A forbidden romance. No lightsaber battles. Nice Imperial officers. "What is this rubbish?" is possibly something a Star Wars fan might be forgiven for exclaiming.
But this young adult book is one of the best Star Wars books I've ever read. Focussing on a boy (Thane) and a girl (Ciena) from a backwater Outer Rim planet, this book tells the story of their friendship, their time in the Imperial Academy on Coruscant and their parting of the ways as they begin to see the Empire in different ways.
I won't spoil who stays with the Empire and who leaves. And I won't spoil some of the plot points as we follow Thane and Ciena on their separate journeys. But their paths cross not just with each other but with many important parts of the original trilogy... the opening scenes of A New Hope, the destruction of Alderaan and then Yavin, Hoth, Bespin and Endor.
That is part of the magic of the book. It will refresh your next original trilogy marathon. Now there are two stories... the one you see on screen and the one happening just off camera. This isn't the first time that this has been done for certain scenes but this threads its way through all three movies.
And the other part of the magic is just how believable the relationship between Thane and Ciena is. Perfectly formed and just plain brilliant. It could school the likes of Twilight and the Hunger Games (though I did enjoy the Hunger Games I must admit) on romance in a fantasy setting.
Pick it up today and indulge in the best new Star Wars canon book since the Expanded Universe was washed away.