I’ve been struggling with reading, primarily because real life demands in my life take a lot of energy from me, and I have a difficult time finding time to read when I do so. I am trying to make reading more of a priority to me and, since I’m currently still on a Star Wars kick from The Force Awaken’s release back in December, I thought I would start with a Star Wars novel. I also decided to start with Star Wars because I would love, love, love to one day be invited to write one (but that is dependent on me actually, I don’t know, writing, finishing things, etc).
I started with Lost Stars by Claudia Gray.
I was hesitant to start with this because of the straight romance, but it was so highly rated I decided to read it anyway.
But even though the lack of gay people was in and of itself was disappointing, I was so much more disappointed by the lack of acknowledgement for systems of power, and how Star Wars interacts with those systems of power.
Thane is of the upper class and he is described as having pale/fair skin. Though not a lot of time is spent on this, he is also described as a “second waver” which seemed to occupy sort of a colonialist role, which becomes even more sharply re-iterated when their planet joins the Empire.
Ciena is of the lower working class and she is described as having brown skin. Her people’s history is that they were sent to the planet a long time ago as punishment in another planet’s civil war.
As Star Wars has always done, Gray is tapping into events and histories that have happened in the real world, which is why I think it is particularly insensitive of her to have Ciena side with the Empire, who are literally fascists, because of “honor” and “loyalty” while Thane eventually defects and joins the rebellion.
Nash, whose home planet was Alderaan, also had fanatic loyalty to the Empire as well and I don’t believe that was written well at all, especially since he was a secondary character.
I feel that the way Claudia Gray wrote these characters tapped into and reinforced some harmful tropes and that she could have done way better. If anything, since the Empire has always been coded with fascist imagery, Thane should have been the one loyal to the Empire while Ciena should have defected to join the rebellion.
So that was my primary complaint about the novel. At 550ish pages I was able to finish it in an afternoon, so it wasn’t a particularly strenuous read, so that was also nice. I will probably read more of her work, if only because her writing style is very easy for me to read, but I’ll be relying on my local library.