Customer Reviews for

Star Wars The Essential Reader's Companion

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted October 2, 2012

    The Essential Guide for your Star Wars library

    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. Jacen would have then been trapped in Anakin’s body right before the Yuuzhan Vong killed him. Anakin would have ended up in Jacen’s body, thus getting a second chance on life. As a huge Anakin Solo fan, I can’t help but think how awesome that would have been.

    Little insights like that made The Essential Reader’s Companion fun to scour through.

    There is also a ton of new art. Before each era, there is a gallery of character portraits by Brian Rood done in a watercolor style. The faces on the characters are very realistic. Most of the portraits portray characters readers have never seen before. However that can be good and bad in itself. Some people might not like the look of some characters because it might not mesh with the image they formed in their minds while reading about them. Personally, I really loved the character portraits. I thought they looked great and I always enjoy seeing a canon image of the characters.

    The Essential Reader’s Companion certainly nailed what it sought out to do and more. I’ll admit that I’m no expert on the exhaustive archive of Star Wars literature, but this book covers a lot of material. While sites like Wookieepedia are nice, sometimes they fail to accurately or effectively summarize the events of a book. The Essential Reader’s Companion does that and then some. Furthermore, the new artwork is gorgeous and is the icing on the cake. You might not want to read it cover-to-cover, but as a reference book, The Essential Reader’s Companion serves a role I did not realize was missing. If you have a library of Star Wars books, you’d be remiss to not have this as the cornerstone of your collection.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    An excellent guide to the novels and short stories of the Star Wars Universe

    This companion is for the Star Wars fan who wants to start reading the books published in George Lucas' universe, or for the long-time reader who wants a quick refresher on when certain books and stories occured. The book includes a chronology and a brief synopsis of each book in the Star Wars canon. There are also some notes on when books intersect with comic adaptations. Finally, there are illustrations of events depicted in some books. I would personally have liked a few more illustrations, but this guide is indeed essential for those who want to navigate the books and novelizations that flesh out the Star Wars Universe.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2012

    "Essential" is a good word for this book

    What a great idea! Put together a reference book that discusses all sorts of Star Wars books (and there are plenty to discuss). As a huge Star Wars fan since the beginning, I own quite a lot of Star Wars books, including some kids' books and graphic novels. I don't have everything there is to have, though, and it's nice that there is a book that will tell me what some of those other books are about. It also covers some books I wasn't even aware of. The book has new illustrations, and I appreciate those, too. This book is a lot of fun to browse through. If you're looking for information on some Star Wars book, it's definitely the place to go. I discovered this book at "Star Wars Reads" day--the perfect day to learn about this great addition to my Star Wars library.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2014

    This is a must have for Star Wars fans. It contains info on ever

    This is a must have for Star Wars fans. It contains info on every book, short story, and young adult novel published. Amazing artwork and behind the scenes information. And all the stories are laid out in chronological order to help you get everything straight. I can't recommend this enough for Star Wars fiction lovers.

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  • Posted January 28, 2014

    This isn't a guide to Star Wars chronology in the traditional se

    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. and their "earlier" appearances were written by authors later on, writing backstory retroactively.

    The Reader's Companion tells you, in time line order, what happens in every book or story (print media) and it does so succinctly, without embellishment technical jargon. When there are inconsistencies among various sources of a particular story, it tells you - but it doesn't pick and choose, or say which is right and which is wrong. This approach clearly isn't for everyone, and not everyone will want this book.

    Lots of people read Star Wars fiction. Not all of them are readers. But if you are a reader, this is the book for you. You'll want it for the many gorgeous illustrations that bring to life scenes from familiar and less familiar stories. You'll want it to fill in gaps in the stories, to find out what you didn't know you missed. You'll want it if you read the books as they were published and not "in order". But you will definitely want it.

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  • Posted August 8, 2013

    This should be mandatory for fans of Star Wars literature. Not o

    This should be mandatory for fans of Star Wars literature. Not only does it have a (nearly) up to date chronological order of all books, but the art is absolutely fantastic. This is literally a dual purpose book and I have never seen anything so beautifully illustrated and resourceful at the same time. This is a must for all Star Wars fans. Well done Pablo!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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