One of the best parts of a Star Wars film coming to us every year is that so far, with each release comes a good amount of books as well. Novelizations, visual guides, young readers, books for any and all Star Wars fans flood the shelves and we devour them to learn as much as we can about our favorite galaxy far, far away.
One such book this year is Galactic Maps from Disney Lucasfilm Press. What could have been a simple visual guide through the Star Wars universe becomes an engrossing and information heavy ride through the canon saga from films, television, novels, and even comics.
It starts with a illustrated timeline of Star Wars canon, from The Phantom Menace all the way through The Force Awakens. In the introduction, the book is framed as one artists interpretation of the Skywalker family and the events surrounding them. It presents the material in very clear and concise detail, and includes every major event you can think of, and even some I was not expecting to see them touch on, like Mace Windu and the liberation of Ryloth with Cham Syndulla. Each entry also has a illustration that has to do with the event, with the whole book being illustrated by Tim McDonagh.
Let me spend a moment here gushing over his artwork. This is beyond exquisite work. After flipping about 3 pages in this thing he had already become one of my favorite Star Wars artists, but by the end he may just be my favorite. The incredibly detailed work on the maps, the way he colors and adds so many little touches to the planet overviews. And his damn spot-on renderings of the main players from the saga had my jaw on the floor. I cannot speak highly enough about how he has breathed life into these planets for me.
Speaking of planets and systems, all the major ones are covered here in fantastic detail. There is a ton of information presented here from creatures native to the planets, history of the regions and important events, and an overview of important characters. I could quibble with some of the omissions in the character bios (WHERE IS BOSSK?!?!?!?!) but personal bias aside, the ones included are essential. Major battles are also covered, and I especially appreciated the shout-out to the brave pilots of Red and Gold Squadron, including Evaan Verlaine from the Marvel Princess Leia comic.
This book is listed as a young adult book, but there is something here for everyone, new Star Wars fans and old. The presentation is great, the paper quality feels like an old map, and the book itself measures a whopping 11×15, so it makes for a great coffee table book as well. I know that's where I will be keeping my copy.
Jeremy Konrad loves Star Wars and collecting action figures and collectibles. He also watches wrestling, maybe more than Jude Terror. Follow him on Twitter @jeremyohio