Lost Stars by Claudia Gray: A Review

3434Ohai! So, today I’m continuing my delving into new Star Wars narratives surrounding the release of The Force Awakens with a review of Lost Stars by Claudia Gray.

Ya’ll, it was freaking fantastic. I am not kidding you.

A novel in the Journey to Star Wars series, Lost Stars is billed as sci-fi and as young adult. Indeed, the book is a journey following the progress of two young protagonists, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree as they make their way from very different lives on the same tiny planet to more similar existences as students at the Imperial Academy. The events of Lost Stars begin eight years after the fall of the Old Republic, and we see some characters and events from familiar narratives (I will not say who or what because I do not want to spoil anything).

As with my review of the comic Shattered Empire, I must note that Lost Stars does something I adore—it reframes familiar events in a narrative focusing on new characters in different circumstances, augmenting the existing canon and shedding light on the political situation that leads to what we find in The Force Awakens. And here, the characters are so very worth focusing on.

I love them.

Claudia Gray, thank you for this book. Thank you for a strong, believable female protagonist and an equally strong, believable male counterpart. Thank you for making Ciena a woman of color, a woman of agency, a woman of flaws and talent and hard work and some really awful decisions some times, and staggering bravery other times. Thank you for creating the most maddening, beautiful, natural and painful of slow-burn romantic entanglements and for letting me watch these two conflicted characters find their way in a world where very little is easy, and where what must be done to survive encompasses an enormous rainbow of shades of gray.

Ciena and Thane are complex in the best ways. The world-building of already-known Star Wars places and people woven in with new planets, new characters, and new details about this epic space opera is deft and compelling. Even the side characters are incredible in Lost Stars, and the book adds new dimension to an already beautiful body of lore.

My only complaint? Well, it’s not a real complaint—more, me whining. Simply put:  I want more. That last chapter…gah. It hurt, beautifully, and in the best possible way. It made sense, and it was perfect.

I recommend Lost Stars highly, and I cannot wait to read Gray’s new book Bloodline coming in May from Del Rey because OMG GUYS IT’S ABOUT LEIA!

So, what are ya’ll reading? <3