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Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Love conquers all and Thane Kyrell and Cienna Ree are a case in point. They overcame their parents’ animosity to become best of friends. They overcame the strict rules of the Imperial Academy to become the best pilots in the galaxy. Now, they are promising members of the Imperial Military with a marvelous life in front of them. Life has done its best to split them apart, but Thane and Cienna have won. Nothing can keep them apart.

The destruction of the Death Star changed everything.

Thane can no longer serve an Empire which will destroy entire planets and has enslaved thousands. Cienna will not join a Rebellion which murdered thousands aboard the Death Star and seeks to overthrow the stability of the Empire. So Thane joins the Rebellion and Cienna stays with the Empire. As the war carries on, Cienna and Thane are faced with the impossible choice: can you be loyal if it means fighting against love?

Ever since The Hunger Games came out there has been a burst of growth in the YA dystopian market. Unfortunately, as I read more of it, I have found YA novels are generally poorly written. When I heard Star Wars was adding a YA novel into its universe, I was skeptical. Turns out, my fears were unfounded. Not only is Lost Stars well written, but it is also thought-provoking. The tension between Thane and Ciena is captivating. The battle between their ideals and longings tugged at my emotions. Best of all, the characters are developed. Even the side characters have enough personality for me to remember them. Even if I couldn’t remember the unnatural name, I could remember the character because of her personality.

The battle between their ideals and longings tugged at my emotions.

The best part of the book, though, is the struggle that it presents. One review I read complained that the characters are unlikeable, that the book was basically asking us to like Nazis (which the Empire basically is). However, the book makes that case fabulously, by showing us that even if someone works for an evil Empire, she is still human. Some people are terrible, despicable human beings; but some people are just trying to do the best they can in the system they happen to live in. What do you do when the system you live in happens to be a Nazi one? Do you abandon it or try to change it from the inside? These are questions that the book forces the reader to wrestle with, and I loved every minute of it.

Why four stars then, if the book is so great? I mentioned this book was YA, right? Well, the angst can be a bit unbearable at times. Yeah, it is to be expected, but 400 some pages of pining and angst grates on even my nerves, and I like angst in my books. Still, because of the genre and style I’m willing to give it a bit of slack. My bigger issue is with the portrayal of the Rebels. The Empire is portrayed as the hive of scum and villainy that it is. Yet, one of the beauties of YA dystopian books is that they have the ability to show us that the good guys have the same flaws as the bad guys. It may be more hidden or less potent, but everyone has its flaws. Lost Stars touches on the flaws and compromises of the Rebellion, but it is a bit too black-and-white in that respect for realism. Sure, I’d like to think that the Rebels create a perfect society, but life doesn’t work like that. Not everything can be happily ever after, which the book touches on, but could delve into a bit more.

Overall, this is a fabulous book with rich themes and characters. If you are a YA fan or a Star Wars fan, definitely pick this up.

Jesse

Star Wars: Lost StarsEnjoyed the review? Pick up a copy yourself and support ItB:
Star Wars: Lost Stars — Claudia Gray, $9.96

Published on 4 March, 2016. Last updated on

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Into the Book was born out of a crazy idea of a blog that'd provide book reviews for teens. There aren't very many book review websites out there exposing awesome, high-quality Christian literature, and there are even fewer that target teenagers. Since 2009, we've been providing high-quality book reviews to the world through our blog. Into the Book has grown around reviews since then, but it remains our oldest project.

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