Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review: Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Hardcover, 551 pages

Published September 4th 2015 by Disney Lucasfilm Press

This is my third Claudia Gray Star Wars novel and my fourth of her books over all. It is clear that she does the opera in space opera better than anyone else working in the canon SW tie-in fiction. I have been quite serious that I think Disney would be smart to give her a swing at doing a script for the movies. She clears gets the universe.

Lost Stars is very similar to her recent original novel Defy The Stars in that it is 200% Romeo and Juliet this one set against the back drop of the conflict between the rebels and the empire during the events that span the events of the Skywalker saga. This time seen through characters slightly off screen from the ones we have seen before.

511 pages is long for a Star Wars novel, one that seems to be YA focused although unlike even some adult marketed SW novels there is actual love scenes and talk of sex. (let me be clear I give zero fucks about that - just pointing it out). There is a massive amount of story here and I enjoyed how Gray wove in her own parallels and reversals to the existing structure of battles we know. I mean our leads are there at the battle of Yavin, they are at Hoth and Endor and it all comes to a head in events that feed into the Force Awakens.

This is a neat magic trick even if it seems at times that Claudia has to sit on the narrative suitcase to fit all the story into a long book. This could have been two or three books easily.

Thane and Ciena are from the same backwater outer rim world. They enter the imperial academy together and constantly compete for top of the class. This competition comes to a head when they admit they have feelings for each other. After graduation she is assigned to lord Vader's Star Destroyer and he is set serve on the Death Star. Thane only survives by being sent on the mission to explore the remains of the rebel base Leia sent them to on Datoine. Both are effected by seeing Aldderan and death star blown up. Ciena digs in with the empire because she feels trapped by honor code of her people to follow her oath. Thane is disgusted and joins the rebellion recruited by a fan favorite character. Once they are opposing sides despite the large universe, they end up near each other in battle. Gray finds smart ways to weave them in close to the Skywalker saga so events are familiar but their story is strong enough for them to carry their own narrative. It is a neat storytelling magic trick but the bottom line is the story works. As corny as the romance is and believe me it is, it all works in a Star Wars context. The story worked for me through out.

I have seen a few online comments that laughably mis-understand this book. Ciena's rationalization of the Death star seems to a few misguided readers to be a defense of the Atomic bombs used at Hiroshma and Nagasaki. For Ciena to be a fully formed character who sides with the empire she has to make this rationalization, to suggest this is Claudia Gray's point of view or the point of the novel is pure comedy.

In the end this is top notch space opera and a must read for Star Wars fans interested in reading the new Canon.

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