What is one to do when there is nothing on television, and you cannot stream the red carpet ceremony for the world premiere of The Force Awakens on your crap phone? In my case? I binge watched part of season three of Vikings. But when I wasn’t doing that, I was reading Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. I might as well read about Star Wars, since I am still without tickets to see Episode VII.
At the moment, I am only reading the stuff that comes highly recommended by trusted sources. But . . . If I don’t get to see The Force Awakens in a timely fashion, I may have to break that rule, and read Aftermath.
I hope it doesn’t come to that.
How do I discuss Lost Stars without going into spoiler territory? The less you know about the novel–the better. I wouldn’t even read the description on the dust jacket if I were you. I knew a tad too much going in–it didn’t spoil my enjoyment–but I wish I hadn’t known as much as I did.
I’ll give you this much: Lost Stars starts off about eight years after Revenge of the Sith. On the Outer Rim planet of Jelucan, two young kids–Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree–meet and become friends, despite being from different social classes. When they come of age, they attend the Imperial Academy, and make new friends. Soon after graduation, the battle to quell the Rebels begins in earnest.
Claudia Gray is not the first person to tell a familiar story from a different point of view. It’s an old idea, done to varying degrees of success. Lost Stars is not a complete retelling of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi from the p.o.v. of young Imperial officers; for that would be an easy story to tell. Only key moments are mentioned, and it’s fascinating to read what the characters in Lost Stars were thinking while witnessing the power of the Death Star; and its ultimate destruction.
One of the themes of the novel is loyalty–in its various forms. Loyalty to family, friends, home, comrades, superiors, and ultimately–the cause. Looking from the outside, it’s easy to ask, “How could anyone with an ounce of empathy, support the Emperor and Darth Vader?” Claudia Gray manages to answer that. It’s up to the reader to decide if they accept the answer.
Oh… As always, the novels in the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series contain hints and clues about the film. The one in Lost Stars is obvious. So obvious in fact, that there is no need to even give you a hint. But it’s kind of cool.