Publisher: Disney Lucasfilms Press
Release Date: September 4th, 2015
Format: Audiobook narrated by Pierce Cravens
My Rating: ★★★★★
Star Wars meets Romeo and Juliet in this epic YA novel that follows two best friends who find themselves on opposite sides of the war between the Empire and the Rebellion.
This thrilling YA novel gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe: from the purge of the Jedi in Episode III, to the beginnings of the rebellion in Star Wars Rebels, and through the fall of the Empire in Episodes IV-IV. Readers will experience these major moments through the eyes of two best friends who grow up in these troubling times, and find themselves on opposite sides of the war.
As with other Journey to Episode VII titles, hints about the upcoming film will be included in the narrative, as well a original, post-Episode VI content that sets up the new film.
DUAL NARRATIVE: Chapters alternate perspectives between our two protagonists – one a Rebel pilot, the other an Imperial officer. By exploring these two different worlds, readers will experience many of the major moments in the original Star Wars trilogy – from the destruction of the Death Star to the battle of Hoth – through these two characters' eyes.
This is another book that I read in contingent with The Star Wars Stacks Podcast. I have a lot of feels about this book and our two main characters. A lot of feels! Ciena & Thane forever!!
I'm not going to give away the ending, but fair warning to remember that the Star Wars Saga is a tragedy. So keep that in mind when you read this book, because the ending won't leave you with happiness.
The frame of the story wasn't that original, but the way Gray painted these characters I found them so real and cared about what was going to happen to them.Their tragic romance was so compelling that I would even recommend this to people who may have never picked up a Star Wars book before. Their romance is a slow burn, and I found it really believable that they don't get together until they were out of the Academy and working at their different posts. No instalove in this one, at all!
What I liked about this book was that it gave you the perspective of the Imperial Fleet, and how people would have been swayed to believe in the Empire despite the atrocities they commit. We see this a lot in Ciena who despite the Empire blowing up Alderaan, she believes that it was a preemptive attack and that it would save more lives down the line. Her background and her belief in loyalty is what is ultimately her downfall. She believes whole heartedly that the Empire is doing good and they are providing order to the Galaxy, that she gets blinded to the terrible things they do.
This book had me questioning a lot of things about the Star Wars universe. We always see the Empire as evil and the Rebels as good, but who is really in the right here? War is not so simply that black and white. Both sides of the war do terrible things, and innocent people get killed on both sides. I think as Star Wars fans we always see the Empire as being evil monsters, but a lot of the officers were just doing their jobs and like Ciena may have justified it in their heads even if in their hearts they knew it was wrong.
I also enjoyed the narrator of this audiobook. I appreciated that they chose a young sounding narrator. Even though this book is written in third person, I felt like having a younger sounding voice made me relate to these young adults better. I have listened to a couple YA audiobooks where I felt like the narrator was trying too hard to sound younger and it didn't work. I think it worked for Pierce Cravens, so it was definitely a plus.
Of the new Star Wars Expanded Universe books, I think this is one of my favorites. No, this was probably the best of the new books that I have read so far. If you're thinking about picking this one up and you still aren't sure yet, I would highly recommend you do so.