Let me just start by saying it’s been forever since I’ve read a Star Wars book, and that alone made this a fun book to read. I read a lot of the Young Jedi Knights books and other Kevin J. Anderson stuff back in the day, but I honestly can’t remember how long it’s been.
I’ve gotten to where I don’t mind a little romance in books – at least if it’s handled well and isn’t the focus of the plot – though I’ll admit I’m still usually pretty leery about YA romance. I’m one of those people who thinks Hunger Games would be better without all the Team Peeta/Team Gale nonsense. At least in Lost Stars, I expected it. I’d read enough reviews that I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into, and I was willing to dive in anyway. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the romance aspect of the story was fairly low-key and handled really well, and I didn’t think it took away from the plot. If anything, it gave us a deeper look at the characters.
Those characters were also very well done. I can sometimes be leery about YA characters too because they’re often so angsty and overly dramatic. That’s not to say there wasn’t any angst and drama in this book, but Ciena, Thane, and the supporting characters were intelligent, resourceful, and tough (which is still what I love most about Hunger Games). I really loved the way each of their backgrounds/upbringings influenced their decisions and actions throughout the story.
Also, as a Mass Effect fan, I still can’t get over Thane’s name…
I’ll admit I pictured the characters being older than they were (maybe late 20s) because, at least in my experience, no actual 19-year-olds are this mature ;) Their ages/actions definitely seemed more realistic in the latter parts of the story.
Being YA, it was pretty fast/easy reading, but the story didn’t suffer for it. I loved the glimpses we got of characters and events from the movies, and there was something about the dynamic I really loved. We had the girl sticking with the Empire and the guy joining the Rebel Alliance and trying to win her back, when I feel like it’s often the other way around. Seeing each of their unique perspectives was interesting too, because – for the majority of the time, anyway – they both thought their side was trying to do the right thing.
And the ending. Oh, the ending. Flawless. And very appropriate after everything that had happened. I liked how it tied in with the upcoming movie.
This isn’t the type of book I’d typically give 5 stars, but reading a Star Wars book was so refreshing after all these years and I can’t remember the last time I was this relaxed while reading. When you’re doing a read-for-review or beta reading, you have to pay close enough attention that you can’t completely relax. This was clearly a young adult book, but I’d recommend it to Star Wars fans of any age.