My review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark
With such a non-descript title, this book could be about anything, couldn’t it? And that’s kind of what this book turns out to be: an anthology of just about any kind of story from The Clone Wars TV series. Each chapter is a portion of an arc or an episode from the show, except for a unique story at the end of the printed volume, written by someone outside of the show’s writing team.
The influx of new writers treating pre-written material means that we are given a few new points-of-view into the episodes themselves. These authors usually take these chances to bolster a specific point from the episode or give a character a little more agency. The chapter that covers the episode about Yoda and Thire is morphed from a fun introductory episode to the show to a tragedy about Yoda’s compassion for the clones and their eventual turning on them in Order 66. The chapter about Padme, from Hostage Crisis, focuses a little more on her interior life than the episode did, which was more concerned about making Cad Bane a formidable villain. I generally enjoyed these points of view, as these authors have a good eye on what parts of the episode need to be teased out a little bit more.
Now, maybe the bigger question is, since these are slightly charged adaptations, do they accomplish the adaptation role well? The answer to that is….probably not. Now, before I go too deep into this, I need to preface my thoughts a little. I’m not sure if these were written with the thought that you could read them without seeing the episode. Maybe they were designed to be read after watching the episode. So let me talk about it for both possibilities:
If these books were designed to be read by someone who hasn’t seen the episode, I’m not sure the reader would have a good enough understanding of the episode. Lots has to be skipped in favor of the specific point of view and in favor of keeping the page count from sprawling out. I’m not sure this was the case.
Assuming that these books were designed to be read by someone who has seen the episode, I would say that they generally function well as “flavor boosters” to the main course, the episode. A few really are duds, not adding much to the episode, not changing how I see the episodes or the events depicted. But some do give the episodes a little extra flair, but the jury’s out on whether or not “a little extra flair” is worth the entry price.
If you were reading these just to re-experience the episodes, the time that it takes to read them might be about the same length as the episode, so it might be worth firing up Disney Plus and re-watching them. You would miss out on the stand alone story, Bug, which follows up on the story of the Nightsisters after Grievous’ attack on Dathomir, though. That’s what makes this book really tough to recommend: the standalone story is great, and I’m sure we’ll see the characters again someday, but does that make it worth the entry price? Maybe not. If you love the show and consume everything around it, come in! It’s a fun book and you’ll experience your favorite show from new angles. If not, it’s probably worth passing right now.
I do want to mention that there is some fantastic art in the book. Between chapters, we are treated with some great character studies of a character from the upcoming chapter.
You can purchase a copy of this book from Barnes and Noble or through a local book store, and it is also available on Amazon. I was provided a digital copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review. I also bought the physical copy because, well, it’s Star Wars.