Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Author: Claudia Gray
Released: September 4th 2015
Lost Stars is a blend of storytelling that I had never thought to anticipate; it’s a Star Wars novel (obviously), but it’s also a romance. I don’t know why, but I just wasn’t expecting that twist. It’s wonderfully refreshing however, and while I was overly anxious for the young couple at times I really enjoyed the story.
The timeline for Lost Stars is somewhat broad; it starts about eight years after the fall of the Old Republic, and up to about a year after the battle of Endor. Obviously our two main characters didn’t see every major event that occurred during this time, but they saw more than their fair share.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I started reading Lost Stars. I’ll admit to feeling a certain level of trepidation; I had seen the love story of Thane and Ciena’s compared to that of Romeo and Juliet, so naturally I was worried it would all end in tragedy. But other than that, I didn’t really know what I was in for. Maybe that is why I was so blown away with this novel. It was wonderfully written, with expert character development; the characters had real hopes, flaws, and conflicts that brought them to life in a way you just don’t see in every novel.
Now, if you’re anything like me you were probably wracking your brain from the moment you saw the character names trying to remember if you saw them mentioned anywhere else. To me, confirming their appearance at a later date would have told me something about whether or not they survived (flawed logic really, considering how big of a timespan this novel covered).
I can save you the internet search; Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree mostly only exist in this novel. They’re referenced in Battlefront II, and of course they’re the main characters in the webcomic version of this story, but that is more or less the extent of it.
Ciena and Thane were just two kids living on planet Jelucan (Out Rim Territory), but they both shared the same dream. They wanted to fly. More specifically they wanted to fly for the Empire. By teaming up they were able to train and gain a level of expertise required for top ranks at the best schools. Throughout their training their relationship is hinted at, but it only grows more with time.
I’m usually a bit fussy about romance stories; I don’t like them when they’re the main plot (which obviously isn’t the case here), or when they’re forced. The love the grows during Lost Stars is true and so painfully human at times that it’s difficult to overlook.
One of my favorite parts of this story was the gradual shift in perspective. I’ve read plenty of Star War stories where the main character was the antagonist (Tarkin, Lords of the Sith, etc) and where the main character was solely a protagonist (A New Dawn, Bloodline, Ahsoka), but before now I had never read one that covered both ends of the spectrum. Ciena and Thane start out on the side of the Empire, but as events occur one of them is forced to change their alliance. For the longest time they were on opposite sides of the war – and I was convinced one of them was going to die (and further the convictions of the survivor).
The juxtaposition between the two warring loyalties added multiple levels to the tension between the two characters. The fact that they kept running into each other – after multiple agreements to stay away – really goes to show the force works in mysterious ways. I don’t normally find myself saying things like that, but it works in this case.
I’ve read two Star Wars books by Claudia Gray now, and I have to say I think she’s my favorite for the new cannon. Granted, I haven’t read them all yet so that’s probably not a fair statement, but I’ve adored her work so far. I hope she continues to write in this world, as clearly she is talented at it.