Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy by Amy Ratcliffe and various artists
Published October 2018 by Chronicle Books
When I need courage, I’m bolstered by Leia’s no-nonsense attitude and optimism. When I need to speak so people will listen, I’m energised by Padme’s intelligence and commanding presence. When I need to find light in a dark situation, I’m encouraged by Rey’s unflinching kindness and deep strength.
The women of the Star Wars universe are a diverse galaxy of heroes and villains, renegades and rogues, caretakers and, sometimes, unscrupulous scum.
The women of the Star Wars galaxy drive its stories and saga forward at every level. This beautiful book profiles seventy-five fascinating and inspiring characters from across films, fiction, comics, animation and games. Featuring Leia Organa, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Jyn Erso, Rose Tico, Maz Kanata, and many more — including characters from Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars Resistance — Each character is explored through key story beats fresh insights and behind the scenes details from journalist-author Amy Ratcliffe and more than 100 all-new, incredible pieces of artwork from 18 talented female and non-binary artists. The amazing lineup of illustrators includes Alice X. Zhang, Amy Beth Christenson, Annie Stoll, Annie Wu, Christina Chung, Cryssy Cheung, Eli Baum, Elsa Charretier, Geneva B., Jen Aberin Johnson, Jen Bartel, Jenny Parks, Karen Hallion, Little Corvus, Sara Alfageeh, Sara Kipin, Sarah Wilkinson, and Viviane Tanner. Including Jen Bartel’s cover featuring a striking image of Rey. This book is an inspiring celebration of the characters that help create a galaxy far far away.
I had planned to open with an explanation about never having reviewed an art book before even though I own tons of them but upon spending hours upon hours engrossed in this gorgeous book (also, side note – art books have THE BEST new book smell) I realised this isn’t just an art book, it’s a beautiful, chronicle of information and inspiration, with even some of the characters who are considered lesser by some for their short amount of screen time or perceived value in the grand scheme of the Star Wars universe which even alone speaks volumes about this book because this to me, is a message in itself that everyone is important in their own way and deserves to have their stories told.
The art is obviously gorgeous and I really love that we get to see such a varying degree of art styles, techniques, perspectives and mediums used throughout the book, with some characters who have larger written pieces to encompass their deeds etc who have multiple illustrations from different artists which are fantastic to see and absolutely breathtaking.
The writing is interesting and delivers facts and story beats without sounding like just a list of accomplishments being rolled off, each fact or moment is explained well and with just enough detail and then often the consequences of certain actions and how it sometimes goes on to affect the future of the galaxy. If you haven’t seen and/or read every part of the current Star Wars universe there is a potential for spoilers here as mentioned it does include not just the films but the tv shows, books, comics and games.
Not only did I enjoy reading about some of my favourite characters I also learned a lot about ones I haven’t discovered yet as I’m still working my way through “The Clone Wars” tv show at the moment but this has only served to make me more determined to get through it as I’m looking forward to meeting so many of these interesting and sometimes intricate characters. In addition to learning about these new characters I found out a lot of new information about characters I already knew, I especially loved the background on Admiral Holdo from the Princess Leia book by Claudia Grey but even more than just collecting the information from some of the media I haven’t yet got around to there were facts from behind the series as well such as the fact that after seeing her on the front of one of the Star Wars comics, George Lucas decided, very late into post-production on Stars Wars: Attack of the Clones that he wanted to include Aayla Secura who became the films first Twi’lek to be featured in an action-heavy role, not only was she added in last minute but the person chosen to portray Aayla on screen was Amy Allen, production assistant at Industrial Light and Magic who had worked behind the scenes on films like Artificial Intelligence before working on a stage unit for Attack of the Clones. There are plenty more great nuggets of information even for some of the most well informed Star Wars fans out there.
I highly recommend this book to any fans of Star Wars, regardless of gender or knowledge level, its a fascinating and extremely interesting look into a wide range of characters from Jedi or Sith to Rebel or imperial, scavenger, senator or even librarian. There is absolutely something for everyone here and the excited, nervous wait I’ve had since finding out this book was being published feels very much worth it and will easily be a book I’ll be talking about for a long time to come and looking back at often as I take in more of the Star Wars universe.