Book Review: From A Certain Point Of View (Star Wars)

After watching The Last Jedi, I became more involved with the Star Wars universe as a whole. While there were many canon books released, there was no sure path to start. This year it started with the safest bet, which is From A Certain Point Of View.

Most of the Star Wars books talk about spaces of time in between movies or other timelines occurring during major events of the saga. In the case of From A Certain Point Of View, it tells the story of what happened in A New Hope from the eyes of different characters, many of them in the background. From the very beginning, this seems the kind of thought experiment I enjoy in fiction, so it made it all the more compelling.

The story of A New Hope is told with shorter stories from different people across the galaxy, from the Empire or the Rebel Alliance. There is a nice balance between the two groups, which makes it all the more interesting.

Gary Whitta kicks off the book with ‘Raymus’, where we understand the fear that Darth Vader could inflict on the Rebels. From there it all start mixing different stories, some even off screen, like is the case for ‘The Sith Of Datawork’, which gives sense to why the escape pod from C3PO and R2D2 was never bombed on their way to Tatooine.

From Aunt Beru to Qui Gon Jinn, each character starts shaping up the story of Episode 4 in a whole new way. Most of my favorite stories were the ones that happened off-screen of the movie, where we understand a moment that was mentioned in other parts of the saga (like the case of Claudia Gray’s Master and Apprentice) or whole moment that are just fun to think about ( like Tom Albgleberger’s Whills). Each perspective shapes up the story in such a way that you’ll never be able to watch the movie in the same way. You’ll have much more context and involvement with several characters present in the film.

For the fans of the Mos Eisley Cantina, there’s plenty of points of view up to the Greedo-Han Solo encounter. There are many witnesses to that event, so each character reflects on the situation. One of the most interesting stories is being written from the musician’s point of view, where it also gives more background to why their music is so delightful.

As the stories started to surround the attack of the Death Star, there’s a couple of stories that explain how many pilots saw Luke’s feat. Maybe one of the best stories of the book comes at the very end, where Lando Calrissian gets a surprise when he is informed that his beloved Millenium Falcon was a big piece of the puzzle to defeat the power of the Death Star.

For a person who has no involvement with the Canon books or the Expanded Universe of Star Wars, this book gave me enough surprises and great feelings that made me feel comfortable reading these books. The fact that each story is written by a different author gives you some rest, as maybe a writer’s style isn’t your taste and you will be able to hop on to the next story.

This book is great for anyone who loves Star Wars. It is also a great beginning to dip your toes into the Star Wars book. From A Certain Point Of View, as I mentioned earlier, gives you new context for A New Hope. With all these points of view in your head, watching the classic movie will be a whole different experience. And for a Star Wars fan, it is the right kind of experience you want from the beloved universe.

Book Review: Star Wars The Last Jedi Novelization

 

Ever since The Last Jedi popped into my eyes, I’ve been fascinated by everything Star Wars. Well on my way to watch Star Wars Rebels Season 3, several canon books being read and many audiobooks about the films, it has been a fascination of mine ever since. It didn’t make sense to me to read the novelization of a movie up until this year. I thought I should give it a try, and when Jason Fry mentioned of Han’s funeral being part of the novel, it got me hooked.

One of the main points of reading a novelization is that the internal struggles from several characters are better fleshed out. Simple, but important details are thrown in descriptions of the characters. This is the case for Jason Fry’s novelization of Rain Johnson’s script. It isn’t only a marketable repository of deleted scenes; it is a bible that makes you figure out many details that just have a few seconds of screen time.

This is a spoiler-filled review,so better prepare if you are expecting to read the book.

The very first lines of the book, suggesting that Luke has a wife, grabs your attention instantly. Not only is it a game changer, but it is also an important piece of information that sheds light on Luke’s current struggles. When the tables are turned, suggesting towards the end of the prologue that it had all been a dream, suggests even more from Luke. He’s dreaming of a normal, simple life on Tatooine. No Jedis, no Vader, no Leia. Just a farmer and his wife Camie. The dream shows that, even though he is seduced by this simple life, it wouldn’t have any meaning for him. His call for adventure is too strong for him to live that life.

Slowly we move on to the current struggle of the Resistance. Leia trying to make sense of the evacuation, mourning his beloved Han Solo. His funeral shows the difficulty of being General Leia Organa, stripped out of any normal life. This is a current theme in the book that maybe doesn’t show as strong in the film. Leia, Luke, Rey and Kylo struggle between a life they want and the life they are living.

In the first battle between the Resistance bombers and the First Order, the plot points are being described one by one, but the real tidbits that give a whole new heart to these scenes are the small conversations between Paige Tico and Rose. The sisters melt down your hearts even more by knowing their fate. Even though there is a book dedicated to some parts of the Tico’s backstory (titled Cobalt Squadron), Jason Fry gives us enough dialogue to care about these sisters.

As we move forward, we see Rey’s conflict by trying to explain to Luke how much she needs him. Even though there isn’t too much detail, the conversations between Kylo and Rey do have some interesting details. It is mentioned several times how Kylo can see Rey’s emotions, while Rey can tap into Kylo’s abilities with the Force.

There’s an interesting touch with Luke’s emotions when it is explained how he slowly connects with the Force and feels Leia’s presence, making a gentle throwback to The Empire Strikes Back.

In the novel, it is shown Luke’s third lesson, a deleted scene that has become my favorite of all. Its funny, but it states the point. The twist is enough to give Rey the sense that she needs to get rid of everything about the Jedi ways. If you still haven’t watched the scene on YouTube, please wait until you read it.

But where the character intentions really shine is in every moment when General Hux is being mentioned. We learn about his dad, who was an officer for the Empire, that defines his path. It is shown how much he wants to get rid of Kylo Ren and show the true power of his fleet. These details are great to see what Episode 9 could have in store. In The Last Jedi, the tension between Kylo and Hux is noticeable, but the novelization gives us actual reasons to care about the conflict.

And for those who think Holdo’s suicide plan was unnecessary and overkill, we learn that Poe was trying to jump into hyperspace, making this more of a collaborative plan. We learn about Holdo’s conflict on what to do, showing it wasn’t part of her plan to commit suicide to defend the Resistance. This debated plot point has more layers to it in the book, something that left many viewers dumbfounded in the movie.

As I expected, there wasn’t much of Snoke’s backstory and I’m glad about it. Still, it shows more about the Supreme Leader’s intentions and thoughts that make it more menacing and three-dimensional. There are many details about his relationship with Hux and Kylo, as well as his past and how he became the Supreme Leader of the First Order.

Overall, I highly suggest reading the novelization if you enjoyed The Last Jedi. It shows the struggle each character has with more detail and it informs the movie in an interesting way. What I’ve found is that these novelization and books give a new perspective to the movies, making it much more engaging if you want new takes on Star Wars. Jason Fry surpassed my expectations and showed me how a novelization could be as engaging and interesting as the movie that got me more involved with this galaxy from far, far away.