From A Certain Point of View

From A Certain Point of View Book Cover From A Certain Point of View
Star Wars
Various
Short Story
Del Rey
October 3, 2017
Hardcover
477

Experience Star Wars: A New Hope from a whole new point of view.

On May 25, 1977, the world was introduced to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and a galaxy full of possibilities. In honor of the 40th anniversary, more than 40 contributors lend their vision to this retelling of Star Wars. Each of the 40 short stories reimagines a moment from the original film, but through the eyes of a supporting character. From a Certain Point of View features contributions by best-selling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from the literary history of Star Wars:

Gary Whitta bridges the gap from Rogue One to A New Hope through the eyes of Captain Antilles.
Aunt Beru finds her voice in an intimate character study by Meg Cabot.
Nnedi Okorofor brings dignity and depth to a most unlikely character: the monster in the trash compactor.
Pablo Hidalgo provides a chilling glimpse inside the mind of Grand Moff Tarkin.
Pierce Brown chronicles Biggs Darklighter's final flight during the Rebellion's harrowing attack on the Death Star.
Wil Wheaton spins a poignant tale of the rebels left behind on Yavin.
Plus 34 more hilarious, heartbreaking, and astonishing tales from Ben Acker, Renée Ahdieh, Tom Angleberger, Ben Blacker, Jeffrey Brown, Rae Carson, Adam Christopher, Zoraida Córdova, Delilah S. Dawson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Paul Dini, Ian Doescher, Ashley Eckstein, Matt Fraction, Alexander Freed, Jason Fry, Kieron Gillen, Christie Golden, Claudia Gray, E. K. Johnston, Paul S. Kemp, Mur Lafferty, Ken Liu, Griffin McElroy, John Jackson Miller, Daniel José Older, Mallory Ortberg, Beth Revis, Madeleine Roux, Greg Rucka, Gary D. Schmidt, Cavan Scott, Charles Soule, Sabaa Tahir, Elizabeth Wein, Glen Weldon, Chuck Wendig

Narrated by a full cast, including:

Jonathan Davis
Ashley Eckstein
Janina Gavankar
Jon Hamm
Neil Patrick Harris
January LaVoy
Saskia Maarleveld
Carol Monda
Daniel José Older
Marc Thompson
All participating authors have generously forgone any compensation for their stories. Instead, their proceeds will be donated to First Book - a leading nonprofit that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to educators and organizations serving children in need. To further celebrate the launch of this book and both companies' longstanding relationships with First Book, Penguin Random House has donated $100,000 to First Book, and Disney/Lucasfilm has donated 100,000 children's books - valued at $1 million - to support First Book and their mission of providing equal access to quality education. Over the past 16 years, Disney and Penguin Random House combined have donated more than 88 million books to First Book.

 

From A Certain Point of View is a bit difficult to review, as is any short story collection. To that end, the stories will each get a mini-review with a compiled score.

Raymus by Gary Whitta (5/5 stars)

Picking up immediately where Rogue One ends and going into the start of A New Hope, this story is crucial to the overall plot of Star Wars.

The Bucket by Christie Golden (4/5 stars)

Focusing on the stormtrooper who stuns Princess Leia, this is a reminder that Imperials are people, not just faceless drones.

The Sith of Datawork by Ken Liu (5/5 stars)

This follows an Imperial desk worker who is great at getting things done despite the Empire’s bureaucracy. Using these skills, he helps cover for his colleague, the gunner who decided not to shoot down the escape pod with R2D2 and C3PO in it. This one is hilarious as they shift the blame onto someone else because you know the poor sap who must report this failure to Vader is probably going to get Force Choked.

Stories in the Sand by Griffin McElroy (2/5 stars)

The story of the Jawa who captures R2D2. Not terribly interesting, but it shows just how much of a close call that was for our favorite astromech droid.

Reirin by Sabaa Tahir (2/5 stars)

This story shows a Tusken Raider (Sand People) with dreams of spaceflight. Not important in the grand scheme of things but the story is well written.

The Red One by Rae Carson (5/5 stars)

Featuring the red astromech almost purchased instead of R2D2, this story delves into how droids are people too, with hopes and dreams and the ability to be heroes.

Rites by Jon Jackson Miller (3/5 stars)

Another Tusken Raider story, this one features the Sand People who attack and knock out Luke. It delves into the culture of Sand People, which is nice to see in the new Disney continuity.

Master and Apprentice by Claudia Grey (5/5 stars)

Featuring a character who was not actually in A New Hope but it crucial to Star Wars, this story also expands Obi-Wan’s character development.

Beru Whitesun Lars by Meg Cabot (5/5 stars)

Told by Luke’s Aunt Beru after she becomes one with the Force, we gain a rare bit of insight from one of the people who raised the future Jedi Knight.

The Luckless Rodian by Renée Ahdieh (2/5 stars)

Greedo is a jerk, then Han shoots him. ‘Nuff said.

Not for Nothing by Mur Lafferty (4/5 stars)

Explains how the cantina band went from being galactic stars to playing in the middle of a hive of scum and villainy. Overall these are good characters and their story was legitimately interesting.

We Don’t Serve Their Kind Here by Chuck Wendig (4/5 stars)

The bartender in Mos Eisley’s cantina provides a good link to the prequels, with his life during the Clone Wars explaining his misdemeanor and personality.

The Kloo Horn Caper by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Matt Fraction (2/5 stars)

This one really felt all over the place and it was one of the longest stories in the book. The writing was good, the content not so much.

Added Muscle by Paul Dini (1/5 stars)

Boba Fett is featured here, and this story felt like it hurt his character. His inner monologue feels much more in line with young, cocky, arrogant Boba from the Clone Wars tv series than the near-silent, cool bounty hunter of the original films.

You Owe Me a Ride by Zoraida Córdova (4/5 stars)

While not important to the overall plot of A New Hope, the Tonnika Sisters are sassy and entertaining, making for a fun story.

The Secrets of Long Snoot by Delilah S. Dawson (3/5 stars)

A little reminder of how people, particularly aliens, are frequently tricked and screwed over by the Empire. This story makes you feel bad for a character who is technically a bad guy.

Born in the Storm by Daniel José Older (3/5 stars)

Even stormtroopers can think their job sucks and dream of just saying “screw it” to ride off into the sunset.

Laina by Wil Wheaton (4/5 stars)

Featuring the Rebel soldier standing in the tower on Yavin 4, he knows he is doing the right thing and that his family will be safe on Alderaan. Oh…

Fully Operational by Beth Revis (5/5 stars)

General Tagge is the smart person who points out, “Hey, the Rebels could be a threat since they stole the plans to the Death Star.”

An Incident Report by Mallory Ortbert (5/5 stars)

The Imperial officer Force Choked by Vader in the Death Star meeting room writes a formal complaint about the incident and comes to the realization that the Dark Lord of the Sith is more terrifying that the Death Star itself.

Change of Heart by Elizabeth Wein (5/5 stars)

Another story showing that Imperial stormtroopers are not just faceless drones, as one trooper witnesses the terror the Empire will inflict on even its own citizens.

Eclipse by Madeleine Roux (5/5 stars)

The final moments of Bail and Breha Organa, as they try to determine Leia’s fate in the final moments before Alderaan is destroyed.

Verge of Greatness by Pablo Hidalgo (5/5 stars)

Featuring both Director Krennic and Grand Moff Tarkin, both characters are portrayed perfectly as their thoughts dwell on each other and the faults that will lead to their respective downfalls.

Far Too Remote by Jeffrey Brown (5/5 stars)

A 1-panel comic featuring the Imperials looking for the Rebel Base on Dantooine. In a word: hilarious.

The Trigger by Kieron Gillen (5/5 stars)

Features Doctor Aphra from the Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra comic books. As a big fan favorite character invented in the Disney canon, this one was just a treat.

Of MSE-6 and Men by Glen Weldon (2/5 stars)

This is about the little droid Chewbacca growls at in the hall on the Death Star. This is one of the longer stories and basically boils down to “if Imperial officers weren’t idiots, the Death Star might not have blown up”.

Bump by Ben Acker & Ben Blacker (3/5 stars)

Same as the last story; if officers were not idiots, something something.

End of Watch by Adam Christopher (3/5 stars)

This story features the Imperials on the other end of the comm when Han, Luke, and Chewie rescue Leia from the detention center. More Imperial bureaucracy featuring a slice of life for the men and women of the Empire.

The Baptist by Nnedi Okorafor (1/5 stars)

This story literally and figuratively features garbage.

Time of Death by Cavan Scott (5/5 stars)

Obi-Wan Kenobi in his final moments, featuring the mental battle he waged with himself even as he clashed lightsabers with Vader. Also provides a much-needed explanation as to why the lightsaber fight was so tame compared to all the backflips and stuff in the prequels.

There is Another by Gary D. Schmidt (4/5 stars)

Featuring another character not actually in A New Hope, Yoda, this sets some of the groundwork for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Palpatine by Ian Doescher (1/5 stars)

A poem by Emperor Palpatine. Please note I never have and probably never will understand poetry, so my rating of this one is pretty biased.

Sparks by Paul S. Kemp (4/5 stars)

The first of several stories featuring Rebel pilots during The Battle of Yavin. Note for all of these that 30 starfighters went up and only 3 came back. Dex was one of the Y-Wing pilots who made the first run down the Death Star trench.

Duty Roster by Jason Fry (4/5 stars)

During the Battle of Yavin, the Rebel Alliance had more available pilots than starfighters. This story features one of the ones left behind.

Desert Son by Pierce Brown (4/5 stars)

Featuring Luke’s friend Biggs from Tatooine, this story is a shining example of the many rebels who sacrificed themselves for the greater good against the Empire.

Grounded by Greg Rucka (5/5 stars)

Every team needs a leader and even those leaders report to someone. When you are at a certain level in the chain of command, every loss in battle can hurt you personally.

Contingency Plan by Alexander Freed (5/5 stars)

This story did a lot for Mon Mothma’s character, namely explaining why she was not present at the Battle of Yavin. It also left me with a lot of mixed feelings about her as a person.

The Angle by Charles Soule (4/5 stars)

Yet another tale of a character who was not actually in A New Hope, this time Lando Calrissian. Not really in line with the other stories but it sets him up a bit for The Empire Strikes Back.

By Whatever Sun by E.K. Johnson & Ashley Eckstein (3/5 stars)

Another character pops up from the new Expanded Universe, Ahsoka’s friend Miara from the book Ahsoka. This story lends a bit of realism to the end scene of A New Hope.

Whills by Tom Angleberger (5/5 stars)

Hilarious and my new head-canon for George Lucas’ thought process.

December 17, 2017

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