Now this is what I call an essential guidebook!
Covert Art By: David Stevenson
Art By: Ian Fullwood, Modi, Chris Reiff, & Chris Trevas
Written By: Jason Fry & Daniel Wallace
Guidebooks are a tricky read. They are, in my humble opinion, the books that are the biggest example of pure nerd books. Their appeal is in the minutiae they tackle within the Star Wars universe and the way this makes Star Wars nerds like me all giddy. At the same time the guidebook must make this minutiae interesting and not a bore to get through. The Essential Atlas succeeds in spades when it comes to those elements and may be the best of all the guidebooks I have read so far.
The Essential Atlas is a treasure trove of information about the Star Wars universe that fascinated the heck out of me. I loved the way they sectioned the book off so that geography and history were given an equal level of importance. Getting to know where all the planets/systems are, or were in some cases, was just as fun as seeing maps that laid out the course of the Outer Rim Sieges. From a pure Star Wars nerd perspective it will be hard for any guidebook to ever top The Essential Atlas.
Luckily there are plenty of top flight illustrations and detail laden maps to bring The Essential Atlas to life. More than anything I was enamored with the way that all those involved with the guidebook helped to flesh out the universe of Star Wars. Knowing who was where and which government bodies controlled what areas of space at what times is the type of info overload that makes me happy.
The only area that did give me some fits while reading The Essential Atlas were the sections that broke down individual planets of certain sectors. For instance, as I read about all of the planets that make up the Senex-Juvex system I felt the writing was too dry and that those planets didn’t need that many pages devoted to them. The sections that were dry were in the minority in the guidebook however, and that is why my lone complaint is a minor one.
The Essential Atlas pleased me immensely. I continually go back to The Essential Atlas as a reference point when I am reading, watching, or playing the comics, books, movies, TV shows, and video games of Star Wars. In the grand scheme of things a well written book that makes me happy and provides oodles of content can only be a great addition to my Star Wars library.