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From a Certain Point of View (Star Wars) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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This book was all I had hoped for it to be and more. Every single story within it provided so much depth to all that occurred in A New Hope, a loving ode to characters both on screen, not in the film at all, and Star Wars as a whole.
From fun nods to the fans (The Holiday special gets so many fun nods and of course... Fake Wedge! Fake Wedge!!!) to taking you inside the head of one of the troopers who stood by and did nothing as Vader tortured the 19 year old Princess Leia to witnessing the destruction of Alderaan from the perspective of Queen Breha Organa herself to Old Ben Kenobi's thoughts as he died and figured out that whole Force ghost thing... this book does an amazing job of deeply enriching the canon.
I really can not say enough how much I loved it.
All 40 stories within it were amazing. All 40 make A New Hope that much richer.
Del Rey, LucasFilm, all of the many authors... thank you so much for this incredible book.
I think my biggest complaint is that none of the stories got the time they deserved. In an effort to fit 40 stories in here, almost none of the authors were given the breathing room to really make something out of their idea. Next time, Star Wars, do a proper anthology with normal length stories, please. There are some ideas in this book that are astounding and deserve more attention.
One of the goals of this anthology (I assume) was to allow authors to experiment a bit, and to allow some new authors a crack at the Star Wars universe. Obviously, a lot of how people react to this book is going to depend upon people’s wants and expectations--perhaps more so than a novel. And I totally expect there will be people who strongly disagree with a rating or two (or twenty) of mine. But that’s why it’s MY review and not yours! :)
Since there are 40 stories, rather than listing each story, plus a rating, plus a comment or two, I’ve just grouped them into the following categories that roughly correlate to a five star rating system. Finally, the number in front of each story is the order in which the story appears in the book.
Okay, lot's to review--let's get crackin'!!
Five Stars: The Force is strong with this one.
Translation: The best of the best of the best.
8. “Master and Apprentice”
Thoughts: I always thought that Qui-Gon learning how to manifest as a Force ghost and communicating with Obi-wan was kinda stupid. But it’s excellent stories like this one that are changing my mind.
Thoughts: Wow. The destruction of Alderaan. That was by far the best story I’ve read yet. Well written. A new perspective (but one that dove-tailed nicely on Claudia Gray’s Leia: Princess of Alderaan). Emotional. Characters that sound like and act like adults. Whew. Good stuff.
30. “Time of Death”
Thoughts: I will say this for the editors: they gave all of the important stories to the best writers. Obi-wan has become one of my favorite characters over the years, and this new perspective on his death is death is very touching.
31. “There is Another”
Thoughts: The difference between the bad the stories and the excellent stories in this collection is enormous. Yoda, however, is still very small. I loved this story.
34. “Duty Roster”
Thoughts: There are some stories in this book that I would love to see put to film, big screen or small. This is one of them.
35. “Desert Son”
Thoughts: I always thought Pierce Brown was a bit over-rated (sorry, Pierce). But if he keeps writing like this, I will happily change my tune.
Thoughts: Holy crap, they saved the best for last. These final stories are just so damn fine.
Four Stars: Impressive. Most Impressive.
Translation: An excellent story that is either very well written or that adds something significant to the Star Wars canon. A must read.
6. “The Red One”
Thoughts: I think a lot of readers will say that I’m over-rating this story. Which might be true. But when I read the first few lines, I thought for sure I was going to give this on a Tribbles rating. But dammit, if the author didn’t just write the idea so well, that...droid feels...right here in my chest. Meh idea, but superbly written.
Thoughts: I admit I love this story specifically because I love John Jackson Miller’s Kenobi, and I was very sad to learn that it was not considered canon. However, this short story, which is canon, references very clearly most all of the events in Kenobi...which is about as close to being canon as you can get without “officially” being canon...right? I hope so.
13. “The Kloo Horn Cantina Caper”
Thoughts: Most of the experimental styles in this anthology are pretty bad: here, is a fantastic exception. A bit noir, a bit caper, a bit personality, a bit smug, but a lot of fun, and never overdone.
16. “The Secrets of Long Snoot”
Thoughts: Finally a story with a voice that sounds like it was written by an adult. Tragically, such voice in writing is rare in the Star Wars universe.
23. “Verge of Greatness”
Thoughts: Now THIS is how you get inside someone’s head for a scene that we’ve all already seen in the movie. Also, again, the characters sound like adult (it’s amazing how much that single fact elevates writing…), and the characters have voices that match, well, the characters. Nicely done Mr. Hidalgo.
37. “Contingency Plan”
Thoughts: I know that Star Wars in many ways is supposed to be fun. But Star Wars works best when it’s story and it’s characters are taken seriously. Wonderful story.
Three Stars: Not bad for a little furball.
Translation: A pretty solid story. You should read it.
Thoughts: We look a bit into the head of Captain Antilles, brave leader of of the Tantive IV and soon to be throat-choked by Darth Vader. Interesting story. Not badly written. Doesn’t add much of anything though.
2. “The Bucket”
Thoughts: A nice story about a stormtrooper with a tiny touch of a conscience. And here’s my odd gripe. I know that Disney et al. are trying to humanize the Empire. But you can’t make every stormtrooper and Imperial officer have a guilty conscience. Time to pull back a bit and make some Imperials that passionately believe in what they’re doing.
12. “We Don’t Serve Their Kind Here”
Thoughts: The barkeep’s past was just intriguing enough to make some connections to the Clone Wars without ever becoming melodramatic. Also...is this the third story wherein HAN. SHOT. FIRST...and Han was the ONLY one to shoot? What are you playing at here, Disney? I like it.
Thoughts: A standard, if touching, recording from a dad to a little girl explaining all about the Rebellion should he not live long enough to tell her himself.
25. “The Trigger”
Thoughts: The stormtrooper with a conscience done right. And Dr. Aphra to boot. Not too shabby.
28. “End of Watch”
Thoughts: Ever wonder what was going on at the other end of the line during Han Solo’s “boring conversation anyway”? Now you know.
Thoughts: I’m an English teacher. I’m a total sucker for Ian Doescher’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope. And I liked this one too.
Thoughts: You know how you choke up just a bit at the end of Star Wars as each X-wing and Y-wing get’s shot down? This brief, but very nice story, will do the same thing all over again.
38. “The Angle”
Thoughts: Just what the rating says: not bad for a little look into the life and times of Lando Calrissian.
39. “By Whatever Sun”
Thoughts: I’m curious to know just how much Ashley Eckstein contributed to the story. Either way, she and E.K. Johnston make a good team. Nicely done.
Two Stars: It could be worse.
Translation: A very meh, story, but it least it hasn’t sunk so low at to be grabbed by a dianoga and dragged away to the very bottom of the trash compactor. Only read it if the subject matter really interests you.
9. “Beru Whitesun Lars”
Thoughts: Sorry, but the voice doesn’t even remotely match what I think an elderly(ish) woman would sound like.
10. “The Luckless Rodian”
Thoughts: Too short a story. Greedo is kinda a wuss. HOWEVER...Han. Shot. First. BOOM! Does this make it canon? They’re trying, folks.
11. “Not for Nothing”
Thoughts: It’s about this point that I started to think, “I don’t want every character to have a back story,” because now it’s just starting to feel forced. Just let the band play, man.
17. “Born in the Storm”
Thoughts: ...but not by much. Have I mentioned yet that I want come competent Imperials? And that I want them to sound like adults? Yeah, there’s none of that here.
19. “Fully Operational”
Thoughts: Well written, but this is merely an extended scene of the Imperial chiefs of staff meeting with Vader and Tarkin in A New Hope. Nothing new is added.
21.“Change of Heart”
Thoughts: There’s nothing really wrong with this one except, as I’ve already said, someone needed to coordinate these stories better. Way too many of them are way too similar. For my thoughts on this story, see my thoughts from “The Bucket” because they’re basically the same story.
24. “Far too Remote”
Thoughts: I’m not really a good judge of artwork, so…a single-panel cartoon. Cute. And I’m glad it only took up one piece of paper.
29. “The Baptist”
Thoughts: I really struggle with these weird POV stories. I don’t need one about a Jawa, I don’t need one about a mouse droid, and I don’t need one about the dianoga.
Thoughts: The last story of the anthology is a joke. No, seriously, it is--it’s even mildly amusing. Which is fine, but I’d rather they started with it than put it at the very end. It feels really out of place at the end. Please don’t treat Star Wars like a joke, hm.
One Star: Tribbles.
Translation: A story of fluffy crap that feels woefully out of place in this Star Wars book, just like a tribble. No. Stop. Don’t read it. It’s really bad.
3. “The Sith of Datawork”
Thoughts: You know what doesn’t make Star Wars interesting? Even if the concept might be very plausible? Paper work. ‘Nough said.
4. “Stories in the Sand”
Thoughts: I don’t really wanna say why I found it stupid because it’s the whole premise of the story. So. It was just total fluff.
Thoughts: So a Tusken has to steal something from a sandcrawler. Alright. Then what happens? The answer: NOTHING. I literally don’t understand what I’m supposed to get from this story.
14. “Added Muscle”
Thoughts: Aaaaand...this is why I have my “Tribbles” rating. A story off all fluff and no substance. And the Fett dialogue was badly written.
15. “You Owe Me a Ride”
Thoughts: I dunno--maybe the Tribbles rating is a bit harsh, but after reading this dud, I’m forced to echo what a fellow reviewer said: apparently none of the authors coordinated their stories because after this story, I’m pretty sure every damn patron in the cantina is now in someway connected to Han Solo. It’s irritating. The galaxy is huge. It’s okay to have people at a bar, even one in Mos Eisley, who don’t know each other! Also, this is another story where literally nothing of consequence happens. Bad writing.
20. “An Incident Report”
Thoughts: Another whiney Imperial statement. And, really, we’re going accuse Vader of evangelizing? Really?!?! My eyes have never rolled so hard.
26. “Of MSE-6 and Men”
Thoughts: I just...I...what? How is this story a thing?!?! Was it supposed to be funny? Charming? Whitty? Romantic? Because in the end it was a whole lotta nothin’.
Thoughts: I’m being forced to read other reviews in order to come up with new ways to explain things. So yes, I read this somewhere else, but so many of these stories, including this one, just feel like bad fanfic.
Well, that’s it folks. Feel free to tell me in the comments where I’m right (obviously), and where I’m all wrong.