Book Review: Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Tales of Hope & Courage

Based on the Lucasfilm Animation web series of the same name (viewable on YouTube and Disney), Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Tales of Hope & Courage is a collection of six short stories centered around the female heroes of the Star Wars universe, written primarily for young sci-fi Padawans ages 6 to 8 and up.

The six included tales are adapted straight from episodes of the web series, penned with additional exposition that fleshes out the character backstories beyond what’s shown in the brief two to three minute animations. Each tale highlights the personality and virtues of a specific character–Leia Organa, Jyn Erso, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Sabine Wren, and Padmé Amidala are the leading ladies–while simultaneously attaching the story to some form of a lesson, moral, or general message of positivity.

In rescuing Chewie from a Wampa, Leia shows her resourcefulness, gift of strategy, natural leadership, and ability to remain calm under pressure. Sabine’s story, involving her up and down relationship with Ketsu Onyo, deals with themes of friendship and forgiveness and reconnecting. During her training to become a Jedi, Ahsoka risks being late to her Padawan bead ceremony in order to save a woman and her son from a malfunctioning construction droid on a rampage, ultimately proving to Anakin and Yoda her bravery, maturity, willingness to help others, and courage to run towards danger rather than away from it.

Dedicated to a life of public service, Padmé puts the needs of everyone else before her own, serving others while leaving little time for cultivating friendships. But when the shape-shifting bounty hunter Cato Parasitti is discovered during preparations for a diplomatic dinner Padmé is helped through the encounter by Ahsoka, teaching that you shouldn’t always face problems alone. Jyn, thrust into a solitary life of survival and multiple identities from a young age, is forced to confront her feelings as she steps in to help a young girl and her cat from being harassed by stormtroopers. In the process she learns to remember who she is, and to open her heart to kindness rather than keeping her emotions buried inside. Finally there’s Rey, who encounters a nightwatcher worm while traveling the sands of Jakku, putting her own safety on the line when BB-8 becomes the target of the worm’s hunger for metal debris. Rey proves her heroism by using the power of the Force to protect the weak while also showing compassion, even to her enemies.

Instead of the epic grandeur you get from the movies, these stories of leadership, loyalty, pride, trust, and bravery bring Star Wars down to a personal and relatable scale more ideally suited for children, while at the same time maintaining a level of authenticity to the canon that even adult fans can appreciate.

Taking the form of Maz Kanata’s personal journal, the book has a wonderfully realized presentation that further plays to a younger imagination. Maz’s narrated stories appear handwritten with little notes and asides and changes in text size and orientation. Accompanying the text is an abundance of artwork, which captures the cartoon aesthetic of the animated series with a more appropriate colored pencil charm. Eight gatefolds are included as well, providing further visualization for certain action scenes, as well as other fun imagery such as a breakdown of what’s inside Jyn’s go-bag; message transmissions from Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and C-3PO to Leia; a gallery showing some of Padmé’s eclectic wardrobe; and an invitation to the Festival of Light Gala.

Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Tales of Hope & Courage is a great book for empowering little girls, providing an approachable gateway into the world of Star Wars and science fiction in general, a genre often catered more to boys. That said, readers of all ages, sexes, and races can take something away from the book, whether its for the fun, adventuresome stories, the charming artwork and presentation, or the positive, uplifting messages.

Buy From: Amazon.com for $11.99.

Disclosure: A copy of Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Tales of Hope & Courage was provided to VGBlogger.com for review consideration.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!