Though I have no hope of keeping up with all the Star Wars media that is being produced, I am excited that an effort is being made to unify all of the new media under one ‘canon’. I like the idea of the novels adding dimensions to the universe we see on-screen, rather than the novels being a universe of their own.
My first foray into this new canon is the YA novel Star Wars – Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. I thought it was a terrific book.
The novel is about a couple that grows up together on a planet called Jelucan. Ciena Ree is in the lower class of society and Thane Kyrell is one of the upper crust. They are very young (maybe 8 – 10) in the prologue, in which they first meet each other. A chance meeting of them both and Grand Moff Tarkin, who we know from the films, fuels a pledge from both of them to some day be worthy officers in the Empire’s fleet. They spend much time on Jelucan together, training for academy entry and building an unbreakable friendship. Most of the novel takes place in the academy and during their time of service after graduation.
A most satisfying aspect of Star Wars – Lost Stars is the change that is brought about as Ciena and Thane mature and are overwhelmed by events. Their relationship with each other is the main focus of the story, but their relationships with the Empire and with their families and friends is also highlighted. I found these to be particularly authentic and a testament to the author’s skill.
There is much here for fans of the films, as this is a story that is not just set in the Star Wars universe, but is entwined and knotted in it in a way that gives the reader a fresh perspective on the original three movies. A fan will recognize many events in the novel from A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, but not from perspectives we have seen.
A third aspect of the book I enjoyed were the thoughts created by experiencing sympathetic characters on the Empire side of things. How does it happen that good people find themselves in the service of evil? How difficult is it to make decisions that are at odds against a lifetime of belief and training? Star Wars – Lost Stars has much to say about these things and my thoughts spilled out of the fiction into the true history of the human race, which attests to the power of stories and why so many of us read them.
Claudia Gray has created a special novel. I haven’t read extensively in the Star Wars universe, but I have read a several of the novels over the years.Star Wars – Lost Stars is now my favorite one. With the success of the new film and now this, I’m thrilled to find the Star Wars universe in such good hands.
For a list of media that is currently considered “Star Wars canon”, take a look here.
Release Date: September 04, 2015 (USA)
ISBNs: 1484724984 (9781484724989)
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Sexuality: 2 (no graphic descriptions, but build-up to and time after sex)
Violence: 2 (space battles, aftermath of space battles)