Book Review: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW

Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: yes - second anthology

Synopsis:

Book cover for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW: title above block image of yoda looking at swamp

On May 21, 1980, Star Wars became a true saga with the release of The Empire Strikes Back. In honor of the fortieth anniversary, forty storytellers re-create an iconic scene from The Empire Strikes Back through the eyes of a supporting character, from heroes and villains, to droids and creatures. From a Certain Point of View features contributions by bestselling authors and trendsetting artists:

Austin Walker explores the unlikely partnership of bounty hunters Dengar and IG-88 as they pursue Han Solo. Hank Green chronicles the life of a naturalist caring for tauntauns on the frozen world of Hoth. Tracy Deonn delves into the dark heart of the Dagobah cave where Luke confronts a terrifying vision. Martha Wells reveals the world of the Ugnaught clans who dwell in the depths of Cloud City. Mark Oshiro recounts the wampa’s tragic tale of loss and survival. Seth Dickinson interrogates the cost of serving a ruthless empire aboard the bridge of a doomed Imperial starship.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW is a collection of 40 stories that retells famous movie. What was really fun about this collection was that it often focused well beyond the actual story, with only a small link back. It was more like stories happening around the movie, than the movie retold. For example, only one story includes Vader’s reveal, and even then only half the line.

I’d expected that most of the stories would centre around the bounty hunters and Cloud City, which a fair number did, but I wasn’t expecting so many stories to be set on Hoth. I think it worked out at 20% set on Hoth. There was a massive breadth to these Hoth stories, but because the setting was the same and the general gist of where it was going (nearly all of them ended with Hoth falling), which did lead to a feeling of repetitiveness after the fifth story. Unfortunately, this meant I paid less attention to the final ones, even though they were some of the more unique ones – like Hank Green’s take (naturally, it was one of the quirkier ones!)

Of the Hoth stories, I liked the kitchen boy and PR person stories best. They really focused in on the heroism of ordinary people, how they are the overlooked ones who keep the rebellion ticking with acts of valour that get overlooked. It was a really nice theme, and was a nice ‘human-scale’ contrast to the epic story of the saga.

The Imperial tended to fall into one of two categories – either the leadership rationalising Vader’s violent response, or the lower ranks struggling with dissent and often choosing rebellion. There were a few outliers (namely the two about the asteroid field, which were the best imperial stories). The TIE pilot story was so funny, with an incredible voice that had me in fits.

I think my favourite story was the one about what the rebels were doing while the movie was following Luke, Leia, and Han. It very much had a “meanwhile, back at the rebel base…” feel, and filled in that gap in the story as well as showing what life with the rebels was like for more ordinary people (OK, the non-hero pilots). The only minor comment I had was that the character the Contessa invariably reminded me of the H.I.V.E. series, and so I kept wondering why a villainous mastermind was part of the Rebel Alliance!


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