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Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Lost Stars Book Review

By Julianne Chen

I really wanted to adore this book. I love space, I love Star Wars and I love books. Lost Stars by Claudia Gray seemed to fit the bill as something I would love. But this book just wouldn’t end. And not in a good way. In the ‘I really wish it would just end right now because I just can’t stand this book’ way. I even ended up DNF’ing this book about two thirds into it. Why did I despise this book so much? Well, three simple reasons. One, I couldn’t connect with the characters. Two, the romance was subpar. Three, the general vibe of Star Wars was completely missed.

Thane and Ciena each had their own problems when it came to their writing. I will start with Ciena. Oh, Ciena. I really wanted to like her. She was set up to be this ‘strong female character’ but ended up being a literal facist. The audience was constantly reminded of how nice and good she supposedly is. Yet, there she was, constantly making excuses for the Empire. It is an impossible job to make the audience sympathize with an Imperial Officer, and Gray just couldn’t pull it off. And Thane was better, but barely. He was yet another brooding and angsty male lead with an abusive family. Now, there is nothing wrong with that type of character, but it has become a stock archetype now, with the abundance of them in the YA category.

Lost Stars is marketed as a tragic and heartbreaking romantic tragedy. But the romance between Thane and Ciena was laughable at best and downright cringey at worst. The audience is expected to believe that Thane and Ciena had been inseparable since they were eight years old, but I could hardly believe it. At times, it seemed as if they barely knew each other. And a lot of the romance was built purely off of lust and teenage hormones, instead of actual communication. It was yet another cookie cutter romance coming out of the young adult category that left me disappointed.

Star Wars is a very visual story. We don’t question why humans can exist on different planets and why so many species all have two legs and two arms. We don’t question why humans can breathe almost any air from any planet. We don’t question why there is no gravity difference on different planets or the space equivalent of jet lagging. Why? Because the scenery is utterly beautiful! But when an author tries to recreate the magic on page, a lot of skill is required in order to make the magic work. And the environment didn’t quite feel like Star Wars. Star Wars is essentially a space fairy tale, but Lost Stars just didn’t have the whimsy of a fairy tale. With the drug mentions, banter on big ships, and sexual activities, it reminded me more of Star Trek than Star Wars, and that’s saying a lot, since I’ve barely watched any Star Trek.

It seems like I’m in the minority with my opinion about this book. A lot of people generally seem to adore this book. But with characters I couldn’t sympathize with, romance that I couldn’t root for and an environment that was almost completely different from what I expected, I don’t quite understand what everyone else sees in this book. If you are a die hard Star Wars fan looking for more content, I wouldn’t suggest looking in this book.