Review: The Galactic Explorers Guide

The Galactic Explorers Guide (Hardcover)

Author: Jason Fry

Publisher: Carlton Books

Pages: 144

Release: November 14 2019 (UK), December 20 2019 (USA)

This fact-packed book-plus-app is an interactive guide to key planets from the Star Wars galaxy. It contains plenty of information, photographs and diagrams on the page, and the latest Augmented Reality technology brings many interactive elements to enhance the reading experience.

A decade ago author Jason Fry brought Star Wars fans the fantastic Essential Atlas. Now, he brings us The Galactic Explorers Guide, which is aimed at a younger audience.

The book functions as (the title spoils it) a travel guide, but with planets seen in the Star Wars movies.

It is split in no less than six sections:

  • The Interior (Corellia, Coruscant, Jakku)
  • The Slice (Kashyyyk, Tatooine, Geonosis, Kessel)
  • New Territories (Yavin 4)
  • Trailing Sectors (Naboo)
  • Western Reaches (Bespin, Hoth, Mustafar)
  • Unknown Regions (Endor, Starkiller Base, Batuu)

As you can see from the list several planets from the Star Wars universe are missing but do appear on the various maps inside. Every planet (as well as its main inhabitants, important characters, places of interest and vehicles) is briefly described and comes with several images. Besides all this, there are several comments from a new droid (named DK-RA-43) throughout the book. This droid functions as the fictional author of this guide.

As a bonus, this book can be read by using a (free) app which brings many interactive elements and games in AR (Augmented Reality). Since images can sometimes say more than a thousand words just have a look at this promotional video that gives you an example of what the app can do:

The good part is that this experience will surely impress younger readers. The bad part is that you need a specific device to actually use the app. The first wo devices I installed it on -a Samsung Galaxy phone and a brand new Galaxy tablet- didn’t have the requirements for the app (Android 7.0 plus Google ARCore v1.7 OR iOS 11.3, iPhone SE and iPad 5th generation).

Is the book worth it? A lot depends if you have a device on which you can install the app since that’s the most important thing about this book. With the app, The Galactic Explorers Guide offers a lot of fun for younger fans. Older Star Wars fans will find little to no new stuff in this book, but for young ones this is thanks to the app and the many colorful images a perfect reference to easily and playfully learn and discover a lot about the Star Wars universe.