Monday, October 19, 2015

Audiobook Review: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Title: Lost Stars
Author: Claudia Gray
Narrator: Pierce Cravens
Publication Date: September 4, 2015
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press

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Star Wars meets Romeo and Juliet in this epic YA novel that follows two best friends who find themselves on opposite sides of the war between the Empire and the Rebellion.

This thrilling YA novel gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe: from the purge of the Jedi in Episode III, to the beginnings of the rebellion in Star Wars Rebels, and through the fall of the Empire in Episodes IV-IV. Readers will experience these major moments through the eyes of two best friends who grow up in these troubling times, and find themselves on opposite sides of the war.

As with other Journey to Episode VII titles, hints about the upcoming film will be included in the narrative, as well a original, post-Episode VI content that sets up the new film.

DUAL NARRATIVE: Chapters alternate perspectives between our two protagonists – one a Rebel pilot, the other an Imperial officer. By exploring these two different worlds, readers will experience many of the major moments in the original Star Wars trilogy – from the destruction of the Death Star to the battle of Hoth – through these two characters' eyes.

Despite my love of the Star Wars films, Lost Stars is actually my first adventure into this literary galaxy. There were quite a few books I could've chosen from. Obviously, there's the original trilogy and literally hundreds of canon and "Legends" books that have been released over the years. Lucasfilm has also begun releasing children and adult books in their Journey to "The Force Awakens" series. But when I saw a YA Star Wars book written by an author I knew, I jumped at the chance to read it!

The first thing I will say about Lost Stars is that It's really, really long. Okay, so it's only a little over 500 pages (or 12 hours of reading). I think it's actually the content that made it seem to go on forever. I feel like a normal YA book spans maybe a few years. Maybe. But this one spans 20 years! We see Ciena and Thane as small children when the Empire is brand new, as students, as officers fresh out of the academy, all the way up to the rise of the New Republic. And perhaps because of that it seems to drag in a lot of places. On the flip side, this also gave me a chance to really get to know the characters, which may or may not have been a good thing.

I had a really hard time identifying with Ciena and understanding her motives. I feel like Claudia Gray tried really hard to explain Ciena's backstory and the customs on her home world, but I found myself being really over her constant talk of honor fairly quickly. I love some Darth Vader, so I can understand a little devotion to the Empire, but her choices just did not make sense at all. Thane, on the other hand, seemed to have a solid head on his shoulders. His motives made total sense and I think he was the far more sympathetic character. If I had been Thayne, I would have given up on Ciena long, long ago.

One thing I really enjoyed was getting to experience all of the classic battles and characters from a new angle. I appreciated the fact that this wasn't a strict retelling and the main characters of this story weren't overshadowed by more well-known faces. I did love Thayne's snide comments about Luke Skywalker (I was never his biggest fan)!

I really did enjoy this book a lot, just because it allowed me to explore the Star Wars universe in a new way! I think I would probably be easily bored with the "adult" Star Wars books, so this was a great fit for me. There were some downfalls, but overall it was a good read. I'd definitely recommend this to any fan who wants to get a little extra reading in before Episode 7!

°o°  Notes on the Audiobook  °o°
There are a few things to be said for this audiobook because it was totally unlike any other I've listened to. It was full of the Star Wars soundtrack and there were some really amazing sound effects! This was like listening to a movie instead of just a narrator. That being said, Pierce Cravens was not the best choice for this book, in my opinion. I had a hard time reminding myself that this was a YA romance novel. He sounded very young and... too excited? I don't know, but it didn't quite fit. I feel like he would have been better as the narrator of the Percy Jackson series or something similar.