The Clone Wars might be over, but Star Wars fans can still get their fix with the latest anthology release from Disney Publishing.
The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark is an anthology book that brings together a number of impressive authors (many who’ve written for Star Wars already): E. Anne Convery, Greg van Eekhout, Jason Fry, Lou Anders, Preeti Chhibber, Rebecca Roanhorse, Sarah Beth Durst, Tom Angleberger, Yoon Ha Lee, and Zoraida Córdova.
For all but one of the short stories included, these are retellings of different episodes presented throughout the series, over various seasons. While it’s kind of a bummer that we aren’t getting all new stories from the Clone Wars, I have to say I loved how these stories were presented.
Much like any adaptation, readers are offered a bit more insight into the mind frame of the characters. We get to read what characters are thinking about in these familiar situations, bringing a deeper connection to the action overall. This was especially true for the short that adapted the Umbara arc, where we see the viciousness of Pong Krell from the perspective of Rex and his Clone brethren.
It was always one of my favorite arcs in the series. It offers a poignant theme on war and the Jedi ethics in general, while setting the stage for some incredible action. The prose in the book conveys this well, but being from the perspective of the Clones makes it far more emotionally impactful.
This is the case for pretty much all the stories, though that’s not the only thing that makes them engaging. Sometimes the narrator puts a unique spin on the tale, making the straightforward episode feel fresh as we see it from an all new perspective. Whether it’s Count Dooku composing a letter to his Master, Sidious, or Cad Bane spinning a tale for fellow bounty hunters, these aspects make even familiar stories feel new.
There is one brand new tale included in the anthology, offering a glimpse at one of the Nightsisters who survived the destruction of the clans on Dathomir. While I won’t go into too many details on it, I can happily tell you it was one of the more engaging stories in the book (for me). I loved how it dealt with the aftermath of something we don’t get nearly enough time with in the show, and it’s done in a way that feels like it fits in perfectly with the other stories.
I enjoyed how each short never felt too long. While they each delivered all the pertinent details, they sped along at breakneck pace. This makes it easy to breeze through the novel in a relatively short time, but structured in a way that fans can pick and choose what story they want to revisit.
As for the physical book itself, I both love and loathe how the book itself is handled. On one hand, we’re given yet another Star Wars book (e.g. Star Wars: Dark Legends) that doesn’t follow any previously released format. It’s both taller and wider than other Disney Press releases, so it won’t fit in nicely on your bookshelves with the rest of them. Sure, it’s a minor gripe, but it continues to throw me off.
The GOOD part of that, however, is that the different size allows the interior to shine. The artwork sprinkled throughout, kicking off each story, is impressive and gorgeous. The cover art is mimicked on the book itself, so even if you take off the dust/slip cover you can view it and it looks incredible. It’s a small detail, but something I’d love to see more books do.
The larger size allows them to really stand out, but it also means the text format is a bit bigger. On top of making it way easier to read (must be getting old), the format gave the book a more “fairy tale” quality. Like something you could read a story from each night before going to bed.