Claudia Gray’s new young adult novel Star Wars: Lost Stars continues the Journey to Star Wars The Force Awakens that novels have been taking in the lead up to the film. And it’s a really, really engrossing story spanning about 20 years. The novel picks up 8 years after Revenge of the Sith and tells the tale of two children, Thane Kyrell and Cienna Ree from the planet Jelucan, who will go on to take place in many of the key events from the original trilogy of films.
*The following will contain some spoilers*
We are introduced quickly to both Thane and Cierra, the protagonists throughout, as they and their respective families are traveling to Valentia, a city on the mountainous planet Jelucan. Thane is from a somewhat privileged family that lives in the mountains while Cienna’s family is from the valley and leads a more modest life. Families from the mountains are known as “second wavers” as they descend from the second wave of settlers to call Jelucan home, while valley dwellers descend from the first wave to colonize the harsh planet on the Outer Rim and are known as “first wavers,” or worse. It should be noted that Jelucans tend to be incredible loyal and honor their word, this is especially so for “first wavers” and is important as loyalty is an important theme throughout.
As Thane and Cienna arrive in Valentia, there to celebrate the planets official induction into the Galactic Empire, they are both enamored with the Empire’s star ships. The two meet when Thane slips into the hangar for a closer look at some of the ships only to see that others had already done the same, Cienna being among them. Being a girl from the valley, the others there start bullying her, but when they actually intend to assault her Thane attacks them despite being outnumbered. The little skirmish is quickly noticed and broken up by none other than Grand Moff Tarkin, one of many tie ins to the original trilogy. The bullies scatter leaving Thane and Cierra with Tarkin and after talking he allows them to go on the Lambda class shuttle nearby. This event instantly sparks their friendship as they decided to work together to do whatever necessary to get into an Imperial Academy as pilots.
They prepare for years to take the entrance exams for the Imperial Academy and their efforts pay off as they both become cadets at the Royal Academy on Coruscant. One of the particularly great and interesting aspects of this book is that Gray humanizes the Imperials by putting faces on many young Imperial cadets like Nash Windrider, Jude Edivon and Kendy Idele, and you don’t think of them as bad or evil, their just teens at this point and don’t yet know the truths of the Empire.
Before Thane and Cienna graduate and are given posts on the Death Star and the Star Destroyer Devastator respectively, their friendship develops into something more. What’s really interesting though is that the way Gray positions these characters, we get interesting new perspectives on classic events from the films. For instance, Cienna was posted on the Devastator which is the Star Destroyer that captures Princess Leia’s ship at the very beginning of A New Hope. Though Thane was stationed on the Death Star, he was luckily off on assignment at the time of its destruction.
Eventually as more familiar events unfold Thane becomes increasingly disillusioned with what it is that he is a part of and it isn’t long before he skips out on serving the Empire. Though Cienna also is having some reservations, she remains an Imperial. So the two of them, very much in love with one another, find themselves on opposite sides of the war. This sort of evokes a Romeo and Juliet in space kind of feel, though their romance isn’t by any means the whole focus of the novel, it does serve to ground the story and give it impact and meaning.
Now, in order to preserve the rest of Gray’s wonderful book, I will simply say that there are plenty of other familiar events that Thane and Cierra will take part in. Likewise, you can expect them to bump into a few more familiar faces like the previously mentioned meet with Grand Moff Tarkin. You really should get the book because it’s a very enjoyable read. It’s extremely accessible to both hardcore Star Wars fans and to those people who aren’t really huge fans, or even not fans at all.
That said, to give you even more incentive to get the book and read it, we get a look at the Battle of Jakku in the book. The image of the Star Destroyer on the cover of the novel is the same as the one that we see at the start of the second teaser trailer.
So are you going to go pick this up to find out what happens? Have you already read Lost Stars? If so definitely comment below and let us know what you thought.
If you’re reading the new canon novels be sure to also read our reviews of Lords of the Sith and Aftermath too. It’s still Halloween season so check out the trailer for the Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.
Images: Lucasfilm, Disney and Lucasfilm Publishing