Lost Stars

Claudia Gray
Lost Stars Cover

Lost Stars


I won this Kindle book in a giveaway from RhiReading (thanks!) and I was able to get the Audible book at a discount to read through Whispersync.

Two kids from the "backwater" world Jelucan set their aspirations toward being top pilots for the Imperial Army. Ciena Ree is the daughter of impoverished people who live in the Jelucani valley. They descend from loyalists who chose exile rather than turn on what they believed, and they're a very proud and familial group of people. Thane Kyrell is a second-waver, people descended from another group that settled on Jelucan some years after the valley kindred. They're privileged, but Thane's life is anything but happy as he deals with an abusive father and an indifferent mother. Ciena and Thane form an unlikely friendship and work together to become candidates for the Imperial's military school and eventually move on to become Imperial officers. Romance is a core part of this story between the two leads. Ciena and Thane's relationship often pits them on opposite sides of conflict even when they're working for the same side. It does not overwhelm the story and many other things happen, but it is the driving force for this book, which spans almost twenty years of Ciena and Thane's lives.

This book gives a glimpse of the Imperial rule from the viewpoint of people who aren't mired in the conflict between the Rebels and the Empire, and I enjoyed this view of seeing just what normal people think is going on around them. The people don't see the malevolence behind the Imperial rule. They see a governing body that promises opportunity for everyone. It was surprisingly refreshing to get this genuine view of the people on the "wrong" side. You get to see their hopes, dreams, and fears instead of thinking of them as the faceless, cruel officers whose only goal is to rule the galaxy. It has the added effect of making readers feel for some of the people whose destruction we might've cheered otherwise. You also get to view some of the events from the first trilogy through the eyes of the general population.

Being part of the military is a goal many kids have, and it's seen as an honorable, honest profession by both rich and poor. When the kids learn that things aren't as noble with the Empire as it seems, Thane is hardly taken by surprise because he is naturally distrustful of authority figures, but Ciena finds herself conflicted and continuing to pledge her allegiance to an order because giving her word is more important than anything else. Ciena's honor can be a bit frustrating at points because, while understandable, there seems there should come a point when she should realize that the honorable thing to do is the right thing, which does not include trying to talk yourself into believing the Empire is not corrupt. However, she is young and often unable to grasp the complexities of rebellion and war, and her position is one that isn't different from many soldiers who believe they're fighting for the right cause, even when they have some doubts.

I haven't encountered a Star Wars audiobook yet that didn't have an excellent narrator--in this case, Pierce Cravens. As usual, it's full production with music and sound effects. I didn't have trouble hearing the narrator over the sound effects in the story. There's nothing that makes the various fight scenes really resonate than hearing PEW PEW noises in the background. While there were a few things that annoyed me aside from Ciena's infuriating honor, they were such insignificant things that I won't rant about them. Overall, this was an excellent read.