Review: From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back (edited by Elizabeth Schaefer)

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goodreads

ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When I read the first anthology, I knew I will be going for the others if I get the chance. I loved the idea of Star Wars seen from the POV of minor, unimportant characters, I especially hoped for more Stormtrooper (or better, imperial guard) POVs.

Unfortunately, even accounting for the fact that whatever anthology you take, not all the stories are going to be good, this one still felt lackluster in comparison.

My favourite stories were:

  • A Naturalist on Hoth by Hank Green, which is exactly what the title says it is. I loved his compassion for the non-human species.
  • The Final Order by Seth Dickinson: Just really well written.
  • Amara Kel’s Rules for Tie Pilot’s Survival (Probably) by Django Wexler – it’s hilarious, it has a good structure, and it’s gay. What else could I want???
  • There Is No Cave by Catherynne M. Valente, beautifully written (of course, it’s Valente) and made me empathise with a space worm. Incredible.

Compared with the previous anthology, where I highlighted 11 stories, this is a lot fewer. Especially considering that I found most of the rest aggressively mediocre and unmemorable. Not all, there were a few 4s and 4.5s, but most. Structurally, the collection doesn’t do that good of a job either. Far, far too much time is spent on Hoth and it felt like the story won’t move on at all, then later on, it stalled again in Cloud City.

Is it because it’s been a while since I saw the movie and my memory is hazy? Because I’m not as obsessively into Star Wars as I was then? Maybe. But I do feel like the first anthology had more…charm. In addition to the usual suspects, you had Yawas, you had multiple funny Stormtrooper stories, you had the alien with the long snoot, the cantina band, you had the fucking mouse droid. This is mostly just a lot of minor officers and in comparison it’s…boring. I feel like they meld together a lot more.

However, I will probably still read the next one.

Enjoyment: 3/5
Execution: 3/5

Recommended to: hardcore Star Wars fans
Not recommended to: those who don’t feel like slogging through a vast amount of meh stories to get to the few good ones

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