From a Certain Point of View, Part I

     From a Certain Point of View is SOOO good that I couldn't help but go ahead and post on it. I'll probably end up doing 5 posts total covering the whole book with about 8 short stories reviewed in each post. This book is amazing! The premise is 40 short stories total that chronologically tell the story of A New Hope from the points of view of minor or even undisclosed characters. It is brilliantly done with several stories so far that have brought me to tears. I can't say enough about how much I am enjoying this book. On to the short stories:

     "Raymus" by Gary Whitta seamlessly spans the small gap between Rogue One and A New Hope. It focuses on Captain Raymus Antilles of the Tantive IV and even begins with the moment he asks Princess Leia, "What is it they've sent us?" and she responds, "Hope." Ahhh!!! I love it!
     It turns out Captain Antilles is not the father of Wedge but instead of two young daughters. I was surprised by this and wonder if maybe they are related another way...or perhaps not at all.
     The Tantive IV is badly damaged from being connected to the Profundity when that capital ship went down. Every system is on the fritz and the hyperdrive is barely hanging on.
     Apparently, the Tantive IV was on a diplomatic mission to Tatooine before they got their reroute to Scarif for the big battle. So cool! And adds even more depth to Leia's stubbornness when Vader interrogates her.
     This is a heartfelt piece as Antilles considers all the options for saving his princess and shows his determination and drive to protect the Rebellion at all costs. It isn't until at least halfway through the story that he discovers they have actually received the plans for the Death Star and realizes just how important their mission is.

     "The Bucket" by Christie Golden tells the story of the trooper who walked up to Leia and said, "She'll be alright" after she got stunned on the Tantive IV. Apparently he's not so fond of killing but still holds great pride in being part of Vader's personal legion of troops - "Vader's fist."
     He likes being able to hide behind his helmet or "bucket" because it helps him disguise his feelings and reactions - his pale skin turns red with strong emotions. When he comes face-to-face with Leia, he realizes all she sees is the bucket on his head and not the man beneath. He understands that she sees him as part of the faceless hoard of the Empire and not a human being. He finds it unfair he has to see her exposed and strong and brave and human while he remains masked--so he does something about it at the last minute before she gets carried away.
     This is a powerful tale of what war truly means and how dehumanizing it can become. And so cool that we get into the head of one of the stormtroopers involved in Leia's capture.

     "The Sith of Datawork" by Ken Liu is a funny story revolving around the gunnery officer who let the escape pod with C-3PO and R2-D2 go because there were no life form readings. Apparently a new law had been put in place that gave promotions based on kill shots and there would be no kill shot associated with this particular escape pod, so he let it go. But then he becomes anxious when Vader hasn't found the plans on the Tantive IV and worries the plans are in fact inside the escape pod. To keep himself in the clear he goes to the fleet logistics liaison of his Imperial Star Destroyer and requests forms to help him cover up the mishap.
     A myriad number of forms are detailed involving window-washing, manifest requests, operational suggestions to bypass the chain of command, and more. Some of them had hysterical names and the fleet logistics liaison himself was a pretty funny guy.
     I never wondered what happened to the guy who didn't shoot down the escape pod but now I'm glad I know. After the previous two more serious tales, this was a light breath of air.

     "Stories in the Sand" by Griffin McElroy is an adorable story about a Jawa named Jot who discovers a hologram projector he names "Storyteller." He's able to play memory cores from droids on it and watch all their glorious exploits before he wipes the cores for re-inserting into the droids for sale. He comes across one memory core in particular that dazzles him--there are men with fire swords! He realizes its import despite not understanding a word of the languages spoken. The tales he sees are wonderful glimpses down memory lane through the prequels and I was delighted!
     What will little (he's literally the smallest Jawa of all) Jot do with this newfound information? Will he do his job or will he play a hand in saving the galaxy?

     "Reirin" by Sabaa Tahir was probably my least favorite out of these first 8 stories but it was still quite good. We get the story of a Tusken female who is sick of doing her womanly duties as a "Raider" and wants more. She's desperate to get off planet and the only way to do that is to retrieve a special artifact from the Jawas...the Jawas that, at the moment she's ready to pounce, are selling droids to Owen and Luke!
     She finds what she's looking for and it calls to her in a strange ethereal way. She assumes this must be how most raiders feel in connection to their Banthas...something she has never felt before. But she has to give up the artifact to a trader who has promised her passage offworld if she does so. What will she do?

     "The Red One" by Rae Carson was one of the stories that definitely made me tear up. We get into the head of R5-D4 both before and after R2-D2 enters the sandcrawler. The poor thing has been on the massive mining vehicle for going on 4 years and is desperate to find a new master of his own who will take care of him and who he can serve. Then he meets R2-D2 just as the little droid is attempting to sabotage him in honor of his mission. They speak together in binary and R2 makes it very clear he has a job to do to help save the galaxy. R5 doesn't believe him and pretty much thinks he's gone nuts.      But will his beliefs change? Will he see the importance of R2's mission? What form might that belief take? The ending of this story is a heartwrencher.

     "Rites" by John Jackson Miller is first of all written by one of my favorite authors of all time, and second of all is a wonderful story once again telling us more about a character we otherwise probably wouldn't have thought much about at all. A'Koba is the Tusken Raider who attacks Luke as he stops R2 rolling through the desert on his way to Obi-Wan. Apparently, A'Koba is just a youth in the tribe who recently overcame the rites of adulthood--the day before. When A'Koba notices a droid is making its way through the desert at night, he is determined to follow it and capture the loot that inevitably must follow. But A'Yark, the tribe's chieftain, warns him against the shaman in the desert.        Why are the Tuskens so afraid when Obi-Wan makes that roaring noise at them? Find out in this youthful tale of exuberance and determination.

     "Master and Apprentice" by Claudia Gray!!! Another one of my favorite authors of all time and an awesome person to meet face-to-face. Here we get a deeper look into the moments when Obi-Wan is waiting by the burning sandcrawler and Luke has gone off to check on his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Apparently he spends those moments speaking to Qui-Gon! We all know that Obi-Wan learned his ability to be a Force ghost from Qui-Gon and this shows how. They have been talking on and off for the past 20 years through the Force and Qui-Gon is very proud of his old Padawan. Qui-Gon thinks about all the terrible things Obi-Wan has endured and even mentions the death of Satine!! Yay for canon connections!
     I love this interaction:
Obi-Wan: "There may be Imperial stormtroopers waiting for Luke at the Lars farm. If so--"
Qui-Gon: "Then you will rescue him. [...] Or he may rescue himself. Or the sister will find the brother instead."
Qui-Gon knows so much more than he lets on to Obi-Wan and I yearn for a story about the two of them after both have entered the afterlife.
     They also discuss Anakin and his fall to the Dark Side and if they are at fault for his demise. Qui-Gon even comforts Obi-Wan as he is in agreement on not telling the full story about Anakin/Vader to Luke so early in the boy's journey. I liked how they explained this and showed it as the most appropriate choice given the circumstances. Makes me feel better about the situation too!
     All in all, this story was beautiful with hints of the prequels, Qui-Gon's steadfast voice, and Obi-Wan's re-taking on the mantle of young learner in the presence of his old master. Quite enjoyable.

I can't wait to continue reading this wonderful collection of tales that tell A New Hope from A Certain Point of View...


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