The reign of the Galactic Empire has reached the Outer Rim of Jelucan, where aristocratic Thane Kyrell and rural villager Ciena Ree bond over their love of flying. Enrolling at the Imperial Academy is nothing less than a dream come true for 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, he joins the fledging Rebellion--putting Ciena in an unbearable position 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 ever find a way to be together, or will duty tear them--and the galaxy--apart?
My thoughts -
I can say with certainty that a year ago I never would have considered reading this book. But Disney is definitely upping the game of the Star Wars franchise, and after enjoying The Force Awakens so much that I saw in theaters twice (!), when I noticed my husband had used an Audible credit for this book I decided to give it a try.
Friends, this was a LOT of fun. I don't think you necessarily have to be particularly well-versed in Star Wars lore to enjoy it - the characters stand completely on their own, and while there are references to people and events from previous movies, this book has its own timeline and major events that are contained within the novel. This is just a very enjoyable sci-fi space opera, with two main characters I could root for throughout.
Thane and Ciena are wonderfully charismatic, and while it's clear from the start what trajectory their relationship will take, the author does a superb job of placing just enough road blocks in their way to keep the ride enjoyable. I so appreciated that neither character was dependent or subordinate to the other - each had their own clearly defined set of beliefs and values, and neither was willing to sacrifice them for each other.
This was exciting and action packed, but the author didn't resort to a cookie-cutter happy ending for any of her characters, which was a refreshing change from many YA novels in this vein. I would happily read a series of books about these characters - I'd love to see where their paths take them.
The audiobook narration was good, but the producers did use a LOT of sound effects and music, which I am not particularly a fan of - just read me the book, thankyouverymuch. But that's a small quibble in an otherwise very enjoyable experience.
If sci-fi is your thing, check this one out. If you are a Star Wars fan, DEFINITELY check this out. This has made me extremely interested in reading more of the novels in the Star Wars universe, and that is certainly not something I would have said before starting.
Finished - 2/13/16
Source - my own audible library #RMODB
MPAA rating - PG-13 for some violence, adult situations
My rating - 4/5