Though most other Star Wars books published this year were written as build up to The Last Jedi, From a Certain Point of View sets itself apart, not only because it is a celebratory anniversary book, but because it focuses on events the reader already knows. This short story collection retells the original Star Wars movie from the perspective of characters with minimal (or no) screen time in the movie. Though many of the short stories were great reads for a Star Wars fan, these are the ones I consider the best:
“The Red One” by Rae Carson
R5-D4 is the droid Luke and his uncle almost bought instead of R2-D2. I never thought about R5 beyond his two seconds in the movie, but this story changed that. Not only did this story make R5 a sentient, hopeful creature to root for, but it provided characterization for R2 as well. “The Red One” is one of the few stories that adds to the overall emotional impact of A New Hope, instead of only adding an additional plot detail.
“Eclipse” by Madeleine Roux
Alderaan is my favorite Star Wars planet, and Bail & Breha Organa my favorite minor characters, so I appreciated that From a Certain Point of View included the final moments of all three. Even to the end, Bail and Breha retained hope for their daughter and the cause they support.
“There Is Another” by Gary D. Schmidt
This story focuses on Yoda, with a ghost Obi Wan appearing near the end. “There Is Another” acts more as an Empire Strikes Back prelude than it does a companion story for A New Hope for two reasons. The first being that Yoda isn’t in A New Hope, and the second being that this story sets up Yoda’s story arc by showing the roots of his reluctance toward training Luke. From a characterization standpoint, this is one of the most important stories in this book.
“The Sith of Datawork” by Ken Liu
In A New Hope, we see an Imperial (in this story, Bolvan) decide not to shoot down the escape pod containing R2-D2 and C-3PO. Arviva lists off data form after data form to help hide Bolvan’s mistake in a sea of bureaucratic red tape. Not much happened in this one, but I couldn’t help laughing at how effective paperwork was as a secret-keeping weapon.
“The Angle” by Charles Soule
In “The Angle” we see Lando Calrissian find out the Millennium Falcon, flown by Han Solo, played a part in the destruction of the Death Star. Needless to say, Lando is shocked—and emotional—over Han’s unexpected turn as a hero.
“Laina” by Wil Wheaton
Ryland films a good-bye tape for his daughter, who he hopes to send to safety away from the inevitable Rebel Alliance/Empire showdown. It has a very unfortunate ending…