“I don’t turn toward the light because it means someday I’ll ‘win’ some sort of cosmic game. I turn toward it because it is the light.”
Claudia Gray is, quite simply, good at Star Wars. Peruse our content, listen to our podcast, or hang out in our Discord server or Facebook group, and you’ll quickly find that she’s a favorite of the Youtini team. Her Lost Stars is part of our collection of Five Foundational Books, and for many of us, her four Star Wars books each have spots high on our list of favorites in this new era of Canon.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: if you think the “Young Adult” label means these books aren’t for you, you should really think again: The category only refers to the age range of the protagonist, not the reading level. And regardless of whether she’s portraying young pilots and princesses or Senators and Jedi Masters, Gray is a master at developing complex and nuanced new characters who immediately draw you into their plights; Lost Stars co-protagonists Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree have, for many readers, occupied honored places in the pantheon of Expanded Universe characters.
Gray also excels at taking characters we’ve met on screen and capturing them in a way that not only honors their cinematic portrayal, but expands on our understanding of them. In the first chapter of Master and Apprentice, she so perfectly captures the voices of Qui-Gon and Obi Wan that you’ll be hard pressed not to hear Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor in your head, and the way you view the pair’s relationship in The Phantom Menace will be forever changed. After Leia: Princess of Alderaan and Bloodline, Gray may as well be considered Leia Organa’s official biographer (if there were such a thing for fictional characters).
Her Star Wars work has also appeared in From a Certain Point of View, the collection of forty short stories released to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Episode IV. In it, she casts the relationship between Qui Gon and Obi Wan in an even more fascinating light in a short story entitled “Master and Apprentice.”
Fortunately for those of us who can’t get enough of Claudia Gray’s takes on the Star Wars universe, more is on the way. We don’t know much about “Project Luminous” yet, but since it includes Gray in addition to Charles Soule (Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith), Daniel Jose Older (Last Shot), Justina Ireland (Lando’s Luck), and friend of Youtini, Cavan Scott (Dooku: Jedi Lost), we’re pretty sure we’re going to like it. At this point, we’re pretty sure we’ll like anything Star Wars from Claudia Gray, and if you want to join us, check out the following titles.
You may be familiar with the events of Star Wars’ Original Trilogy, but Lost Stars manages to re-explore its major plot points through the eyes of brand new characters Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell, recruited to join the Rebel Alliance by Wedge Antilles. Along the way, it tells a love story that rivals that of Anakin and Padme.
Claudia Gray is among the elite Star Wars authors when it comes to crafting compelling stories. This book excels by giving a fresh take on the Star Wars story fans already know and love.
The relationship between Jedi Master and Padawan is tumultuous as often as it is tight. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi know this fact all too well. In the midst of their struggles to work together, Qui-Gon gets an offer that would allow them to part ways forever. However, after being sent on what may be their final mission together, Qui-Gon begins have visions that cast everyone’s future into doubt.
Claudia Gray once again does what she does best by delivering a moving, impactful story that delves into big questions surrounding the Force. She was entrusted with hugely important characters and uses them expertly.
In keeping with Alderaanian tradition, Princess Leia undergoes her Day of Demand, where she claims her right as heir to the throne and sets forth how she will prove herself worthy. Yet things have been tense between her and her adopted parents, Queen Breha and Viceroy Bail Organa. As Leia - also a member of the Empire's Apprentice Legislature - undertakes her challenges of the Body, Mind, and Spirit, she learns more about her adoptive parents than she ever suspected and begins her own journey that will forever change the galaxy.
Claudia Gray excels at taking on the challenge of portraying one of the most important and beloved characters in the entire Star Wars mythos, and along the way treats us to compelling depictions of other on-screen characters as diverse as the former Captain Panaka, the future Vice Admiral Holdo, and Bail Organa. This book presents the not-to-be-missed backstory of how Leia became the fearless rebel we meet, and love, in the films.
After the fall of the Empire, the Senate is split into the Populist and Centrist parties. Both profess the goal of restoring the Republic, though they are unable to set aside their opposing views. Tired of the pointless bickering within the Senate, Leia takes on one final mission before retiring. However, the mission proves to be bigger than she originally thought, inducing chaos and unveiling corruption.
Leave it to Claudia Gray to make politics exciting with action and drama! Bloodline is also an excellent gateway into the sequel trilogy, making this an essential read for fans interested in that era.