Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Publication Date: September 4, 2015
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press 
Pages: 551
Series: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Genre: Science Fiction
Synopsis: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Eight years after the fall of the Old Republic, the Galactic Empire now reigns over the known galaxy. Resistance to the Empire has been all but silenced. Only a few courageous leaders such as Bail Organa of Alderaan still dare to openly oppose Emperor Palpatine. After years of defiance, the many worlds at the edge of the Outer Rim have surrendered. With each planet’s conquest, the Empire’s might grows stronger. The latest to fall under the Emperor’s control is the isolated mountain planet Jelucan, whose citizens hope for a more prosperous future even as the Imperial Starfleet gathers overhead…

Review: On my mental list of fictional universes I'd like to live in, the Star Wars galaxy is at least in the top three.  I mean, who doesn't want to be a Jedi, or a smuggler, or a starfighter pilot (but mostly a Jedi, come on)?

Lost Stars fits seamlessly into the original trilogy without sacrificing its own story.  It focuses mainly on its own characters lives within the period rather than allowing the original plot overtake everything and drive the book.  The downfall is the enormous time span the book encompasses.  It follows decades full of near misses and happenstance meetings that are far too coincidental to be plausible, and the Force exists only as a convenient explanation. 

That was how evil magnified itself: it took root in the young and grew along with them.

The writing is decent, although it also suffers from the length of the book: there's so much information to cram into relatively few pages that it did resort to info dumping. Claudia Gray takes an interesting take on the war between the Empire and the Rebels, and all the people caught in between.  It reveals how the war affected the entire galaxy and the people within the Empire, because while the dictatorship may be evil, not all the individuals that make it up are as malicious as the government they serve.  It adds some shades of gray to a fairly black and white story.

Speaking of the characters, they are extremely distinct and stick to their values, as frustrating as that could be.  Cienna and Thane are the focus of the book and the whole plot revolves around them, which doesn't always leave room for other characters to develop.  

Sometimes we're loyal to more than one thing. When there's a conflict, we have to choose which loyalty to honor.

Ciena's strongest trait is also her biggest weakness, which comes into play throughout the course of the novel.  It causes a lot of inner conflict that that creates a fascinating character dynamic.  Thane has a tendency to be rather pessimistic and occasionally irritating.  Their relationship is a bit romance heavy but not in a sickly sweet manner, which makes it all the more bearable and believable.   

The ending is realistic and doesn't fall prey to "happily ever after," yet somehow feels dissatisfying and not quite resolved.  Also, I found it odd that the Force and Jedis don't play any real part or are shown to exist when they play an integral part in this world.

As much as I adore Star Wars, I had never actually read a book tied to it before Lost Stars, and I have to say that it definitely is an interesting take on one of my favorite franchises.


  1. Great review, Erin! I like how this book isn't focused on the main characters but still is in the same timezone. Speaking of Star Wars, are you excited for Rogue One? I am! I'm ready to see Jyn Erso kick butt.

    anna | annaish

    1. Me too, especially since the original trilogy is my favorite. And I am SO excited for Rogue One! Although I think we all wish it was episode VIII. Thanks for commenting, Anna!

  2. It is cool it is in the same time as the movies. It is a pretty big book though!! Plus info dumping is so tough to get through. Still glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Yeah, it really is a long book! I almost wish it was longer so it could have avoided the info dumping... Thanks for commenting, Grace!

  3. I don't actually know anything about Star Wars, but I'm glad you enjoyed this! It can always be a bit hit and miss with these sorts of stories that take place within major franchise universes. What is a Jedi? ❤

    1. What is a Jedi? WHAT IS A JEDI?! Okay, okay, Jedis are the ones with the light sabers, to simplify it. WATCH STAR WARS, YOU'LL LOVE IT. Thanks for commenting, Rebekah!