on March 2, 2009
My review may not add much to the other 14 here, but as a person who has seen only some of the Star Wars DVD's but has recently acquired a couple dozen Star Wars hardcover books, I needed a source where an abundance of Star Wars information was available. Just before Christmas, 2008, my attention came upon this set of books and decided to treat myself. This set is just what I need to make some sense of the Star Wars material of which I know very little. In both words and pictures my numerous questions now have answers awaiting them with in these 3 books.
These information filled volumes offer character portraits, peoples and customs, thumbnails on both Sith Lords and Jedi Knights, a time line of most major events. There are many other items within these volumes so much so that it will no doubt take months or years to gain a grasp on it all. It's a complete research bureau in itself.
If any who read this review are new to all this, the Star Wars DVDs as well as the Star Wars books, then accept my advice that you will need to take a look at these three exceptional volumes.
This set isn't for everyone. If you're just looking for a reference, most of the information here is available for free on the Wookieepedia site, the Star Wars wiki. Not only that, but Wookieepedia is up to date, more extensive, and provides sources. Thus, all you really need is a web browser.
On the other hand, if you just want to explore the Star Wars universe a bit, this isn't a bad set. You can flip through and find aliens and peoples you never even knew existed. The best parts of the book are the side-by-side comparisons, such as the different styles of lightsabers.
Basically, Amazon allows you to download a free pdf of several of the pages, so you might as well see for yourself whether or not you like the format and information.
on March 10, 2013
Well what more can a SW fan ask for? A hard cover, beautifully presented reference to the greatest science fiction saga ever told. Open it up and see a perfectly shipped slip case holding three more brilliant, perfectly presented hard cover references to the glorious Star Wars universe, presented to whoever uses it in glorious, full colour, intricate detail, featuring literally everything in Star Wars from 'A' to 'Z'.
Book one: Volume 1: A -G. First entry: A-10. The book actually refers you to the "A9 Vigilance Interceptor" and gives the reader a brilliantly detailed, insightful, delightful description of this piece of imperial Warcraft, as well as its pros and cons in use. Turning the pages, we see that comics are covered, as well as fan favourite Admiral Acbaar ("...it's a trap!!!...") The reference to Chewbacca is given one full page of text. Book two: Volume 2: H - O. I went straight to the only "O" entry I could think of and found four pages dedicated to the greatest Jedi master to ever pick up a light sabre. Volume 3: P-Z. Going straight to everyone's favourite villian we see Emperor Palpatine given roughly three pages of descriptive space in this volume. Described initially and correctly as "evil incarnate" the book talks about Palpatine's upbringing and early political career, going on to how he used ongoing plicitical and civil unrest both on Coruscant and throughout the republic to devise and manipulate pawns (Dooku, Anakin Skywalker amongst others) in his power to achieve unheard and ghastly results. The rest as we know, is history.
Plaudits must also go to Amazon for their shipping policies and protocols. Coming from the US and arriving down under in a perfect, unmarked condition is a modern day marvel.
So in summary this book is an essential reference to the Star Wars saga. With the recent announcement of Disney making more Star Wars films, we might question it's relevance, but as for now, this is the best it here is. And I am sure that a new edition will be released for episodes VII, VIII, IX et al. May the force be with Disney!
on February 8, 2009
I have not read this from cover to cover yet, but I have been using it as a very handy reference source for when I run across terms/situations/characters that I am not familiar with in the Expanded Universe books I read.
This is the first version of the Star Wars Encyclopedia that I have ever read or owned, so I have no way to compare how it stacks up to previous versions, but I am not unhappy at all with the information I have found in it. And unlike similar resources that you can find online, it is easy to stay focused with what you are looking for. There is nothing that I have wanted to look up that I have not been able to find in its pages.
As a side note, it would be interesting to be able to to see what media or titles the entry can be found in.
I would reommend the Encyclopedia to anyone who has an interest in the Star Wars Universe beyond the movies. If your gut reaction is that this is too much information or that you would not find it interesting, then you are probably right. If you are thinking that this is just up your alley, then you too would be right.
on January 14, 2009
When I was in Middle School, for Christmas, I was given what was one of my most coveted books of my collection - the Star Wars Encyclopedia. It was a tome of Star Wars knowledge, and for someone who was reading the books at a ferocious rate, it was an amazing resource for remembering small details about the Star Wars canon. Unfortunately, upon its release in 1998, the book was put out of date almost immediately with the release of The Phantom Menace, the first of the prequel trilogy, and along with that, a major book series, The New Jedi Order (NJO) and as the Star Wars franchise churned out more and more books, cartoons, comic books and other media, the first version fell horribly out of date. It still remains a fairly good resource for what had been published up until 1998.
Now, ten years later, Del Rey has published another, far more extensive version of the Star Wars encyclopedia. While the first volume came in at around 350 pages (pretty much the same page count of one of the novels) this new version weighs in at not one, but three volumes, each with the same amount of content as the first version, covering not only the new material, but material which has only recently been released to the public. There is information that falls right up to the currently running Clone Wars television series, in addition to the three prequel movies, the Clone Wars franchise, New Jedi Order, Legacy of the Force and the countless comic series and standalone novels that have been released since then. This book is a welcome addition to the Star Wars books out there, and I'm astounded as the amount of information that has been added in the past decade.
Compared to the first volume, this is a far superior work, and certainly a staple for anyone who's read the books extensively. By this point, I have a difficult time keeping some of the books separate from one another, because of the sheer amount of information, but also because I no longer re-read every single book multiple times. (Hopefully, someday, I'll get around to reading everything chronologically. Probably when I retire, or win the lottery...) The biggest drawback in the new volume was an incredibly handy feature in the first book, and that was a source citation at the end of each entry, such as [TTT] [SOTE] [ANH], which would represent the source material from which the entry was drawn from. This book doesn't have a system like that, and at times, that could be a problem, especially when it comes to the really minor details, characters, ships and things like that.
Reading the entries, I was brought back to when I first had the book, when I was really into the franchise. (I've cooled somewhat on the entire thing, and am no longer the rapid fan that I once was. Let's ignore the part where I have Storm Trooper armor for that argument). During high school, I read a lot, usually finishing a book in a day or two, depending on the author and writing style. I picked up Star Wars books as they came out, and over a couple years, I had read pretty much everything published, and eagerly awaited the release of the new books. During the times that I waited for new books, I spent a lot of time in the school library, talking to other fans via TheForce.net's message boards, which still maintains a lively literature discussion area. I don't post there very often, except to post the occasional review, because the climate there has become very different from what I liked and enjoyed. Since high school and college, I've not kept up with the Star Wars books to the same extent that I used to. I currently have seven or eight books on my to read shelf, from ones that I've just not have the time, or made a priority. At some point, I'll get to them, if anything, to see what has been happening. This encyclopedia will certainly help me keep track of some of the details as I catch up, especially with the larger series.
While the Star Wars universe has really changed over the last ten or so years, with the release of the three new movies, a couple major book series, paging through the pages of these three volumes really put me back in one of the library chairs where I read, a powerful nostalgia trip, which I missed. It's just one of many things that makes me even more resolved to lock away my DVDs and pick up more books. If there's anything I regret over the past couple of years, it's not making the time to really read more.
((Originally posted to my blog)
on January 3, 2012
Covering the full gamut of games, comics, TV, and film, this is a very comprehensive reference set.
Wookiepedia is great (and also stays current) but sometimes it's nice to get it straight from the horse's mouth when a silly argument involving conflicting extended universe material gets out of control.
This would also be a great professional or just serious nerdery (great for costuming) reference whether you needed it for inspirational, visual, or something vaguely resembling canonical reference.
The set features more interesting entries than even hardcore fans will ever find time to read and plenty of art, screenshots, and images from the sets I haven't seen elsewhere (like shots of very minor characters that I'm guessing were taken for the benefit of action figure manufacturers).
Definitely worth the money but one major flaw.
* No source material attribution!
You pretty much have to rely on images (which aren't present for every entry) to establish whether you're dealing with material from games, comics, movies, or cartoons and then sort the rest out yourself. Not insanely hard but an index of all entries with media sources listed would have been nice for those of us who actually want to find the stuff.
Minor nonsubtractive flaws:
* Some very interesting images are left unexplained. (stormtrooper lightsaber?)
* Images aren't always captioned which is annoying when not placed within the relevant entry.
* 2008 is four years ago (very current up that point).