We’re going to try a little something different today, both to explore something(s) awesome and to commemorate Claudia Gray’s newest Star Wars novel, Master and Apprentice, which came out last week. The two Star Wars novels of Gray’s I have read so far are among the franchise’s most fantastic recent offerings: Lost Stars (2015) and Bloodline (2016).
I never, ever thought I could become enamored with a YA love story, but here we are. Lost Stars is an absorbing journey through the entire original Star Wars saga told from the points of view of two entirely new characters who grow up together on a backwater planet and who both join the Imperial Academy on Coruscant. The love story goes star-crossed after Alderaan, with one character remaining in the Imperial Navy and the other joining the Rebellion. The depth and nuance of Gray’s understanding of human emotion are staggering, and will impress even the most cynical and hard-hearted Star Wars fan. I cannot recommend this book enough!
While the sort of emotional power found in Lost Stars is also strong with Bloodline, it is foremost Claudia Gray’s gripping effort to set a political thriller in the Star Wars universe. Focusing primarily on Leia and her closely-guarded secret about her true parentage, Gray also paints a disturbing picture of an up-and-coming generation who did not witness the Galactic Civil War and who have developed an unhealthy fascination with the Empire. This, as we know, is one of several factors that leads to the rise of the First Order. It is also unsettling to witness this same sort of fascination among many young, white American teenagers with Nazism. If you are a Star Wars fan and you worry about younger generations forgetting the past far, far too easily, I heartily recommend this book to you.