This is a book review of Star Wars: Lost Stars Volume 1, and contains minor spoilers.
Review by Jay Krebs
Star Wars: Lost Stars Volume 1 is a manga adaptation of the original 2015 YA novel Lost Stars written by Claudia Gray. The art and adaptation are by Yusaku Komiyama, and lettered by Abigail Blackman. The manga was released in the United States by Yen Press in May, 2018 under license from Lucasfilm and Disney. It was first released in Japan in December, 2017. It is worth noting that this is the first licensed manga adaptation of a Star Wars story in over a decade.
The novel “Lost Stars” is undoubtedly among the top of the list of fan-favorite novels to come from the newer Star Wars canon. It is a Romeo and Juliet-type story that follows two youngsters from opposing social groups hailing from the planet Jelucan – Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell. It is set before the events of A New Hope, and concludes just before The Force Awakens. The story follows them through the trials, tribulations and jubilations of their lifelong relationship, which was established through their shared love of flying, but fractured by galactic conflict.
For me, the novel remains among my favorites as well, which is why I was really excited to see the news that it would be released in manga form. It gave me another excuse to revisit the storyline and gobble up the beautifully tragic tale.
Quick history lesson on manga:
Manga is a Japanese comic book-style artistic form of storytelling, and its history can be traced back to the 12th century, based on scrolls that show the typical left-to right style of reading. However, “true” manga was not developed until the late 19th century, and has developed into what it is today (1).
I was familiar with the genre as an existing form of literature, and I knew that the reader needed to start at what is typically the “back” of the book. Still, I had to get a quick lesson on how to properly read a manga piece from my oldest teenage son, who has definitely read his share.
This six-chapter manga covers the Lost Stars story from the beginning of the novel, to the point of the events of the start of A New Hope. However, it doesn’t start at the beginning of the novel, rather with a scene from the Battle of Hoth, and then proceeds with the story of the younger Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree.
As a manga adaptation, this does a nice job of embodying the essence of the original novel. I would highly suggest reading the novel by Claudia Gray before the manga. Although one can get a sense of the original storyline, it helps to be able to fill in the more minute details mentally, having read the novel in its entirety.
Comic book readers will definitely appreciate the artful adaptation of the characters, and the overall attributes of this style of storytelling. Be that as it may, the story does read a bit more like an anime in its more abstract representation of dialogue between characters. Some comic book aficionados may find the manga conversational style a bit off-putting as a result.
The artwork is beautifully done, and I appreciate the Japanese representative forms of “movement” and “sound effects.” The characters are delightfully represented in their manga forms. Princess Leia is drawn gorgeously in her ball gown and other iconic looks, and both Ciena and Thane are nicely represented as both children of Jelucan and young cadets in the Imperial academy. Even Han and Chewie get a few fun panels as well! The ships, environments and other story elements also get nice treatments, but without being too muddled with detail. Of course, Darth Vader is as imposing as ever, and is drawn perfectly.
This is a great introduction for younger readers to the story. It is easy to follow and understand, with a perfect jumping-off point to events that happen in both the novel and the movie A New Hope, without being overwhelming.
Being the first volume, there will obviously be more on the way to finish the story in its entirety, and I am very excited to see how the events in the rest of the novel sync up with future manga adaptations.
Although the manga style may not fit into every fan’s Star Wars library, Star Wars: Lost Stars Volume 1 manga is a fun, easy read that could be passed on to young readers, and for me, will be something I will probably revisit time and again, just to immerse myself into this beautiful love story/adventure.
You can order your copy of Star Wars: Lost Stars Volume 1 from Amazon.
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