Customer Reviews: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope
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on January 25, 2001
First, let's dispense with the myth that Lucas wrote this himself. It was fully written by noted sci-fi/fantasy author Alan Dean Foster (who also wrote the novelizations for Alien, Aliens, Alien3, Krull, Black Hole, Alien Nation and although credited to Gene Roddenberry, he also wrote Star Trek The Motion Picture) Lucas was busy actually making the movie while ADF was writing this novel based on Lucas's working script. This accounts for some of the differences in the story.
ADF is a great writer, with a good voice and a great use of brevity to convey details. This is a quick read and a real treat for star wars fans. When this was first released it was called "Star Wars: From the adventures of Luke Skywalker" and was released before the movie even came out. ADF was already contracted to write a sequel since no one had any idea how the film would do, thus "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" makes a wonderful companion piece (the similar style between the two should be a dead giveaway that Foster wrote both).
This where it all began. If you want to read the SW books, make sure you start here.
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on March 26, 2007
This novelization of the first Star Wars film is the alpha ancestor of the entire Star Wars universe. Published several months before the release of the film (which was simply titled "Star Wars" in 1977, picking up the "A New Hope" signifier in the 1979 theatrical re-release), the book was a success on a small scale but did not take off until the film became a phenomenon. George Lucas is credited with authoring this novel, but as he acknowledges in his introduction, the book was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster based on Lucas' screenplay. Foster went on to write two more Star Wars novels, Splinter of the Mind's Eye in the late 70's and The Approaching Storm in 2002.

Credit must be given to Foster for capturing a Star Wars "feel" in this novel without any preceding Star Wars material to work from and without knowledge of the scrutiny every scrap of Star Wars literature would eventually be subjected to. He follows the screenplay quite faithfully, and except for the inclusion of a sequence on Tatooine that was shot but cut from the film late in the editing process, his novel follows the film's sequence of scenes exactly. He does toy with the dialogue to an extent, re-writing lines throughout. To a modern-day Star Wars nut, this can sometimes be jarring, as everything about this story is so familiar. It's interesting in movie novelizations how the authors often change dialogue but nothing else: I like seeing a little more experimentation, such as that in Matthew Stover's superb novelization of Revenge of the Sith.

Foster is a descriptive writer and this story flows along briskly. One quirk that happens multiple times is he often uses comparisons rooted in our own mundane Earth to describe something, such as "like a dog padding on plastic," "like an Oriental poppy in a sea of oats, " and "like the damping rods in a nuclear reactor." Foster definitely had his work cut out for him in trying to describe such a visual universe before any visual media had been released to the public, but the dozen or so Earth allusions often shatter the otherworldly feel of the story.

As I mentioned earlier, the book contains a sequence set on Tatooine that did not make the final cut of the movie. It occurs early in the story with Luke observing the capture of the Tantive IV in orbit and rushing off to Anchorhead to tell his friends about the battle. When he arrives at Tosche Station, he has an unexpected joyful reunion with his old friend Biggs Darklighter. This segment with Biggs plants the seeds of sympathy toward the Rebellion in Luke's mind and also heightens the impact of Biggs' death during the Death Star attack at the end of the story.

The novelization of Episode IV is a serviceable rendition that does not add too much to the film. It would be interesting to see a new interpretation, either by Foster or another author, written in the modern day that could incorporate material from the prequels and the Expanded Universe material that has been released since 1977.
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on August 30, 2013
The story that spawned the greatest sci fi universe ever. This was actually written and adapted by Alan dean foster who also wrote splinter of the minds eye. Lucas did the script but i like to think it was foster and ralph mcquerie who really brought the universe to life and created the actual look and feel of star wars.
1: Its Star Wars! Nuff Said.
2: Darth Vader!!! This was our first introduction to the ultimate Sith Lord.
3: Star Destroyer! Who doesnt remember the first time they watched as a Rebel blockade runner slowly flew across the screen only to be followed by the massive warship the Star Destroyer.
4: Deathstar! If you loved the giant ships like the Star Destroyer then the Death star will blow your mind.
5: Luke Skywalker! I think this character touches within us all the sense of youthful restlessness and desire to accomplish great things.
6: Han Solo! He always shoots first.
7: More details. The book goes a bit more into things the movie may have brushed over and passed up.

1: Not written as a trilogy. Youll notice it when look is checking out and getting excited by his sister lol.
2: A bit short. I would have liked a more fleshed out story and for them to include more from the radio drama.

So there ya go. One of the best star wars reads out there. Not really much bad to say about it. Go read it right now!!!
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on April 22, 2016
Loved these books when I was a kid and the movies first came out. Enjoyed reading them again (and again, and again!), and my kids didn't need to be pushed to read these books. You get extra details and info when you read, perhaps invented by the author, but it all follows the storyline of the movie. These books are keepers!
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on February 24, 2014
George Lucas created an epic story that has grown beyond anything he ever imagined it would be. As good on paper as it is on screen. There are plenty of deleted scenes that were later released in various special editions as well as on various specials found on other assorted media. Doesn't hurt the story that much. Slightly disorganized given that this was not completely the polished gem that was released in theaters but still a very good read. A-
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on June 15, 2011
Well, when you pick up this novel for the first time, your heart and soul leap for joy.
What could be better than holding in your hands the start of one of the greatest stories ever told?
Well, dont get too carried away. Sure the book is good, but just remember that the movie came first, so when you read this, you are reading the novelisation of a classic movie, and not the other way around.
But buy it, read it, and keep it.
Then pass it down to your kids.
May the Force be with us all.
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VINE VOICEon June 13, 2007
Reading and reviewing the book of A New Hope is impossible without using the film as a frame of reference. For most of us, the film was our introduction to the amazing new world of Star Wars. This is when we first met Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Obi-Wan, R2-D2, and C-3PO. We all know how the story goes and that is my only problem with the book. It is still great fun to read, but it is so much like the film that it is almost too familiar. It is not precisely like the film, but it is extremely close. The book was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster in late 1976 based on the George Lucas screenplay. Considering that Mr. Foster did not have the visual benefit of seeing what Star Wars looked like on screen, I think he did a remarkable job.

The story begins on Tatooine as Luke acquires R2 and 3PO and our favorite little droid is bound and determined to deliver a mysterious message to some one named Obi-Wan Kenobi. The adventures that follow lead us through the cantina at Mos Eisley where we meet Han and Chewie and on to Luke's destruction of the Death Star. You undoubtedly know how it goes.

If by some fluke of nature you actually have not seen the film, then you definitely should read the book. It is a rousing adventure story and leaves you wanting to read more. The edition I read was the very nice trade paperback version of the Star Wars Trilogy that was published in 2004. Having all three of the trilogy books in one volume is a good feeling.
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on March 20, 2016
I'm looking back on this book as I remember it when I was fourteen and the movie had just come out. It was cool because it had scenes in that didn't make it into the film, although they were filmed. The book was superior in some ways because it was written before the script was finalized. The other books, I believe were written from the script. I loved this book back then and still do love it. It's fun, full of interesting characters, and full of action. All you need is the soundtrack to settle down for a nostalgic read.
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on December 18, 2014
Star Wars a new hope written by George Lucas is one the most riveting books I have read in a while. The amazing dialog and exciting action kept me hooked on this book until the very last page. With the release of the first of the great star wars saga, this book is packed full of insight and dark history of some characters. The main character in this story is Luke Skywalker, he is accompanied by his two droids c-threepio and artoo detoo. Farm chores sure could be dull, and Luke Skywalker was a 20 year old who lived on his uncle’s farm on the remote planet of tatooine and was bored beyond belief. He yearned for adventures out among the stars adventures that would take him beyond the furthest galaxies to distant and alien worlds.
But Luke got more than he bargained for when he intercepted a cryptic message from a beautiful princess held captive by a dark and powerful warlord. Luke didn't know who she was, but he knew he had to save her—and soon, because time was running out.
Armed only with courage and with the light saber that had been his father’s, Luke was catapulted into the middle of the most savage space war ever...and he was headed straight for a desperate encounter on the enemy battle station known as the Death Star!
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on April 29, 2016
The Star Wars movies are my favorite things, and of course the novel A New Hope was amazing. It had such deep detail and the opening and ending scene were amazing, my favorite opening and ending scenes of all of the Star Wars movies.
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