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The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
by Haden Blackman and Ian Fullwood

Published by Del Rey


Michael's Rating:   4 out of 4
Scott's Rating:   3.5 out of 4
Nick's Rating:   3.75 out of 4


This is the second edition of the Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels. It is now updated with ships from The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clones, and the New Jedi Order. Each entry features an isometric view of the ship, text describing its capabilities and background, side and front views, and quotes involving the ships. The Guide also features details on components of Star Wars ships (like hyperdrives, repulsorlifts, etc), a listing of major ship manufacturers, and more. It also features tactical details of some of the major battles from the Star Wars films.



Michael:

    This guide is a very welcome addition to the 'New' series of Essential Guides. What I love about the New additions of each essential guide (the first being 'The New Essential Guide to Characters') is that is laid out in glorious full colour. The difference between this Essential Guide, and the original, is that it has been updated for 'Episode I: The Phantom Menace', 'Episode II: Attack of the Clones', and the latest Expanded Universe material, including the New Jedi Order.

The introduction to the guide is very informative, providing a high-level view on the Vehicles and Vessel culture within the Star Wars universe, ie: the Layperson's Guide to Technology, and the brief rundown of the Major Manufacturers.

The artwork by Ian Fulwood is amazingly stunning. This is the first time that I have seen his work, and I am highly impressed. It was great to finally see pictures of ships that I had only read descriptions about in novels. Now when I read about these ships, I now have something to envision. Equally impressive is the writing by Haden Blackman, who is quickly becoming a fan favourite in Star Wars fandom through his work across numerous genres, ie: comics, video games, etc...

Rounding of the guide is a great set of Appendices, which include an original segment detailing numerous battles in the Star Wars history. To finish off, we have a Hyperdrive Classifications chart, which compares speeds amongst the many ships detailed throughout the Guide.

Overall, I would recommend this Essential Guide as a worthy addition and must have for any Star Wars fans library!


Scott:

    Seeing as how this is the second edition of this book, I was looking to see how it would expand on what was offered in the first edition. After all, I didnít want two of the same book crowding my shelf and draining my wallet. Fortunately, it does have more to offer. Besides adding new drawings of all the vehicles and vessels, it also greatly expands on the content by adding entries for Attack of the Clones, The Phantom Menace, and The New Jedi Order. These additions alone make it worth adding to your Star Wars reference library.

The large color illustrations by Ian Fullwood are quite impressive. I especially like seeing the ships from the novels rendered in 3-D. Itís one thing to read a description of them in text. Itís another thing entirely to see them drawn out.

The book also fills out a lot of other details about the vehicles and vessels. I thought the listing of manufacturers was interesting. Even though Iím familiar with the Star Wars Universe, a lot of them were new to me. And despite the fact that so many ships are covered in depth, there are still a few that were missed. These were picked up, though, in the appendices with brief descriptions and additional smaller illustration. It helps to make this book an even more complete resource on Star Wars ships.

To sum things up, this is a fun book for Star Wars fans and itís worth picking up even if you own the earlier version.


Nick:

    The New Essential Guide to Characters swept me off my feet with its bundle of new content and beautiful illustrations, so needless to say I had high expectations for the second edition of this book. Being the sucker that I am for full-color artwork, it wasnít too hard to do, especially when you toss in new material from The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and The New Jedi Order.

There were many Ďextrasí that added greatly to the quality of this book: A guide to the many manufacturing guilds and conglomerates, a meaty appendix detailing vessels not worthy of a full page of their own, and another appendix outlining the major battles from the films. Also included is a helpful chart comparing hyperdrive classifications, a nice bonus for all the tech-heads out there.



Michael:

    There is not a single thing bad about this Essential Guide that I could find.


Scott:

    My only gripe is that there is no mention of the first appearances of these ships. It makes sense to add it from a reference point of view and it makes sense to add it from a marketing point of view. After all, if you see a new ship and it has a cool background, arenít new readers going to want to go buy a book or comic or game and read more about them?


Nick:

    I was a little disappointed by the appendix covering important battles, although something is better than nothing. I was excited when word first broke on its inclusion in the guide, but I came to find that the actual presentation was a little lackluster. Other than that, and a few small errors, this was an excellent addition to the Essential Guide series and my Star Wars reference library.



Michael:

    Not Applicable.


Scott:

    The Yuuzhan Vong warship is pretty darn ugly.


Nick:

    Iím empty handed on this one, chief.


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