About a week ago, I picked up and read Amy Ratcliffe’s new book Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy cover to cover in one sitting. The book details the lives of 75 women from all across the Star Wars galaxy, and includes more than 100 new pieces of art form 18 female and non-binary artists.
Though the book may not be filled with much new information about these women, the importance this book will have on generations of Star Wars fans to come, along with the art that fills it, makes it worth the buy.
For years, the only woman in a galaxy far, far, away that young girls had to look up to was Princess Leia Organa. Now, in 2018, we have an abundance of strong, female characters such as Rae Sloane or Hera Syndulla. This book does a great job at stressing how important a role these women play in the galaxy and why there story is just as important as those of Han Solo or Luke Skywalker.
With a fandom as big as Star Wars’ that is continuously growing, it’s important for young women to have these role models that can help them learn the values that the Star Wars franchise as a whole tries to teach. Ciena Ree shows loyalty to the Empire she serves, Ahsoka Tano stands strong in the face of evil, and Leia Organa teaches that there is always hope, even when it is hard to see. These are the values that make Star Wars, and when a young girl can look to the screen, or book, or comic, and place herself in these women’s shoes, I can only assume she feels these values in her as well.
One of my favorite sections of the book comes when Ratcliffe talks about Ahsoka Tano. We all know Ahsoka as a fan favorite, but going back to the Clone Wars movie in 2008, she was hated by the fans. But as the character grew throughout the show, so did her fanbase. We see her go from Snips, the preteen padawan, to Ahsoka Tano, mentor to Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger. She was the first female character that girls could grow up with. We’d seen Leia in three movies, but never got to watch her really grow up. Now, through two shows and a book, young girls have a character they can grow up with, learning the lessons she learns alongside her. Ratcliff’s writing does a great job in conveying this point that up until now, I had really considered.
The art itself is also visually stunning. Some of my favorite pieces were Phasma without her helmet on her home world of Parnassos, Ahsoka standing tall with her white lightsabers ignited, and the cover art of Rey training on Ach-To. While some of the pieces did seem a little too computer generated, most of them were pieces I’d be happy to frame and hang up on my wall.
Overall this book is something that should be celebrated among the Star Wars community and is a easy and terrific read. Amy Ratcliffe does a tremendous job detailing the importance of these women in the galaxy. With the holiday season coming up, this can make a great gift for any Star Wars fan, but especially young women looking to begin their journey into a galaxy far, far, away.