I recently finished reading Claudia Gray‘s Lost Stars. My first thought was that I was upset with myself for reading Aftermath first. Lost Stars contained everything I look for in a Star Wars novel. Full disclosure the 90’s Del Rey Tales From… series are among my favorites with the X-Wing series being my stand out favorite of the many and varied Star Wars stories. That can sort of explain what I look for in a story set in the Star Wars Universe, character driven where the universe is just where the story takes place not the entire take away of the story.
Lost Stars is the story of Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell, 2 people from a backwater world and different up-bringing, working to make the most of their life. It just happens there are TIE fighters and X-Wings in this universe. The roots of the story feels timeless and could be placed in any setting and would still be a page turner because Gray does great work making you care for, and understand, the characters.
I was also amazed how perfectly she placed the story in the Star Wars universe. Aftermath was billed as introducing you to the world that Episode VII was set in, but I learned nothing from it and it was like someone being like “look at this Star Wars stuff! Isn’t it cool?” Lost Stars on the other hand felt like it was written by someone that lived in that universe. The descriptions, people, and places informed the events of The Force Awakens. I never expected that by the end of Lost Stars I would have a better understanding of The First Order. Claudia Gray‘ took one of the elements I loved of the Expanded Universe, the Imperial Remnant, and gave them their updated place in the new canon. More importantly this was all happening in the background as this amazing character drama played out in the foreground. Masterful.
I find it funny that Aftermath was a much more childish book then Lost Stars, often found in the Young Adult section. Claudia Gray‘ pulled no punches, it’s full of tough questions and tougher answers. I feel like America has a stigma on stories labeled as Young Adult. I wish that category didn’t exist and those stories just lived in their Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Drama, Romance homes with the other works.
If you want a story that is going to stay with you for years, Lost Stars is one of the best Star Wars books in years, it is the one to go with.