Recently, an anthology book honoring The Clone Wars was released, Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark! This book features eleven different stories by eleven different authors, with most of them re-telling stories from the show from different points of view.
One of the stories is a new one, however, and is based on the Nightsisters stories. The other ten are re-tellings of other stories.
Jason Fry writes from Yoda‘s point of view during his mission with the clones to Toydaria.
Lou Anders tells the story of Count Dooku‘s capture at the hands of Hondo Ohnaka’s pirates, all from the Count’s point of view.
Preeti Chhibber takes the voice of Anakin Skywalker, writing about when the Senate building (and Padmé Amidala) is taken captive by Cad Bane and his bounty hunters.
Writing from Padmé‘s point of view, Anne Ursu tells of the Seantor’s fight to veto a bill producing more troops for the Republic.
Yoon Ha Lee tackles the story of the crisis on Umbara with General Pong Krell, telling things from the perspective of Captain Rex.
Cad Bane then gets his turn to tell a story, as Tom Angleberger writes of the plot to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine that was thwarted by an undercover Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Zoraida Córdova writes from Asajj Ventress‘s perspective as she takes on a mission with Boba Fett and other bounty hunters.
Rebecca Roanhorse writes about a former Sith Lord’s quest for revenge, as Maul tells of his survival and lust to get even with Kenobi.
Sarah Beth Durst writes from the voice Katooni, one of the young Jedi padawans who travels with Ahsoka Tano on a quest to build their lightsabers, but come into some trouble.
Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s perspective is heard as well, as Greg van Eekhout writes of the fateful events on Mandalore as Kenobi tries to rescue Satine.
And finally, a brand new story from E. Anne Convery, entitled “Bug,” tells the story of a young girl named Bug who hears the story of a Dathomirian witch named Falta who used her magick to create life rather than take it away. Her creation, a daughter named Yenna. Her daughter was taken away by Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters, but following the Separatist elimination of the Nightsisters, Falta discovers that Yenna was sent off-world. The story ends with Bug wanting to travel with Falta in search of Yenna, to explore the galaxy.
This final story was especially intriguing to me, since it told a story that we’ve not heard before. It was interesting to read of a Dathomirian witch who wasn’t a Nightsister, speaking to the fact that there are multiple magick users on the planet. It also was a nice twist to have Falta concerned with giving life, which is a contrast to the Nightsisters. This is the first Star Wars project for Convery, who tells this story brilliantly, but she’s quite familiar with the universe: not only is she a Star Wars fan, but she’s also married to Dave Filoni. It’s very cool to have her telling a brand new, original Clone Wars story!
In many ways, that’s what I wish this book did more of, as it seems like this would have been a brilliant opportunity to tell several stories from this era we’ve never heard before. Instead, we mostly get re-tellings of stories we’re already familiar with. That works out fine and is a cool tribute, but I wish they would have taken this opportunity to tell other stories (like, for instance, some of the already-planned arcs that didn’t wind up being made). That would have taken this book to another level.
For what it is, though, it’s certainly a fun and enjoyable read. And there are some details mixed in that add to our understanding of these things.
Firstly, simply by way of telling these stories from different points of view, we get some fun tidbits. For instance, Count Dooku is re-telling this story to a holorecording, intending to share it with his master until he thinks better of it. Or Cad Bane is telling the story to Boba Fett and Bossk while back in prison. Things like that make it a bit fun.
Secondly, it allows the opportunity to fill in some gaps. The most notable example comes in the story “Kenobi’s Shadow” by Greg van Eekhout (my favorite of the re-tellings by far). Here, as Obi-Wan defies the Council’s decision to note get involved on Mandalore, we actually read about him planning to leave, and Anakin showing up and offering first his company and then second his ship. It also features a pretty blunt conversation between Kenobi and Skywalker about Padmé, as Obi-Wan recognizes that Padmé told Anakin about the mission, and Anakin begins comparing his concern for Padmé with Obi-Wan’s concern for Satine. It’s very clear that both of them know about each other’s loves. And then as Kenobi returns following the tragedy on Mandalore, Anakin is there to greet him, and offers his master his presence during the report to the Council. But another example of this comes as we actually learn how Anakin came to be captured aboard Dooku’s ship in the story “Dooku Captured,” as Anakin’s ship was set adrift, brought onto the ship, and then Anakin put up a fight before being captured.
And thirdly, it does add a few new intriguing details. One notable example of this is when Yoda senses the futures of the three clones he travels with and sees their action during Order 66. Obviously Yoda doesn’t realize what he’s seeing at the time, but it’s interesting that he had a vision of it.
So if you’re a fan of The Clone Wars, you’ll absolutely enjoy this book. I was hoping for a bit more from Maul’s story, specifically as to how he survived (conveniently, he says he doesn’t really remember), but if you go in not really expecting a whole of new information, you’ll enjoy this re-telling of familiar stories from a fresh perspective. This is far from an essential read, as you won’t really miss much of significance if you skip this one, but if you love the show and love the characters you’ll enjoy this fun tribute book.
My grade: 7.5/10