12 July 2018

BOOK REVIEW: From a Certain Point of View [Star Wars]

From a Certain Point of View [Star Wars] by Various Authors
My rating: 4.3 out of 5
Okay, how about a fresh new anthology of forty short stories telling the Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope story from a multitude of different perspectives, written by some of the biggest names in contemporary sci-fi literature? Yep, bring it to me! The idea of this simply demanded that I give it a solid look. Also, it is written to sit within the new Disney canon structure which is another reason why I wanted to give it a try, that is to see how the new ideas people treated this grass-roots Star Wars plot (which kicked off one of the biggest entertainment franchises of all time) and how it stacked up against the traditional story and ideas that I grew up with. So how does it rate? Quite okay as it turns out.

The story is a well-known one but, if you'll indulge me, let's recap briefly [deep breath...]: A couple of droids, one of which [R2D2] belongs to a beautiful young princess and Rebel leader [Leia Organa] contains the stolen plans (recently portrayed in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) to an Imperial space station and super-weapon [the Death Star]. The droids are pursued across space and the arid planet Tatooine by thousands of shiny white Stormtroopers and a shiny black Sith Lord [Darth Vader] to stop the plans getting into the hands of the Rebel forces. Whilst on Tatooine they team up with an old Jedi Knight [Obi-Wan Kenobi] (who is watching and protecting a young boy [Luke Skywalker] from a distance) and a couple of smugglers [Han Solo and Chewbacca] who have a very fast freighter vessel [the Millenium Falcon] which can get the droid and the stolen plans past the Imperial blockades to the secret Rebel base [on Yavin 4]. The Death Star plans contain details of a certain vulnerability which the Rebels hope to exploit and destroy it before it can be moved into position to destroy the Rebel base in a gigantic race against time. Numerous scenes are told from the point of view of often minor [however, not all are "minor",  i.e. Obi-Wan, Yoda and Boba Fett] characters who give us a refreshing new view of the events. Even from these new perspectives, the story is satisfying and the climax is fantastic.

Mon Mothma
There's no denying that the stories themselves are of great quality, written by some of the best of the genre; authors like Ken Liu, Chuck Wendig, Pablo Hidalgo and Paul S Kemp [and others] require no introduction to most and produce some top work in these pages. There are only a few exceptions at either end of the scale, there are two pieces that I didn't care for at all, but the vast majority are real beauties. It's difficult to nail down particular favorites, but two that did stand out for me included one told from the point of view of a sentient force-sensitive water creature called a dianoga which is what Leia, Luke, Han and Chewie encounter in the watery trash chamber on the Death Star, while the other tells of [Rebel leader] Mon Mothma's secret contingency plans in the event of a Rebel defeat if that were to happen. These were fascinating insights. Like I said, apart from a couple, all are great reads.

I'm very glad that I picked this one up because it was a real treat to read. From what I've now read a few titles produced from the new Disney/Lucasfilm/Del Rey combination and have been quite impressed with the quality of the work. While I'm still not totally confident in the overall story direction going forward compared to the traditional [now called "Legends"] ideas, the literature which I've seen so far seems to be tracking along nicely. This compilation sat well with me and I would bet that most Star Wars fans will enjoy these fresh insights into the established A New Hope story. A highly recommended read for anyone into the Star Wars saga, even if they've only got a basic understanding of the overall storyline. Now, if the brains trust who oversee this whole project could just lift their game a little when it comes to the new movies, that would be good.

4/5 for concept
4/5 for delivery
5/5 for entertainment
= 4.3 out of 5

Buy the ebook HERE (Amazon US)
Buy the paper book HERE (Book Depository)

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