This review of Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View contains minor spoilers.
This year we observe the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars. To mark the occasion, 43 authors were recruited to write 40 stories celebrating the first film in the saga, A New Hope. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View is the result, and it’s a fitting homage to a film, story, and mythology beloved by fans young and old(er).
From a Certain Point of View tells the stories behind the various ancillary characters we meet in ANH, as well as exploring the hidden moments of more prominent characters such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Grand Moff Tarkin. It does more than that, though. It tells those stories in chronological order, picking up where Rogue One left off all the way through to the Throne Room finale. In some cases, our heroes (The Big Three) come into direct contact with these characters, but most of the time they are seen as from a distance. With each tale, the story of A New Hope unfolds in a deeper way than ever before. Having watched ANH on the heels of finishing this book, that is my honest assessment.
Due to the number and variety of authors involved, many of the stories reflect different genres. That gives From a Certain Point of View a broad appeal — There’s bound to be a story that speaks to every sort of reader. That’s one of the things that makes this book, and the idea behind it, so compelling.
To give you an idea of the breadth of characters this book encompasses, here are just a few that are given the spotlight:
• Doctor Aphra
• A Mouse Droid on the Death Star (Yes, that’s the one)
• Raymus Antilles
• The Muftak and Kabe
• Mon Mothma
• Lando Calrissian
• The Tonnika Sisters
• Members of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes
• The Dianoga
• Tusken Raiders
• “Fake Wedge”
• and many, many more
Intrigued? I will admit there were a few tales that fell flat for me, but that was bound to happen in a book with 40 to choose from. Some of the standouts for me took place on Tatooine, along with a smattering of other locales and characters throughout the rest of the book. A few actually moved me to tears; Qui-Gon Jinn communing with Obi-Wan in “Master and Apprentice” by Claudia Gray, and Bail and Breha Organa’s final moments on Alderaan in “Eclipse” by Madeleine Roux. There were those that made me smile; The modest dreams of R5-D4 in “The Red One” by Rae Carson, and a rather unique Jawa named Jot in “Stories in the Sand” by Griffin McElroy. “Far Too Remote” made me guffaw. A big thank you to Jeffrey Brown! I really needed that, and its placement is perfect.
I never guessed I needed more Beru Whitesun Lars, but thankfully Meg Cabot set me straight. Pierce Brown delivered Luke’s best friend, Biggs Darklighter, in the wonderfully melancholy “Desert Son.” Closing out the book, “The Whills” reminded me of some people I’ve encountered, and I’m guessing author Tom Angleberger felt the same.
Other notable authors who contributed to this book include Ian Doescher (“Palpatine”), Keiron Gillen (“The Trigger”), Pablo Hidalgo (“The Verge of Greatness”), John Jackson Miller (“Rites”), Gary Whitta (“Raymus”), Ashley Eckstein and E. K. Johnston (“By Whatever Sun”), Christie Golden (“The Bucket”), to name just a fraction. It is worth noting the authors forsook compensation. All monies were donated to First Book, a charitable organization that provides educational material to children in need.
While From a Certain Point of View is a celebration of A New Hope, there were call-backs to the prequel era, The Clone Wars, Rogue One, Star Wars Rebels, and the new canon being explored in both the novels and the Marvel comics. Even (No lie!) the infamous Holiday Special. There are also hints of what we know about the saga as it continues on past the destruction of the first Death Star. It makes one hope they will repeat this quality endeavor for the 40th anniversaries of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing a copy of this book for review purposes.