Literature / Star Wars: Lost Stars

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The reign of the Galactic Empire has reached the Outer Rim planet of Jelucan, where aristocratic Thane Kyrell and rural villager Ciena Ree bond over their love of flying. Enrolling at the Imperial Academy together to become fighter pilots for the glorious Empire is nothing less than a dream come true for the both of them. But Thane sours on the dream when he sees firsthand the horrific tactics the Empire uses to maintain its ironclad rule.

Bitter and disillusioned, Thane joins the fledgling Rebellion—putting Ciena in an unbearable position to choose between her loyalty to the Empire and her love for the man she's known since childhood. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these friends turned foes find a way to be together, or will duty tear them—and the galaxy—apart?

A Star Wars Expanded Universe Young Adult novel written by Claudia Gray and Phil Noto, and part of the Journey to the Force Awakens media campaign, Lost Stars gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe. From the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire, these major moments are filtered through the eyes of two childhood friends—Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell—who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot.

The series was adapted into a Manga/Web Comic starting on May 4, 2017. It has been licensed by Yen Press for a release date of May 1, 2018.


This novel contains the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Thane has scars that were still visible from childhood because of how often and harshly his father would beat him. This background makes him a somewhat cynical, in contrast with Ciena, who believes the best in people because she was raised by Good Parents.
  • Ace Pilot: Half the main characters—Ciena Ree, Thane Kyrell, Kendy Idele and Nash Windrider—qualify.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: The Empire is depicted this way throughout the novel. They're still evil but it's easy to see why otherwise people would follow them.
  • Artistic License – Law: War crimes are a relatively new concept to be prosecuted by one side or another. They are, by the nature of the beast, something which requires treaties except for the most heinous of acts. Ciena Ree has done nothing remotely warranting being prosecuted for war crimes other than being an officer in the Imperial Navy and refusing to cooperate with her captors. The charges aren't spelled out in detail, but what does get mentioned is seemingly just a list of the battles she fought in, as if fighting against the Rebel Alliance was in and of itself a war crime.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Thane and Ciena were at numerous key points during the Galactic Civil War from the Battle of Yavin to the Battle of Jakku. Thane, for example, was one of the scouts at Dantooine. Ciena helped sabotage the Millennium Falcon's hyderdrive and also picked up Lord Vader's TIE fighter.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mention Alderaan around Nash. Seriously, don't. Similarly, Nash goes ballistic when he finds out Thane is a rebel. Ciena finds this peculiar because up until this point she hadn't realized that Nash had dealt with Alderaan's destruction by doubling down on his fanaticism towards the Empire, justifying the destruction of his homeworld and family by believing anything they did was worth a utopian future and anyone who fought them was scum beyond compare.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ciena and Thane are reunited but she's a prisoner of the New Republic with possible war crimes trials for her actions. The Empire is also rebuilding in the Unknown Regions.
  • Black and White Morality: The book still has the traditional Star Wars treatment but has a Downplayed Trope example of the trope. The Imperials are, by and large, good people who are being unwittingly taken in by a terrible system that rationalizes evil actions until they become normal.
  • Black and White Insanity: Nash develops a case of this after the destruction of Alderaan.
  • Break the Cutie: By the end of the book Ciena Ree is a jaded cynic and her early idealism is completely destroyed.
  • Broken Pedestal: Nash has always wanted to meet Princess Leia. After it turns out she's a rebel involved in stealing the Death Star plans, Nash views her as this, the first of a snowball effect that leads into his Black and White Insanity.
  • Bully Hunter: Thane hates bullies, mainly because his father and older brother were both bullies. In fact, he and Ciena become friends because Thane charges a bunch of kids bullying Ciena when she tries to sneak a look at Tarkin's shuttle. It also ultimately leads to his decision to defect from the Empire and join the Rebel Alliance.
  • Call-Forward: Ciena's Star Destroyer, the Inflictor, is the crashed Star Destroyer on Jakku seen in The Force Awakens.
  • The Cameo: In the manga adaptation, the main characters from Rogue One are shown from the back in an exposition scene.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Claudia Gray says many of the characters were modeled off of real world actors. Ciena Ree is a young Gugu Mbatha Raw, Paron Ree is Lennie James, Ved Foslo is Harry Shum, Jr., Kendy Idele is Parminder Nagra, and the Contessa is Michelle Yeoh. In a Hilarious in Hindsight moment, a few weeks after the book was released, Gugu Mbatha-Raw was cast in The Last Jedi.
  • Cannon Fodder: Post-Endor the Empire is absolutely desperate to make up it's losses to the Rebel Alliance / New Republic that it is throwing anybody it can into the fight. For example, Ciena is given command of a Star Destroyer at the age of twenty-five. She realizes what this means; the only reason she has the command is because the Empire is simply desperate for competent officers to replace the ones killed or captured.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Nash undergoes a transformation from an easy-going idealist to a brutal and ruthless fascist over the course of the book.
  • Crapsack World: After Thane and Ciena leave Jelucan, each return they make to it has the planet in an even shittier situation than when they last saw it. And it wasn't a terribly pleasant place even before the Empire came. Before it was just a bodunk planet, hard living for the first colonists who faced prejudice from the better off second wave. But still not a terrible place to live. The last time Ciena sees it, when her mother is framed by the Empire for embezzlement, it's unrecognizable to her. Covered in smog and filled with decay in the streets. Even by the end of the story, it's still under Imperial control.
  • Culture Clash: Thane and Ciena come from two very different backgrounds. They also join sides which interfere with their beliefs.
  • The Cynic: Thane thinks everyone is out for themselves and all governments are innately corrupt. It makes him the odd man out in the Rebel Alliance which is a peppy, idealistic, band of do-gooders.
  • Death Faked for You: Ciena tells her superiors that Thane had committed suicide out of grief over the destruction of the First Death Star rather than report his desertion, and says he did so in a way that would guarantee his body was eaten by scavengers. Thus any attempt to by the ISB prove she was lying would be futile, so long as Thane had enough sense to get off their homeworld.
  • Driven to Suicide: Ciena tries to do this by crashing her Star Destroyer into Jakku. Thane prevents her from having it.
  • Genre Blindness:
    • Ciena has a lot of this toward the Empire's callous brutality and shocking For the Evulz.
    • Thane, by contrast, mentally filters out just about everything which makes the Rebel Alliance an idealistic band of heroes out to save the galaxy. It takes a long time for him to realize they're actually as good as they say.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Nash Windrider is a decent enough man at the beginning but the destruction of Alderaan drives him to full-on Black and White Insanity.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: The Empire sentences Ciena's mother to hard labor, even though a) almost everyone knows she's innocent, and b) the hard labor could be better accomplished by droids.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Ciena starts to consider Imperial service this as well as a Ironic Hell due to how evil they've become. Her code of honor prevents her from ever stopping serving it.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: A Downplayed Trope example. Thane works for the Rebellion with Luke Skywalker living just down the hall but continues to believe the Force is ridiculous nonsense. Doubly so with so many people in living memory who knew the Jedi. Also, despite the staggering amount of weird coincidences that keep bringing him and Ciena together.
  • Foreshadowing: At the end of the book the Empire and the New Republic have signed an official peace treaty, but in secret facilities and bases in a nebula the Imperial Navy is secretly being rebuilt away from the prying eyes of the New Republic and plans are being drawn-up for the next war.
  • Friendly Enemy: What Ciena and Thane morph into. The problem is neither of their sides is particularly okay with this.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Thane Kyrell, of course. Kendy Idele also mutinied with most of her unit against the Empire on Miriatin, with the survivors joining the Rebel Alliance.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Alderaan causes this for a lot of characters in the book, Thane being the biggest one.
    • Ciena holds onto her Genre Blindness right up until she sees the Emperor and senses, essentially, that he's a Humanoid Abomination.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • The defining characteristic of the valley culture of Jelucan; originally they were settlers who fled another world when their monarch was overthrown and they refused to sear allegiance to the new government. They place a massive emphasis on never violating an oath, even if it may be morally wrong not to do so. Ciena believes in this so strongly that it takes her years to realizes the Empire is evil, even Alderaan doesn't completely shock her out of it. Even after she comes to that realization she continues to serve it as best she can; albeit she feels miserable about doing so.
    • Thane is the one person who shows up to support Ciena's family when her mother is framed for embezzlement. Years of Imperial rule and oaths have made all of her family's friends, those they stood by in their times of crisis, unwilling and afraid to openly support anyone the Empire has branded as a criminal. Thane is an outsider and a member of the Rebellion, and Ciena swore she'd turn him in if she ever saw him again. But he shows up just the same and Ciena can't bring herself to turn him away. His squadron thinks he's an absolute nutter for doing it, but he doesn't back down.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • Ciena Ree has a major case of this regarding the Imperial higher-ups. She always thinks the best of them and their motivations, even when it becomes abundantly obvious most of them are only out for themselves or sadistic bullies.
    • Nash believes that Ciena is a loyal, willing Imperial officer like him, never realizing she hates serving them but feels she has no choice. He also never figures out she's in love with Thane, even after she goes out of her way to save him during a dogfight. May be a case of Selective Obliviousness given his feelings for her and his hatred of Thane.
    • Thane believes his fellow rebels are only fighting for revenge against the Empire, or in the case of rebel leaders like Leia and Mon Monthma, because they want to take over the galaxy for themselves. It takes years of fighting alongside them before he realizes that the rebellion actually practices what it preaches, and really does want to make the galaxy a better place.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Ciena senses something about Vader and Palpatine (latent force-sensitivity?) which is manifestly wrong and horrifyingly evil.
  • Hypocrite: Ciena unwittingly becomes this as she continually focuses on her loyalty to the Empire while becoming disgusted with Nash for doing the same. Ciena's own rationalizations about why to continue to serve the Empire despite it personally destroying her life are Not So Different from Nash's.
  • Improbable Age: After spending months in the hospital following the Battle of Endor Ciena is given command of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer despite being only twenty-five years old. Justified Trope: This tells her just how bad a shape the Imperial Navy is in.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • Combined with Sanity Slippage for Nash Windrider. No one actually expects him to remain loyal to the Empire but he contorts his brain into a pretzel to make not only Alderaan's destruction justified but a moral sacrifice for the greater good. It makes him a terrifyingly loyal Imperial.
    • A lesser example is Ciena justifying Alderaan's destruction as a preventative measure to save the lives of billions. An action done with only the greatest regret and with deepest sadness. It falls apart when she sees the Empire built a Second Death Star.
  • Irony:
    • The book starts with Thane being the Cynic and Ciena being the idealist. By the end of the book, these positions are reversed.
    • The most brutal die-hard fanatical Imperial is the one from Alderaan.
    • The spiritual poor honorable heroic idealist is loyal to the Empire while the atheist cynical rich boy is the Rebel soldier.
  • Karma Houdini: Nash is an interesting case as he never does anything bad except have repellent beliefs, which are very likely him trying to keep himself from going crazy. He ends up in a cushy position in the Empire with a fast-track to promotion during a time of relative peace for the next thirty years. He's still utterly nuts, though.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Thane and Smikes are both pessimistic about the Rebels' chances against the Empire but both still fight with everything they have.
  • Knight Templar: Nash is an Imperial fanatic. To underscore just how much he believes in the Empire's mission he is glad the Empire built a second Death Star even though he is from Alderaan. And he wants them to use it, repeatedly.
  • Luke Nounverber: Nash Windrider.
  • Medal of Dishonor: Ciena receives the highest award the Empire can give for her suicide attempt with a Star Destroyer. This is after she considers the Empire a monstrous evil.
  • Moral Myopia: Ciena looks at Nash like he's a madman for wanting to kill Thane despite the fact he just found out his friend had faked his death (causing them all to mourn him), joined the Rebel Alliance, and was trying to kill them.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong:
    • Ciena swore an oath when she joined the Imperial Navy and she continues to abide by it long after she loses faith in the Empire as a nation.
    • Nash is an even more extreme example. He was already a loyal Imperial officer, but after the destruction of Alderaan he becomes even more loyal to the Empire that destroyed his homeworld. In private, he admits to Ciena that with his home and family gone, serving the Empire is all he has left.
  • Odd Friendship: Thane and Ciena come from very different and opposed cultures and that was before Thane joins the Rebellion. Played with, as when they get to Coruscant, Thane realizes how incredibly unimportant those little planetary difference are, and that on a galactic level, they're very similar: pilots from the same world.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Played For drama. Thane and Cienna have two discussions after Alderaan and Yavin but before Thane deserts. Because Thane is paranoid about being spied on, he uses coded and vague language, while Cienna is still working on accepting the rationalization for blowing up Alderaan. End result: Thane thinks Cienna's agreeing they should leave the Empire, Cienna thinks he's resolving to continue serving the Empire.
  • Pet the Dog: Grand Moff Tarkin of all people. When he catches young Ciena and Thane playing near his personal shuttle, he gives them a personal tour and inspires them to join the Imperial military when they grow up.
  • Rank Up: Both Ciena and Nash are promoted several times throughout the book, which is not unusual since the book spans a period of over a decade.
  • Reality Ensues: Rescuing your Star-Crossed Lover from her ship during a battle between your forces? Yay! Wait, your side considers her a POW? Crap.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Because we don't witness him committing the atrocities he is best known for, Tarkin, of all people, comes off as this in his treatment of Ciena.
  • Revenge: Nash wants this against several targets during the book. First, he blames the Rebel Alliance for the destruction of Alderaan and wants to see them wiped out at any cost. Then he learns Thane defected to the Rebellion and the only thing he wants to do is kill Thane painfully. Finally, he swears vengeance upon the Rebellion again after he thinks Ciena died when she scuttled the Inflictor on Jakku.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: After a dogfight between Thane's X-wing squadron and Cienna and Nash's TIE group, Nash chews her out for deliberately blocking his shot at Thane during the battle. He incorrectly believes she wanted the 'honor' of killing him for herself, not realizing she did it because she's still in love with him.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Contessa is an aristocrats who is fighting to bring down the tyrannical Empire.
  • Series Continuity Error: Zigzagged. Since Rogue One was not produced & released at the time of the book's release, Ciena doesn't go into detail about the theft of the Death Star plans prior to the events of A New Hope and goes straight to the boarding of the Tantive IV. The manga adaptation, released after Rogue One, briefly explains that the Rogue One stole the plans and also adapts Vader's rampage on the Profundity.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss:
    • Ciena is furious with Thane for joining the Rebellion after promising her during his desertion it was just about being unwilling to serve the Empire. Thane is incredulous that she dragged him all the way to their old hideout just to yell at him when she kisses him fiercely.
    • By the end of the book, Ciena is trying to kill herself by going down with her ship to fulfill her obligation to the Empire and finally free herself from its grip when Thane arrives. Refusing to leave with him, and Thane refusing to leave without her, they begin a brutal fist fight to knock each other out and drag the other to safety. Thane notes that, to any outside observer, it would look like they were trying to kill rather than save each other.
  • Spoiler Cover: The meaning of the cover will not be immediately apparent to the first time reader. But once they reach they end of the book, what it is, and what event they may already know of that it represents, is much more clear.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Nash becomes more and more obsessed with Ciena as time goes on, even managing to get transferred to the Star Destroyer Ciena was given command of so he could still be around her on a daily basis. Nash attempts to come across as a Childhood Friend Romance and Nice Guy, unaware that he profoundly creeps Ciena out.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Thane and Ciena: aristocrat and farm girl; Rebel pilot and loyal Imperial officer.
  • Token Good Teammate: Of the group of friends that decides to stay loyal to the Empire following the destruction of Alderaan, Ciena is the only one who doesn't turn into fanatic or a fascist. In fact, she tries to use her position as an Imperial officer to do some good every now and then.
  • Undying Loyalty: Ciena and Nash have this to the Empire. For Ciena it is because her culture demands that she honor the oath of loyalty she swore while Nash slowly transforms into an Imperial fanatic and true believer in Palpatine's New Order. But what tears Ciena apart is that she, ultimately, has this for Thane too. Even at the height of her anger over his dissertation and signing up with the rebellion, she admits she will always love him. The best compromise she can come up with is to be loyal to him for a night, and then the Empire the rest of her life.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Nash honestly comes to believe that once the Empire crushes the Rebel Alliance the galaxy will known an era of peace and order that puts the glory days of the Old Republic to shame. Therefore the Imperial Military is thus justified in doing whatever it takes to win the war. This is partly a coping mechanism on his part to deal with the destruction of his homeworld by said Imperial Military.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Imperials out clubbing post-graduation.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Nash mourned Thane's death for years, but then he learns that Thane is both alive and a member of the Rebel Alliance. Within seconds of acquiring this information Nash is furious and tries to kill him. Likewise, Kendy considers Ciena to no longer be a friend after joining the Rebellion as she believes someone who continued serving the Empire as long as Ciena had would be too corrupted to still be a good person.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Averted in the context of the franchise by this book, as the protagonists are Imperials. One of the major supporting characters is killed when the Death Star is destroyed. Especially notable is Ciena Ree's horror at the TIE pilots killed chasing the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Both Ciena Ree and Nash Windrider. They both believed in the Imperial propaganda, that it was bringing law, order and prosperity to a corrupt galaxy. After Alderaan is destroyed, Nash trades his idealism for fanaticism while Ciena becomes increasingly bitter and miserable in her service to the Empire.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Ciena thinks she's in a story with Black and White Morality at first, but then concludes that she's in a Gray and Gray Morality war story when she was actually right the first time. She just assumed she was on the side of the good guys.
    • Thane isn't much better as he assumes he's in a Black and Gray Morality gritty war picture where he's out to destroy the evil bad guys but his side just wants to take over. It takes a long time to realize that, no, the Rebellion really is a bunch of idealistic do-gooders.

Alternative Title(s): Lost Stars

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