From-A-Certain-Point-Of-View-The-Empire-Strikes-Back-Review

Book Review | From A Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back

Max delves into the multiple points of view of The Empire Strikes Back for this review!

From A Certain Point of View: Empire Strikes Back addition celebrates 40 years of Empire with 40 short stories. Empire is regarded as the best Star Wars, and while I have a lot to say arguing against that, there is no denying that it is a phenomenal movie. Many of this collection’s writers range from well recognized Star Wars veterans to newbies who are making their first foray into a GFFA. The theme is the Star Wars moniker “From a Certain Point of View” so each story is told from the viewpoint of a particular character or being.

From a Certain Point of View | by Seth Dickinson Hank Green R. F. Kuang Martha Wells Kiersten White

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Now, I am going to be doing something a little different this time. 40 Stories is a lot and it seems foolish to compare and contrast 40 tales written by authors of vastly varying style. Yet, I am going to go for broke and read all of them (of course) and pick the very best one that I feel truly embodies the “spirit” of ESB. So yes, it is a popularity contest, but I am not critiquing the skills of the writers against each other. This is purely about the feel of it. I will also pick 4 runners up stories and have the readers vote which of the 5 they think is the best embodiment of ESB. Or you can choose one I didn’t pick. Will my number 1 pick win?

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The one I pick for number 1 is……The Witness. The Witness is written by Adam Christopher who is set to pen a Mandalorian novel late in the next year. The Witness tells the story of a female stormtrooper, who after witnessing the cruelty of the Empire; decided to abandon the Imperial army and start “fresh”. It would appear that this is a very rudimentary plot, and some will wonder why I picked it. 2 reasons. Deena, the main character wrestles with her decision and her viewpoint on the Empire as a whole. It is a very human feeling that is of not knowing what to believe in or what you want from this world.

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It takes time for Deena to comprehend her choice, and it is helped along by witnessing the sadistic and dogmatic attitude of a fellow stormtrooper. Deena also grapples with wanting to make a difference and that was what Empire was strongly based on. Making a difference when a situation seemed hopeless and the bad guys were way ahead. This is the first reason. The second reason is pure nostalgia. There is a sequence in the story that mirrors a Legends tale. In the Legends story, a child gets lost in Cloud City and witnesses the famous duel between Vader and Luke, unbeknownst to them.

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Deena (while not a child) finds herself in the same situation and becomes privy to a chilling, albeit garbled, million credit conversation. I am a fan of those scenes that retroactively put new characters in the shadows of old famous scenes and while this collection has a ton of that; this is the only one that did it correctly. The collection has many stories that I feel “ruin” Star Wars by making the galaxy too “casual” and “Earth-like” in the dialogue and story structure. Nobody in Star Wars should ever use the expression ‘get laid’. Ever. I also feel a lot of the tales are silly and tell stories that don’t need to be told. Some are even from the point of view of non-sentient creatures who really should remain non-sentient. I never wanted a strange story from the point of view of a space slug. Space slugs (or Exogorths) are best left as just a cool addition to a Galactic menagerie.

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Verdict:

I was not thrilled with this collection. I did pick 4 other tales I like, yet the gap between them and The Witness is vast. I can’t rate this collection on an A-F scale as I feel it would not be fair but warning; be prepared to roll your eyes several times. The 4 runners up are in this order. A Good Kiss by C.B. Lee. The First Lesson by Jim Zub. For the Last Time by Beth Regis. Faith in an Old Friend by Brittany N. Williams.

 

From A Certain point Of View – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back by Seth Dickinson, Hank Green, R. F. Kuang, Martha Wells, and Kiersten White is published by Penguin Random House Books and is available to buy NOW!

 

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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter @MaxN2100 where he shares his love of the Force frequently!

 

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Editors Note | A big thank you to our friends at Penguin Random House for sending over our advance review copy.

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