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The Essential Reader's Companion (Star Wars) (Star Wars: Essential Guides) Paperback – October 2, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Pablo Hidalgo is the brand communications manager at Lucasfilm, a resident Star Wars authority who helps ensure consistency across a wide array of Star Wars projects. He lives with his wife in San Francisco, California.
Jeff Carlisle is a freelance illustrator and concept designer who has spent a good portion of the last decade in a Galaxy Far, Far Away. He has designed or illustrated for various Star Wars projects, such as books, magazines, web comics, role-playing and miniatures games, trading cards, posters, art prints, sketch cards, and even paper airplanes.
Joe Corroney has been professionally creating Star Wars artwork for books, games, trading cards, comic books, posters, and magazines since 1997. Currently, in addition to Star Wars, he’s illustrating for IDW’s True Blood and Star Trek ongoing comic book series. Joe runs a full-time illustration studio where he’s also developing his creator-owned comic book series.
Brian Rood is a freelance illustrator who spends most of his time creating new artwork for the Star Wars galaxy. His work can be found on numerous licensed Star Wars products, including toy packaging, Blu-ray packaging, trading cards, and a large assortment of Star Wars fine art reproductions with ACME Archives Direct. He lives in Southeast Michigan with his wife and two awesome children.
Chris Scalf grew up in Michigan, the middle child of a single mother. He didn’t have much so he thrived on his imagination. He began drawing his favorite moments from the science fiction and monster shows he loved watching on TV. Eventually a high school crush led to marriage and Chris’s desire to provide for his new family by making a living as an artist. In 2006 Chris was hired to paint his first Star Wars project, the R2-D2 mailboxes for the USPS. Today, Chris spreads his work between commercial art and advertising and the genre art he loved so much as a kid. He still lives in Michigan with his wife and daughter.
Darren Tan was born and raised in Malaysia where he grew up drawing spaceships, dinosaurs, and the stuff of his imagination, which was fueled by movies and computer games. Inspired by these, he went on to study animation and later graduated as a computer animator from Sheridan College, Canada. After a brief stint in 3-D animation, he decided to trade in polygons for a Wacom tablet. Now he works as a digital concept artist at Imaginary Friends Studios and is enjoying getting paid for his hobby. Apart from his passion for art and Star Wars, he is also a big fan of The Lord of the Rings and enjoys delving into medieval and church history. He now lives with his beautiful wife in sunny Singapore.
Chris Trevas is a freelance illustrator for Star Wars books, games, trading cards, packaging, and many other products. His book credits include four Star Wars: Essential Guides for Del Rey as well as several Star Wars technical guides and blueprints.

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Product Details

  • Series: Star Wars: Essential Guides
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: LucasBooks; Star Wars edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345511190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345511195
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Skuldren on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Quite simply, Star Wars: The Essential Reader's Companion is the essential guide to Star Wars books. Readers get a full look at the expanse of Star Wars literature across 496 pages of book summaries, beautiful artwork, and additional info. The book covers all of the adult Star Wars novels, most of the young adult novels and short stories, as well as side notes on some of the important comics and video games.

The book is broken down into eight eras. Each era includes a introduction and is followed by summaries for all of the books and short stories. Each entry includes info for timeline placement, worlds visited, major characters, author, cover artist, publication history, and a summary of the story. Many of the entries also include an endnote which varies from entry to entry. Some share information about how the project came to be, fun notes about the authors, hurdles that the story encountered, alternate story ideas proposed in the outline stages, and any continuity conflicts.

One of the cool things I liked about The Essential Reader's Companion was that each entry included not only a list of all the worlds visited, but coordinates that will work with The Essential Atlas. On one hand it creates a continuity between the guides, and on the other, it makes finding the planets a heck of alot easier.

Another cool thing was the endnotes for each summary. My favorites were the ones that included alternate storylines that weren't used. For instance in Fate of the Jedi: Invincible, Troy Denning proposed having Jacen flow-walk back in time to meet Anakin in order to distract Jaina during their duel. The event would've backfired though, enabling Anakin to swap bodies with Jacen.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Peter Morrison on October 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
I like to think Pablo Hidalgo wrote this book just for me. My favorite area of Star Wars fandom is the novels, I love reading the books set in the galaxy far, far away. The benefit of this is that my mental special effects budget is unlimited. The downside is that at this point there are so many novels and short stories that it can be easy to forget what happened where and keep the hordes of supporting characters straight.

I have been forward to this book for a number of reasons. The handy ability to quickly check out a books summary to remember what it was about when I am contemplating a re-read. The ability to catch up on the more obscure short stories or tales that I may have missed along the way. The hopefully entertaining and insightful editorial comments inserted by Mr. Hidalgo. Then once we started seeing rough artwork from the book I also became very excited to get my hands on this reference book for the artistic eye candy.

What did we end up getting?

The Essential Reader's Companion is a bookshelf busting 496 page, 2.8 pound tome. It is structured chronologically with an Introduction, two appendices and eight chapters. While it is a massive book in page count it is smartly designed in terms of height as to be very readable and not become difficult to handle while reading. The book comes with a MSRP of $29.95 but you can find it on sale for much lower than that.

The Introduction:

In the introduction Pablo lays out the scope and mission of the book. He discusses what is and what is not in the book and the reason behind those decisions. He also touches upon a suggested reading order and the issue of canon and continuity.

This is important to set the reader's expectation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By FantasyFan on May 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Over the past decade, I have become more of an EU fan than a "canon" fan, as Lucas continually re-writes what has been established for the universe. My last straw was the "peaceful" Mandalorians from the Clone Wars series... but I guess that doesn't really have anything to do with this review, except to say, I love the writers (most of them, anyway) of the Expanded Universe.

I thought this book was a great collection of information. I've read around 100 of the Star Wars novels, and sometimes I want to revisit the stories without having to re-read the entire book. This collection does that perfectly. Some other reviewers mentioned that it doesn't encompass video games well enough, but I did not find that to be the case. The information across the board was pretty great, and I especially loved some of the "behind the scenes" style details provided. My only complaint there would be that they didn't have behind the scenes info on every book... which is understandable.

This is a marvelous chronicle and I highly recommend it to any EU fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on January 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This isn't a guide to Star Wars chronology in the traditional sense. If you want to pretend you live in the Star Wars universe and are reading the Galactic Encyclopedia in the library at the Jedi Temple; if you want to know the history of the entire squib race, if you want to read about droids and hyperdrive engines and weapons as if they were real, then by all means go to Wookieepedia and spend several hours. Or buy one of the many in-universe guidebooks that are out there.

But if you want to step back and remind yourself that it's fictional, and understand how it came to be what it is, then this is the book for you.

It's exactly what it says it is - a reader's companion - with the stress on the word "reader" - to the admittedly overwhelming volume of fiction that the Star Wars film franchise has spawned. That chart in the front of every EU novel you purchase? Sure, it tells you the "official" order of the books and movies. But the books weren't written in that order. And that sometimes creates problems and inconsistencies. Why do some books ignore Vader's backstory, or the Clone Wars saga, even though they occur later in the time line than these events? Why do some books and films appear to contradict each other on small, or not so small points? An in-universe book tries to make sense of these inconsistencies and makes up stories about why one character might have lied or said something when the real reason is very simple - because the prequel films or the Clone Wars TV show hadn't even been made yet when that book was published. Why, if this character has been around, in universe, for ten years, does no one in the story know anything about them? Well, because this is the first time, in the real world, that this character appeared.
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