Galactic AtlasExplore a galaxy far, far away in this stunning guide to the worlds of Star Wars. The Galactic Atlas, illustrated by Tim McDonagh in superb full colour, covers everything from Alderaan and Naboo to Tatooine and Yavin 4, taking in the epic stories, strange creatures and glorious vistas of the entire saga.

Author & Editor:  Emil Fortune
Illustrated By:  Tim McDonagh
ISBN:  9781405279987
Publication Date:  November 03, 2016
Age Range:  From 8 Years

A full colour magnificent tome measuring 37cm x 27cm with glorious double-page spreads covering every planet of significance from the past seven Star Wars films, including elements from the TV series and canon literature – the Galactic Atlas from Egmont is a wonderful in-world guide to the Star Wars galaxy.

From the moment I picked up the book, I had the impression that this was a book of sheer luxury.  It’s unusual size, the pitch black spine with gold bar, the stunning detailed cover of Tim McDonagh – you just knew that every element of this book had been considered, and I hadn’t yet opened the book.

There is a wonderful used feel to the book, the paper density gives it an element that adds a level of sophistication to the book, and each page has a weathered appearance further enhancing its in-world look and feel.

The book starts by giving an introduction setting the in-world scene that book exists around.  It teases the Graf Archive, an obvious reference to the family who are front and centre to Egmont’s Adventures In Wild Space series of books, and whom are thus assumed to have assembled the maps in this collection – they are a family of cartographers after all.

It is greatly emphasised that these maps may not be complete, or wholly accurate and gives just a “feel” for the worlds represented.  The intro emphasises that the maps focus on the Skywalker family and many of the tales may be “tales spun by explorers.”  This is a clever out for the book, and allows the author and artist creative freedom to provide a scope and level of detail desired in these books without locking in locations that cause issues for future creative.  However, in the same hand this is absolutely not a cop-out.  It is clear that the research and effort to form the book is extensive, and it is laid out in such a layered and detailed manner that allowing flexibility was essential in the craft of the publication.

Galactic Atlas - Naboo
© and TM 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd

You are immediately thrust into a galaxy map, star charting the worlds of our beloved galaxy.  It is always fascinating knowing how our planets link together and I was surprised to find the placement of Rogue One’s Jedha so close to The Force Awaken’s Jakku.  Worlds that appear to have such importance to the Jedi and Sith respectively, physically so close together perhaps opens up a future fascinating history to be explored.

We are given a timeline of galactic events centering around the Skywalker family, it is rich and detailed but perhaps controversially uses the BBY / ABY timeline from Legends.  Should an in-world timeline have been used?  It’s a tough argument but when you pull it out to the galaxy of Star Wars, would one timeline exist for all these worlds.  Probably not. So how would a historian chart events that could be recorded in so many ways?  It thus makes sense to tie events to a seminal point in time, and the legendary Battle Of Yavin – the first meeting of Luke and Vader, the first big win for the Rebellion, and the destruction of the Death Star makes sense in that context.  Because of that, for me, it makes total in-world sense to use this chart.

We are given a spread of historical figures so beautifully detailed, and superbly picked from so many potential characters, before getting the first of a number of close up looks at a narrow select group of planets.  It’s a great touch to add this level of detail to the planets, and the key events they are known for.

Galactic Atlas - Tatooine
© and TM 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd

And then begins the glorious maps….

What can I say, this is some of the most wonderful and fun original art in a Star Wars publication for years.  It is like a sophisticated Where’s Wally / Waldo book in that you just have to keep looking at the same page to keep absorbing the incredible level of detail that Tim McDonagh has added to each page.  I spent hours pouring over each double spread page, and yet every time you pick up the book you are left feeling like you discovered something else new.  I was particularly drawn to his pieces detailing the wildlife of each planet, they have a particularly pleasing level of precise detail mixed with a delightful excentric style.  It added a level of fun, but importantly uniqueness to each environment.

Scholars of Star Wars literature will pick up on events, people, and elements from as far away as the young reader novel Lost Stars, to Marvel’s Shattered Empire comic series and beyond.  As I said earlier, the level and detail of research gone into this book is quite outstanding.  For those less au fait with this content, it is delivered in such a clever way as to not confuse or distract.

Most readers will be much more familiar with the planets seen in the movies and TV series.  The prequels, original trilogy and The Force Awakens all feature heavily as do The Clone Wars and Rebels.  One surprise inclusion that fans may not have expected is the inclusion of Jedha, the religious planet with connections to the Jedi from the upcoming Rogue One.  This was our first chance to see a Rogue One planet in any level of detail, and it was great to see that the scope and facts given to it was in-line with the other planets.  I won’t spoil anything here, but it was rich and rather wonderful.

I don’t see this as a book that a child will pick up and read cover to cover, but I don’t see it as being designed in that way.  For me this is an ideal book to sit to a child’s bedside table that they constantly go back to, to find a character, location and event to inspire their own creativity and imagination.  It is the ideal escape into the galaxy far, far, away…

That said, with the high production values, and quality of the content the older generation of Star Wars fans will also fall in love with the tome.  It’s charm, and style aimed at the child’s mind, merely gives it that little bit of extra fun for us adults.

Galactic Atlas - Jakku© and TM 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd

Egmont have continued their tradition of delivering unique and innovative publications, this latest publication continues that trend.  With it’s obvious ties to Rogue One it will gather an audiance fast, but the scope, and sublime detail delivered in such a fun and stunning manner will be what sticks in fan’s minds.

Galactic Atlas has a list price of £20.00 but is available from Amazon at the link below for only £6.99.

We talked to the author and editor of Galactic Atlas, Emil Fortune on Episode 11 of our literature podcast Take Cover, which you can listen to here.

Thank you to Egmont for supplying the book for this review.

 






Entertainment Earth


Brian is an obsessive collector of Star Wars books, comics, and magazines. With a collection extending into the tens of thousands, he is obsessed by variants, and the more obscure a publication the better! Brian is the Literature Editor for Jedi News, and host of the podcast Take Cover on the Jedi News Network.