Friday, May 4, 2012

Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary by Ryder Windham

Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary features characters, weapons, tools, creatures, droids, uniforms and places from the world of Star Wars. It allows the reader to see, discover and explore those items all in one place.

I loved this book! It's beautifully presented book with wonderful large photographs, including some from the movies, as well as interesting, informative text. The book is a compilation of four previously published books/dictionaries and is organized into the following sections: Episode I, Episode II, Episode III, Episodes IV-VI.

I was a little disappointed that much of this book deals with the first 3 episodes of the Star Wars saga. Episodes IV-VI are grouped together in one section at the back of the book, while Episodes I-III are presented separately and have many more details. The good news is that this book has expanded sections on R2-D2 and the Sarlacc.

Because of this book is a compilation, there's a little repetition in characters. For example, Anakin Skywalker appears at least three times in different sections. First as a Tatooine slave (page 52, Episode I), then as a Jedi Apprentice/Padawan (page 82, Episode II), and later as Jedi Knight (page 134, Episode III). Of course, he appears two more times as Darth Vader. This repetition is true for other major characters whose roles extend over more than one movie. It's ok the way it is, but I would have preferred it if the authors consolidated information like this and put it all together in a section by itself. In the case of Anakin, it would have reinforced his dramatic changes.

The other thing that I found odd was that other than grouping the information by episode, there didn't seem to be an order to the items. The "dictionaries" that I've encountered in the past have all been alphabetical. This one appears to present the items a in random fashion. It might mean something to someone, but not to me. Either an alphabetical order or an explanation for its present order would have been nice.

A few of the pages in the book stood out as my favorites:
page 30-31 - Queen Amidala's gowns. Stunning!
page 128-129 - lightsaber combat - Interesting.
page 212-215 - heavily annotated and labelled photographs of C-3PO and R2-D2. I love these guys. It was nice to learn more about them.
page 266-267 - Expanded photograph of R2-D2 with tons of extra details. Awesome!

The book contained an extremely detailed table of contents, which I always love to see. The index, however, was less than adequate. I couldn't find everything I wanted to. The glossary, too, was a little sparse for a book this size. This book is pretty much a huge glossary anyway, so that doesn't matter as much. The cover is just terrific! Go wrong with Yoga, you can't.

Highly recommended, this book is. ;)

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.

Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary by David West Reynolds, James Luceno and Ryder Windham, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2006. ISBN 9780756622381(Hardcover), 271p.

For things you can do to celebrate Star Wars Day, see my post here.

For other participating websites, visit the May the 4th Be With You page on DK's website. Scroll down to the bottom.

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