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review 2020-08-26 06:40
Bluninja's Review
Star Wars The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark - Greg Van Eekhout,Jason Fry,Lou Anders,Yoon Ha Lee,Sarah Beth Durst,Anne Ursu,Tom Angleberger,Zoraida Córdova,Rebecca Roanhorse,Preeti Chhibber,E. Anne Convery

Children's Fiction ~

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark

 

Review by: Bluninja29

 

Opening Thoughts:

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark is a collection of stories based off the TV show Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2003 TV series.) It has 11 Short Stories all based off episodes from the TV show. with more view points that we didn't get to see in the show. One of the Short stories im are gonna look at is about Count Dooku.

 

Story:

Count Dooku was surprised attacked by the Republic.

 

Presentation:

I do like how these are in the characters point of view like Count Dooku. I also like how all the stories are based off the show. What I didn't like is how these are short stories, but it is a nitpick so I won't get crazy over it. I honestly liked this book.

If you are a star wars nerd or want to give your kid a star wars book to read. then this is the book for you!


4/5

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-08-17 01:46
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View
Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View - Paul Kemp

A short story anthology celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope, featuring 40 stories about the events of the film told from different perspectives. Overall I really liked it, even though I’m a raging pedant and there were some inconsistencies between stories. It’s all true from a certain point of view, after all.

 

  1. RAYMUS by Gary Whitta: An okay story about the Tantive IV’s flight to Tatooine.
  2. THE BUCKET by Christie Golden: A kind of boring, pointless story about one of the Stormtroopers who apprehends Leia having a tiny pang of conscience.
  3. THE SITH OF DATAWORK by Ken Liu: An amusing story about an Imperial paper pusher using bureaucratic kung fu to help the guy who didn’t fire on the escape pod avoid summary execution for incompetence.
  4. STORIES IN THE SAND by Griffin McElroy: A freaking delightful story about Jot, one of the Jawas on the sandcrawler that picks up C-3PO and R2-D2. In my head-canon, he makes it to a spaceport before the Stormtroopers torch the sandcrawler, joins the crew of a freighter or something, and has a sweet life of adventures like he dreamed of.
  5. REIRIN by Sabaa Tahir: An okay story about an apparently Force-sensitive teenage sand people girl (I think?) tasked by some shady character with stealing a kyber crystal from Jot’s sandcrawler. In my head-canon, she keeps the crystal and she and Jot make it off Tatooine on the same ship and have adventures together.
  6. THE RED ONE by Rae Carson: A freaking delightful story about the real hero of the Rebel Alliance, R5-D4, the little red droid with the “bad motivator.” Spoiler: He survives the Stormtroopers and rolls off into the desert to have adventures. YAY.
  7. RITES by John Jackson Miller: A kind of boring story about the sand people who ambush Luke on his way to Obi-Wan’s hut. I did like the nod to the sand people village Anakin Skywalker slaughtered. Nice touch.
  8. MASTER AND APPRENTICE by Claudia Gray: A meh story about Force Ghost Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan having a chat, and the first Star Wars offering by Gray that I didn’t like. Sadness.
  9. BERU WHITSUN LARS by Meg Cabot: Ghost Beru muses on her place in Luke’s life after her violent and fiery death. Sadly, it’s pretty meh. Beru deserves better.
  10. THE LUCKLESS RODIAN by Renée Ahdieh: An okay story about the Han-Greedo cantina confrontation from Greedo’s perspective.
  11. NOT FOR NOTHING by Mur Lafferty: A hilarious story about the cantina band presented as a chapter from the memoir of a band member.
  12. WE DON’T SERVE YOUR KIND HERE by Chuck Wendig: The events in the cantina from the bartender’s perspective. It was dull and I still freaking hate Wendig’s writing style.
  13. THE KLOO HORN CANTINA CAPER by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction: Mildly amusing tale of cantina patron shenanigans that went on WAY TOO LONG and written in a style that was only cute for the first few pages.
  14. ADDED MUSCLE by Paul Dini: That horrible added Jabba-in-the-docking-bay scene from Boba Fett’s point of view. Meh.
  15. YOU OWE ME A RIDE by Zoraida Córdova: An okay story about two bounty hunter (?) sisters who think about stealing Han’s ship but miss their chance. The writing was good, but I don’t remember these characters in the background and it just felt a little random. I’ll have to look for them on my next rewatch.
  16. THE SECRETS OF LONG SNOOT by Delilah S. Dawson: The events in the cantina from the perspective of Long Snoot, who is apparently a super spy who resents being duped by the empire. I like Dawson’s writing, but the story is just okay.
  17. BORN IN THE STORM by Daniel José Older: The best account of all the Mos Eisley antics from the perspective of a Stormtrooper who has HAD IT with pretty much everything and just wants to ride off into the double sunset on a noble dewback. I freaking loved it.
  18. LAINA by Wil Wheaton: I saw Wil Wheaton and expected humor, so it’s on me and my unfounded expectations for not liking this account of a Rebel dad on Yavin 4 sending his baby girl to safety on . . . Alderaan. Shut up, Westley.
  19. FULLY OPERATIONAL by Beth Revis: That command staff meeting on the Death Star from General Tagge’s point of view. Calling it meh because it’s completely unmemorable. Revis has yet to wow me.
  20. AN INCIDENT REPORT by Mallory Ortberg: It’s Admiral Motti’s written complaint re: the staff meeting Force-choking incident. The best part was Motti insisting that thinking the Force is woo woo rubbish doesn’t make him a bigot. Otherwise it was pretty dull.
  21. CHANGE OF HEART by Elizabeth Wein: Another “Stormtrooper has a change of heart after encountering Leia” story from a Death Star trooper this time. What makes it even worse than the first one is the second-person-past-tense writing. What a choice. Ugh.
  22. ECLIPSE by Madeleine Roux: A heartbreaking account of the destruction of Alderaan from Queen Breha’s point of view. I freaking loved it, ugh, it destroyed me.
  23. VERGE OF GREATNESS by Pablo Hidalgo: Tarkin’s view of the events on Scariff and the destruction of Alderaan, with a quick paragraph from Krennic’s POV on Scariff. It wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t memorable.
  24. FAR TOO REMOTE by Jeffery Brown: A funny cartoon panel depicting the Imperials looking for the Rebel base on Dantooine.
  25. THE TRIGGER by Kieron Gillen: Doctor Aphra gets caught trying to strip the abandoned Dantooine base for salvage, then has to avoid execution by a baby-faced Stormtrooper. My first experience with the character, and I liked it.
  26. OF MSE-6 AND MEN by Glen Weldon: The true story behind what that mouse droid was doing in the corridors of the Death Star. Apparently it was ferrying messages between a lowly yet gorgeous Stormtrooper and an unnamed official with Alpha One security clearance. I really enjoyed it, but I have mixed feelings about implying Tarkin was gay. Ye olde “gay-code the villain” trope is not my favorite.
  27. BUMP by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker: That Stormtrooper who got Force persuaded by Obi-Wan in Mos Eisley (these are not the droids you’re looking for) gets back on the Death Star and realizes he has made a Terrible Mistake. I liked it.
  28. END OF WATCH by Adam Christopher: An okay story about a tired administrator who is only too happy to hand over the headaches in Docking Bay 327 and Detention Block AA-23 at the end of her shift.
  29. THE BAPTIST by Nnedi Okorafor: A surprising story about the Thing in the trash compactor that nearly drowned Luke. She was Force sensitive! And she had a Purpose! And I freaking love her!
  30. TIME OF DEATH by Cavan Scott: Obi-Wan sees visions of the past during? after? his confrontation with Vader. I liked this one despite my confusion.
  31. THERE IS ANOTHER by Gary D. Schmidt: Yoda bides his time on Dagobah and dreams of training Leia as a Jedi, not that angry, impulsive Luke. It’s too late to train him. Too much like his father, he is.
  32. PALPATINE by Ian Doescher: Doescher doing what Doescher does, i.e. a speech by the Emperor, Shakespeare style. It was okay, but Doescher is better and funnier and clever . . . er when he’s working from someone else’s script.
  33. SPARKS by Paul S. Kemp: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of Dex, one of the Rebel pilots who blows up. (Spoilers.) It was okay, but not terribly memorable.
  34. DUTY ROSTER by Jason Fry: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of a pilot who didn’t get to fly due to a shortage of functioning fighters. Slightly more memorable than Sparks.
  35. DESERT SON by Pierce Brown: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of Biggs. I already have trouble separating this one in my mind from Sparks. Biggs knew Luke from before and lasted longer than Dex. That’s about it.
  36. GROUNDED by Greg Rucka: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of the Rebels’ chief mechanic. Slightly heartbreaking look at the ones left behind, WAY more effective than Duty Roster.
  37. CONTINGENCY PLAN by Alexander Freed: Not my favorite thing by Freed. It’s basically Mon Mothma agonizing over everything while trying to make sure the Rebellion still has a future if she dies.
  38. THE ANGLE by Charles Soule: Lando Calrissian finds out Han Solo took his beloved Falcon into battle against the Death Star. I freaking loved it. Soule really caught the essence of Lando.
  39. BY WHATEVER SUN by E.K. Johnston and Ashley Eckstein: A character from Johnston’s Ahsoka novel reflects on her time in the Rebellion during the medal ceremony. I really liked it, and it was nice to see a familiar character from novel canon.
  40. WHILLS by Tom Angleberger: A freaking hilarious account of the Whills bickering over the text crawl for Episode IV. I loved it, especially the Star Wars Holiday Special reference.
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text 2020-07-03 00:13
Mythical Girls
Mythical Girls - Alex McGilvery Mythical Girls is a short story collection that focuses around what happens when girls are given control of mythical objects. With eleven stories total, there is a good variety of stories, objects, and characters. With any anthology, there were stories that I liked more than others and some that I disliked. Luckily, I really enjoyed most of the stories in this anthology. The book started out strong with Daybreak where Queen Rajakumari takes leadership of a kingdom after the King dies. The writing quickly sets the scene and allowed me to get to know Queen Rajakumari and what she was up against. I loved how she didn't take crap and used the other Queens as allies instead of enemies. This was definitely a story that I wanted to stay in longer. Another story I enjoyed was An Unexpected Weapon. I have read other stories by this author and with the same characters that are in this short, so I really enjoyed being with the characters again and seeing them gain confidence in a new situation. The Witch's Staff is also a story I enjoyed, incorporating fun otherworldly characters and a great message about bullying and forgiveness in two different worlds. The Rishika of the Manika was another great story. I really enjoyed the fantasy elements and the mythical object. The lessons in power, leadership and getting what you wish for are very strong. Most of the stories are aimed at Middle Grade readers, however some seem more appropriate for young adult or even new adult readers. I love the idea of giving girls the power of all of these mythical objects that are generally controlled by by men and seeing the choices that they make. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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text 2020-07-02 12:40
Mythical Girls
Mythical Girls - Alex McGilvery Mythical Girls is a short story collection that focuses around what happens when girls are given control of mythical objects. With eleven stories total, there is a good variety of stories, objects, and characters. With any anthology, there were stories that I liked more than others and some that I disliked. Luckily, I really enjoyed most of the stories in this anthology. The book started out strong with Daybreak where Queen Rajakumari takes leadership of a kingdom after the King dies. The writing quickly sets the scene and allowed me to get to know Queen Rajakumari and what she was up against. I loved how she didn't take crap and used the other Queens as allies instead of enemies. This was definitely a story that I wanted to stay in longer. Another story I enjoyed was An Unexpected Weapon. I have read other stories by this author and with the same characters that are in this short, so I really enjoyed being with the characters again and seeing them gain confidence in a new situation. The Witch's Staff is also a story I enjoyed, incorporating fun otherworldly characters and a great message about bullying and forgiveness in two different worlds. The Rishika of the Manika was another great story. I really enjoyed the fantasy elements and the mythical object. The lessons in power, leadership and getting what you wish for are very strong. Most of the stories are aimed at Middle Grade readers, however some seem more appropriate for young adult or even new adult readers. I love the idea of giving girls the power of all of these mythical objects that are generally controlled by by men and seeing the choices that they make. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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review 2020-06-19 21:46
The Best American Short Stories 2019, compiled by Anthony Doerr
The Best American Short Stories 2019 - Anthony Doerr

This is my first year reading the Best American Short Stories, after having gotten more into short stories over the last few years. I am not a fan of multi-author anthologies, finding them impossible to “get into” when each new story is like starting a new book, and that’s particularly true here, where there is no unifying theme. From reading a number of both brief and in-depth reviews of this collection and its stories, I have the sense this year wasn’t the best for this series. Many readers only connected with a couple of the stories, though Doerr must have done something right in selecting them when readers’ favorites seem to vary so widely. Looking through the top reviews on this page shows that while most readers only really liked a third or fewer of the stories, almost every story made somebody’s shortlist, with little consistency in which were the favorites. For me the only two standouts are “Letter of Apology” by Maria Reva and “Omakase” by Weike Wang, but I liked these enough that I now plan to read the authors’ books.

So, a rundown in order of appearance:

“The Era” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah: The collection begins with a dystopian tale about a world in which kindness and human connection are despised, and the resulting hole is filled with constant injections of drugs. All this I think is astute commentary on certain trends in our society, but I found other elements – like the genetic engineering that sometimes goes wrong and gives people only one personality trait – rather less relevant, and like many insecure sci-fi stories, this one spends way too much time talking about why their values aren’t our values and how our world became theirs. It’s as if we went around talking about the Renaissance all the time and why we aren’t like those people; I’m not buying.

“Natural Light” by Kathleen Alcott: This is perhaps the most literary and best-written story in the collection, about a woman in her 30s who discovers something new about her deceased mother. I admire the author’s skill a lot, but her subject matter was too run-of-the-mill to interest me in reading more, and I still can’t figure out the ending; the last couple of sentences just seem like word salad to me. The story made more sense once

I figured out that the random interjections were the narrator’s intrusive thoughts of suicide methods. The contents of the photograph, meanwhile, seemed obvious to me: the mother was receiving oral sex with drug paraphernalia scattered around, yes?

(spoiler show)


“The Great Interruption” by Wendell Berry: An entertaining boyhood escapade turns into a local legend, which is then used to comment on the demise of local culture in America. A well-written story, though Berry’s nostalgia for the rural America of yore is steeped in white male privilege, which though not acknowledged becomes visible at one point when the females privileged to hear the original story are referred to as the “housewives and big girls” of the community (it contained no other adult women).

“No More Than a Bubble” by Jamel Brinkley: Two college boys crash a party with the goal of hooking up with a pair of slightly older women, and wind up way out of their depth. It’s a vividly told tale but I didn’t really know what to make of this one. The problematic aspects of the boys’ sexuality are clearly acknowledged, but I didn’t know how to reconcile Ben’s

telling us that he learned the most important lesson of his life from all this with his still being alone and confused many years later, i.e., at exactly the same place his father’s view of women, which the young Ben adopted unquestioningly, led his father to end up.

(spoiler show)


“The Third Tower” by Deborah Eisenberg: In a vaguely-sketched dystopian world, the medical system tries to stamp out the creativity and possibly repressed memories of government-sponsored horror from the mind of a young woman. This one was a little too on-the-nose for me, and Therese’s gullibility and eager compliance made it harder for me to have strong feelings about what was being done to her.

“Hellion” by Julia Elliott: An adolescent girl in rural South Carolina befriends a visiting boy, and unfortunate consequences follow from their actions. It’s sweet enough I suppose, but what Doerr cites as its exuberance and courage, for me was just over-the-top in a way that seems almost careless: the character referred to as having grown up “before the Civil War” early enough in the story that we don’t yet realize this isn’t meant literally (it’s set in the 1980s or thereabouts); the young female narrator going off on a sudden tangent about people killing the planet when she’d never before mentioned an interest in science or ecology and again, it’s the 1980s. It all felt a bit haphazard to me, and the grounding in serious questions about whether this girl has a shot at a fulfilling life wasn’t quite enough to draw it back.

“Bronze” by Jeffrey Eugenides: A gender-nonconforming freshman meets an older gay man on the train home to college from New York, and has to finally decide whether he’s actually gay and if not, whether his self-expression is worth letting people read him that way. Interesting enough but didn’t do much for me, though I did find it interesting that Eugenides developed the older man, who without getting a point-of-view would have just been a standard creep.

“Protozoa” by Ella Martinsen Gorham: A 14-year-old girl tries to establish her self-identity in both the real and virtual worlds. Doerr perhaps sells this one short by calling it a cautionary tale about the amount of investment teens put into their online lives; in many ways Noa seems to live more in the real world than a lot of teens (she interacts with quite a few people in real life over the course of the story), and I found myself thinking that the cautionary message might have been sent more effectively. But I’m not sure the author actually intended the story as anything so simple: what might have been portrayed as traumatizing cyberbullying in another story, Noa seems perfectly well-equipped to handle and even in some ways to welcome, while her real story is about trying to establish herself as someone darker and edgier.

“Seeing Ershadi” by Nicole Krauss: A dancer and her friend both attribute newfound motivation to leave bad situations to visions of actor Homayoun Ershadi. This one didn’t really do anything for me. It seems to have a hole at its center: we hear a lot about the plot of the Iranian film Taste of Cherry, and a lot about the narrator’s friend’s life, while the narrator’s own life and decisions are sidelined. It is sweet though that according to the author’s note at the end, Ershadi read and was touched by the story at a difficult point in his own life.

“Pity and Shame” by Ursula Le Guin: An outcast young woman in a late 19th century California mining town cares for a lonely mine engineer injured in an accident, and the two of them and a doctor all form a bond. A sweet story but not one that leaves the reader with much to think about, despite the author’s legendary status.

“Anyone Can Do It” by Manual Muñoz: A young mother struggles to figure out how to pay the bills when her husband, along with other farmworkers, is suddenly snatched by immigration. Timely, certainly, though set in the 1980s rather than the present, and the author adds some complexity in that, for instance, Delfina doesn’t actually seem to like or miss her husband much. But she was a bit of a hollow character that was hard for me to root for, and

I was a little disturbed by the way the theft of her car was foreshadowed by her allowing her 4-year-old son to shoplift a toy car. It seems to me that she’s allowing her son to grow up into exactly the kind of person who took advantage of her.

(spoiler show)


“The Plan” by Sigrid Nunez: Inside the mind of a killer. Interesting enough, but didn’t do much for me.

“Letter of Apology” by Maria Reva: In late Soviet Ukraine, a KGB agent is required to extract a letter of apology from a renowned poet for making a political joke. The agent, who narrates the story, is in denial about certain aspects of his own life, leading him to wildly misinterpret the behavior of the poet’s wife. I loved this one: there’s a ton of humor in the contrast between the dread image of the KGB and the reality of the bumbling and confused Mikhail, as well as the absurdities of the system as a whole. The whole story is full of dark humor and the changes wrought in both Mikhail and Milena seemed very real and sympathetic to me. I was excited to find that the author has also published this as part of a whole collection of linked short stories.

“Black Corfu” by Karen Russell: On a Croatian island in 1620, ruled at the time from Venice, a black man wanted to be a doctor but is permitted only to cut the hamstrings of the dead, meant to prevent them from rising again as less-violent zombies, known as vukodlak. He’s falsely accused of botching a procedure – or is the accusation really false? This was my first exposure to an author who’s gotten a lot of buzz lately, and the story hits a lot of buttons in terms of racial prejudice and glass ceilings, but didn’t actually work well for me.

“Audition” by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh: A young man who wants to be an actor instead, for unspecified reasons, works on construction sites owned by his father, a real estate developer, and seems to be falling under the spell of crack. This didn’t do much for me.

“Natural Disasters” by Alexis Schaitkin: A young New Yorker moves to Oklahoma with her husband, where she takes a job writing descriptions of houses for sale and tries to fit everything that happens into some meaningful narrative of her life. I enjoyed the narrator’s voice, her obvious pretention and her adult awareness of it when telling the story from the vantage point of many years later, but I was underwhelmed and unconvinced by the “big event.”

Really, at age 24 it’s this earth-shattering moment for her to hear that some guy’s brother died meaninglessly?

(spoiler show)


“Our Day of Grace” by Jim Shepard: An epistolary story about the American Civil War: two southern women write letters to two Confederate soldiers, one of whom writes back. The letters are credible enough but the Civil War has also been pretty well done to death as a setting, and in my view this didn’t do anything new or exciting.

“Wrong Object” by Mona Simpson: A therapist treats a man who at first seems boring, but then reveals that he only experiences sexual attraction to adolescent girls, though he insists he’s never acted upon it. This is interesting, but perhaps too short for me. I would have liked to know a little more about the therapist’s life, which is only vaguely hinted at, and to have seen the consequences at the end developed a little more. But the existence of people seeking treatment for pedophilia who have never acted on their urges was not new information to me, which may have blunted my reaction to the story.

“They Told Us Not To Say This” by Jenn Alandy Trahan: Blink and you’ll miss this 7-page story, told in the first person plural about a group of second-generation Filipina-American girls who are second-class in their families but find empowerment on the basketball court. This is the one story no reviewer seems to have highlighted as a favorite, and I can see why not.

“Omakase” by Weike Wang: A Chinese-American woman in her late 30s goes out for omakase (in Japanese, “I’ll leave it up to you”; in restaurants, sushi selected by the chef) with her white boyfriend, who increasingly shows his obliviousness about racial issues and his dismissive and condescending attitude toward her, despite the fact that she’s the one to do most of the sacrificing and pay most of the bills in their relationship. It’s interesting to see the widely varied responses that reviewers have had, some feeling that all the ways in which the woman is marginalized and put down in the world and within her own relationship to be too stereotypical, while others seem to take the boyfriend’s opinions at face value and view her as too sensitive and neurotic for her own good. Those varying responses are certainly a testament to the realism of the story. She is a bit neurotic, but to me much of this is the conflict generated by her instincts telling her she’s in a bad situation, while everyone around her (boyfriend, family, friends) insists that the only problem is her – thereby robbing her of the sense of self-worth she needs to actually stand up for herself. She comes across as real and vibrant, as do the racial issues addressed, and I’m interested in reading Wang’s novel.

Overall, an interesting collection of stories I don’t regret reading, but that took me a really long time to get through. I’m not sure if I’ll try another of these collections, but I did at least discover a couple of promising authors.

 

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