Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Review: From a Certain Point of View

From a Certain Point of View: 40 stories celebrating 40 years of Star Wars
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: October, 3rd, 2017
Format: Hardback, 477 characters
Source: Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

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.
I have a hard time reviewing anthology books, because how do I quantify a review of different stories by various different authors with different writing styles? I usually do an overall review for these collections, but I find it so hard! Mostly because what if there is one great story, but all the rest in the collections are kinda "meh". How do you write a review for that? Do you give it a good review, just for that on story? I wasn't really sure how to broach this collection. Do I just call out what I liked? Or do I break it down by each story and give a review separately? I know Greg at Greg's Book Haven did it that way, and I liked his review, but boy is that A LOT of work! So I want to talk about this collection has a whole, and I want to pull out my favorite stories and that ones that I just didn't care about to show the difference between the stories.

Some of the stories in this collection just didn't make me feel anything. I read them and just thought, "okay." and flipped the page to the next story. I'm not really going to talk about those here, because I just don't have any feelings about them. But let's start with the misses and which stories just didn't work for me.

Whills by Tom Angleberger might have been my least favorite. It's a little funny on a really meta level, and I understand why they ended with it, but I just thought it was so unnecessary. It didn't do anything for me to enhance my love of A New Hope. Of MSE-6 and Men by Glen Weldon was another I just didn't really care for. I think for me it was just super distracting to read in the droid's processing language. I mean on some level it was cool because I don't think I've read that in a Star Wars book before, but it also gave me a headache so I have to put it in the "miss" pile. This last one that was in the "miss" pile for me hurts my heart because it's from my favorite author, but I can admit when one of her stories just doesn't work for me. Beru Whitesun Lars by Meg Cabot was just kind of boring and repetitive, and that makes me really sad. On one hand I know a lot of women were glad that there was talk about Beru being infertile in this story and I think that is great to have that here. I always kinda wondered why the Lars didn't have any children, and it's cool to see something like that in the Star Wars Universe. On the other hand she talked about making Blue Milk Cheese TOO much, and I just didn't care.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, I want to talk about the "Hits" in this collection and why I loved these particular stories.  I also want to point out these aren't all the stories that I liked, just the major ones that I was really drawn to and want to point out for the purpose of this review. I also am listing them chronically, not by order of how much I liked them.

I think Stories in the Sand by Griffin McElroy was the first story in the collection that I really enjoyed. I feel like we don't really know that much about The Jawas, so it was really interesting to read from the perspective of one and get a little more insight on their culture. Reirin by Sabaa Tahir was a cool story, especially if you want to hear the Tusken Raiders side of the story. This one is a little frustrating because now I have more questions, but that also made me love it. Reirin is a Raider that wants to leave the planet and she has to find some sort of rock in the Jawas' Crawler (I think it's supposed to be a Kyber Crystal). I also think that it's heavily implied that she is force sensitive. Um...where is the rest of this story?? I want to know more about this character's journey. I liked John Jackson Miller's Rites story for a similar reason, it's also about The Tusken Raiders. If you read Kenobi (now part of legends, even though it totally should be canon) the character of A'Yark should be familiar. She's the Chief of her tribe, and I really need a novel about her too. I kind of love that Miller was able to make this character canon. That's really interesting to me and I definitely am more interested in reading about the Tusken Raiders in the Star Wars Galaxy and hearing their side of the story. Another one I really loved was The Trigger by Kieron Gillen. This was my first introduction to Doctor Aphra (I don't think she has a book, but she is in the comics) and I definitely need to get my hands on her comics now!

I like anthologies because it allows you to jump around and if you don't like one story, you can just move on to the next one. I generally enjoyed this one. There were some I hated, some I loved, but I think that is just the nature of anthologies.

Did you read this story collection? What did you think? Do you have a favorite story?

Happy Reads Everyone!