Book Review: ‘Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga’

Cover art by Brian Rood. (C) 2019 Disney-Lucasfilm Press

On October 1, 2019, with the premiere of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker a little over two months away, Disney-Lucasfilm Press released Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, an illustrated book for young readers that sums up the first eight Episodes in the main Skywalker Saga film series.

Written by Delilah S. Dawson (Star Wars: Phasma, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Black Spire) and illustrated by Brian Rood (Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion and countless other projects related to the franchise), Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a 400-page storybook aimed at readers between the ages of 10 and 14 and – naturally – divided into eight sections, one for each of the films that precede The Rise of Skywalker.

A scene from Return of the Jedi as reimagined by artist Brian Rood. (C) 2019 Disney-Lucasfilm Press

Contents:

Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Page 5)

Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Page 53)

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Page 101)

Episode IV: A New Hope (Page 149)

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (Page 199)

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (Page 249)

Episode VII: The Force Awakens (Page 299)

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (Page 349)

Publisher’s Dust Jacket Blurb

This beautifully illustrated treasury celebrates the stories that make up the greatest saga of all time. New York Times Best-Selling Author, Delilah Dawson, retells Episodes I-VIII through Anakin, Luke, Leia, and Rey’s points of view. Exquisitely bound, with artwork by Brian Rood, this special collection is the perfect gift for Star Wars fans young and old.

My Take

I received my copy of Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga as a Christmas gift from the woman I often refer to in A Certain Point of View, Too as “The Caregiver.” She has known me for almost six years, so she is well aware that I have been a Star Wars fan since I was 14. She usually gives me Star Wars-related gifts; in fact, she is almost single-handedly responsible for getting me to collect Star Wars: The Black Series action figures – The Caregiver, after all, gave me that Star Wars The Black Series Darth Vader (Star Wars 40th Anniversary) and Legacy Pack as a Christmas present back in 2017.

As a storybook for young readers, Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a good book for kids who are casual readers or like books with lots of illustrations. The author, Delilah S. Dawson, wrote the book’s text for children in grades five through nine, although I can’t imagine a high school freshman getting Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga for anything beyond Brian Rood’s almost photorealistic illustrations, which are closely based on images from the eight Star Wars movies that Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga summarizes.

As a middle-aged Star Wars fan who saw the original 1977 film when it was marketed simply as Star  Wars, I have mixed feelings about Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.

On the one hand, Disney-Lucasfilm Press, Delilah S. Dawson, and Brian Rood are to be commended for a worthy effort to get young readers to, well, read books. The dialogue spoken by the characters is derived from the films and doesn’t deviate much from its original sources, so that’s one component of the book that gets props from me.

Back cover illustration by Brian Rood. (C) 2019 Disney-Lucasfilm Press

Another plus is that this is the kind of book that works well for two constituencies – so to speak: parents with kids who are not quite old enough to grasp the subtleties of the Star Wars films on their own but will get more out of the Skywalker Saga if Mom and Dad read this book to them, and children who are just getting into the habit of reading books on their own – that is, if you can get them to put away their smart phones or tablets for more than five minutes.

Also, older readers might find Dawson’s spin on the familiar narrative of the Saga because, unlike the movie novelizations and comic book adaptations, Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga only retells the stories of the first eight Episodes from the “certain points of view” of:

  • Anakin Skywalker
  • Luke Skywalker
  • Leia Organa
  • Rey

That’s not to say that Dawson tells the story in a first-person point of view style for each principal character; her writer’s voice is third-person omniscient), but she doesn’t go into details of the films that the main characters Dawson is focusing wouldn’t know about.

As a result, Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga does have a fresh spin on the eight parts of the series that make up the narrative of the 400-page,  8.6 x 1.35 x 10.8-inch volume.

That having been said, Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a book that I’ll take down from my bookshelf every once in a blue moon, and then only to look at Brian Rood’s illustrations. The text by Delilah Dawson is decent, as far as a book aimed at younger readers is concerned, but it’s just too juvenile-geared for my taste.

Author: Delilah S. Dawson
Cover artist: Brian Rood
Illustrator: Brian Rood
Publisher: Disney–Lucasfilm Press
Release date: October 1, 2019
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781368041539

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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