An epic love story that spans the entirety of the original Star Wars trilogy.
Honestly, if there is one thing wrong with this story it is that it did not also take place over a trilogy.
Ciena and Thane are introduced when they are kids, about 10 years prior to the start of A New Hope and their story does not end until a year after Return of the Jedi. This is a lot of ground for one story to cover and it being told in only one novel (albeit a 560 page novel) made the story feel very rushed.
The story develops naturally and just enough time is taken so that the reader can empathize and understand why Ciena and Thane do what they do, why they think the way they think but there was still so much that seemed to be missing.
First of all, there were a few character deaths that could have been more impactful had there been more time for those characters to develop. Also, we are continually told about Ciena’s promotions. Eventually she becomes a Commander but we never really get to see her commanding anything apart from a few small missions. We don’t get to see her being in charge in any major way. Had the story had the time to slow down some it would have been really nice to see her doing more for the Empire other than talking about what drills she is doing and what simulations she is using to keep her skills honed.
To give the author credit, she did a great job of characterizing and making the story make sense even with it feeling rushed. Creating empathy for a supporter of the Empire is not an easy task but Gray managed to create something of a connection to Ciena even with the story feeling like it was flying by at lightspeed.
Interestingly, the very end of the book seem to drag on and on and on. After the destruction of the second Death Star (I’m assuming you have at least seen the Star Wars movies if you are reading a review for a Star Wars book so not a spoiler!) it seems to take forever for Ciena and Thane’s story to wrap up. It honestly could probably have been wrapped up with the end of the second Death Star but it was kind of cool for the story to be tied in to the trailers for The Force Awakens.
So should you read this book? If you want a well done love story that takes place against a Star Wars backdrop, absolutely. You will likely be totally in love with it. But if you are looking for something that dives into the Star Wars universe a little bit and broadens your immersion and understanding of the universe, it probably won’t satisfy you.
I don’t think that I would have liked this book as much as I did if it had not taken place in the Star Wars world. The same love story in a unique world would not have been as interesting to me.
Part of the reason that I liked it is that it explored the people behind the Empire, seeing what sort of people could stand by and not condemn their government for the destruction of an entire planet. I liked this exploration of good people doing bad things.
This book has put me in the mood to devour more Star Wars books so any and all recommendations would be very welcome!
Star Wars is one of my favorite series between books, movies, and video games. This book took me on a nostalgia trip through the original trilogy and it was exciting! I am not a huge fan of romance stories and this book is definitely all about the relationship. The setting helped though showing their struggle for love while their world (galaxy?) is torn apart. If you love Star Wars like I do then pick this up and see the war from a new angle. But don’t knock all Star Wars books if your not a fan, there are only a couple hundred more out there for you to choose from!