.com
Wendy’s Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
“Look through my eyes.”
I’d heard the praise about this book and knew that it involved a pair of star-crossed lovers, but I guess I had expected their tale to be a new adventure of their own. And it most certainly is that, but set within an all too familiar back drop. I did not expect Ciena and Thane’s story to storm through every major battle that I have already seen on screen a thousand times and can replay in my mind’s eye as if I were there. But this time, those epic battles are revealed through very different perspectives that force me to question everything I’ve believed–no, everything I’ve simply assumed about Star Wars. Because Lost Stars is, at its heart, a story of differing points of view. When you’re not looking through the eyes of the hero, Luke Skywalker, the story changes entirely and most notably with the realization that Han is completely justified in his
Ever since meeting Luke Skywalker and subsequently reading all the current and former EU, playing all the games, watching the cartoons, etc, I have taken for granted that everyone knows about the Force and Jedi rolling around town brandishing lightsabers is an everyday occurrence. But the reality is that, outside of the council in the prequels and Luke’s inner circle, your average Joe wasn’t privy to the deadly rave sticks and epic displays of mythical power. Even the Emperor kept his mad skillz in check, never tipping his lightning tipped hand as his annihilated the Jedi.
And then came the propaganda. If China can obliterate Tiananmen Square from its history, imagine what the propaganda machine that is the Empire can do, especially without internet communications to worry about. Which makes it easy to seduce eager young children like Ciena and Thane into a life of planet-sized genocide.
Perspective is everything and Gray takes us through the stories we have known through the eyes of these best friends who are forced into situations that put them at odds with their own sense of loyalty, morality, and honour along side their friends as they watch participate in events like the destruction of Alderaan. It’s easy for us to see these actions as evil, but to those conditioned to believe the Empire to be the good guys, it’s not quite as clear. Or rather, Gray does an exceptional
job of showing us how such heinous crimes can be rationalized by very normal, good people.
Romance is a YA trope that I am wary of, but when it’s done well, then I’m all for it. That is the case here, where the focus is first on friendship and how their relationship develops–and I don’t mean how it develops into romance, but how it affects their decisions as their lives progress. The heart wants what it wants, but Ciena and Thane are so much more than the scope of their loins. As a result, as I read about them constantly being torn apart inside and out by the realities of war and their own personal conflicts, I couldn’t help but hurt. And even more surprising, despite knowing the outcome of the various battles portrayed, the hyper focus of seeing it through Thane and Ciena’s eyes creates such incredible tension.
After recently reading Star Wars: Shattered Empire and other books that take old fans back and introduce new fans to the original Star Wars trilogy, I am so pleased with this concept. It gives fans, both new and old, something new to share as the journey reawakens on screen.