When I first opened Star Wars Galactic Maps: An Illustrated Atlas of the Star Wars Universe I was immediately enamored with the pages. Physically the book’s pages feel amazing. Strong and almost textured, and with illustrations to make them appear weathered and well-used, the pages of Galactic Maps look and feel like you’re reading from an actual ancient work from the Star Wars universe. Add to that the book’s massive size at 15 inches long, and 21 and a half inches when opened, and I felt like I transported to a grand old library in a galaxy far, far, away, reading this.
To say that Galactic Maps sets itself apart from some of the other Star Wars map and guide books available now is simply an understatement. Galactic Maps makes an effort to create an in-universe work with as much interesting detail and information to rival a visual dictionary while also creating for the reader a feeling of looking out through the eyes of a character somewhere in the very galaxy it’s mapping.
No, you won’t find out the exact model number of the type of ship Zam Wessel escaped in when she attempted to assassinate Senator Amidala. And this book doesn’t tell us what type of fruit trees grow on Rodia, but what it does give us is a new way of chronicling the Star Wars story we love and in particularly the Skywalker Saga in a very unique and beautiful way. The introduction to the book sets up the origination of the hand-drawn maps nicely and reminded me a lot of Frank Herbert’s style of referencing in-universe works in his Dune novels.
Galactic Maps chronicles nearly everything you could think of from the Battle of Naboo all the way to the destruction of Starkiller Base, and the illustrations by Tim McDonagh are powerful and immersive. Emil Fortune has added informative and entertaining captions on the map pages that cleverly and successfully make the book feel like it was written by someone infatuated with the tales of theses characters’ adventures. One standout example is the notation that Clone 99 was wise and beloved by his brothers. I learned quite a bit from this book that I wasn’t expecting to find and the way the information was delivered made me smile immensely. My personal favorite maps are Mortis, Mon Cala, and Dathomir.
Star Wars Galactic Maps is in my opinion a must-own work for all Star Wars fans. I find it to be a thoroughly enjoyable read and my kids and I enjoyed sitting down just to look at the masterful drawings together. Gift this to any young Star Wars fans you know as a great introduction to the universe! I would rate it 9/10.