A breakdown of the new book;
1. New Species: Chiss, Duros, and Toydarian are all included. Of the three, Toydarian is the most interesting with low scores in both Brawn and Agility, high scores in both Willpower and Presence, the game's lowest Wound Threshold as well as its highest Strain Threshold, and of course the ability to fly (or hover, at least). Chiss and Duros are both notable in that they have high Intellect scores, which is something none of the Core Rulebook species can say. It's kind of weird that the extra-galactic Chiss are included given that they're only slightly easier than a Jedi to work into the story, but no one can deny their icy appeal. On the other end of the spectrum, the exploratory Duros are an easy fit for any Edge of the Empire campaign and this book in particular. Cad Bane fans rejoice!
2. New Specializations: Archaeologist, Big-Game Hunter, and Driver are probably the biggest additions the game. Archaeologist is like a much tougher version of Scholar with a focus on ancient history, Big-Game Hunter is nearly as combat-oriented as any Bounty Hunter or Hired Gun talent tree, and Driver is a great choice for those who want to master planetary vehicles or just expand their piloting capabilities in general. All three are equally interesting (including Driver, believe it or not), but it's worth noting that Archaeologist gave the book's graphic design manager an excuse to include all sorts of Indiana Jones-inspired art. At least one of the pieces is downright shameless, but it's also so gorgeous you truly won't care.
3. Signature Abilities: Unfortunately, the preview of the book in July lied to me and this book only has Signature Abilities for the Explorer career. Signature Abilities can be added to any talent tree after you've taken the bottom row of talents. They can only be activated once per game session, and even then they require you to flip TWO Destiny Points and perhaps even pass a skill check. It seems that each career will have two Signature Abilities, one of which being some type of narrative boon for roleplaying and the other being some sort of mechanical advantage. For Explorers, this means they can use Sudden Discovery pinpoint their exact location without a map, find a lost item or location, or blaze a fast and safe trail through any terrain (all of which requires a Hard skill check from a small list of skills); or they can use Unmatched Mobility to gain additional maneuvers for a few rounds, allowing them to do things like move, activate an ability, aim, and attack all in the same round (this doesn't require any sort of skill check). All Signature Abilities can be enhanced just like Force powers with low-cost upgrades, granting boons like an additional use of Sudden Discovery or an elongated duration for Unmatched Mobility.
4. New Equipment: Simply put, there's TONS of it, easily something for everybody. New weapons include sniper rifles, long-range stun rifles, grenades that shoot entangling wires, slugthrowers that don't suck, and even goddamn vibro-chainsaws! New armor includes enivro-suits, shockrider crash suits, utility vests, and mountaineer armor. Besides weapons and armor, there are all sorts of gizmos like modular backpacks with extra pouches, life form scanners, portable electric perimeter fences, distress beacons, and even a medical backpack that'll make Gwen Fountain so well equipped she might as well be a walking hospital. And that's just for starters!
5. Other Stuff: Some of the ships, swoop bikes, and droids included here aren't just new to the game, they're new to Star Wars PERIOD (like AT-EDs, which are like person-sized AT-STs). Plus there's lots of info on exploration-themed adventures, encounters, and history. Taken as a whole, this book adds more to Star Wars canon than I've seen out of a Star Wars roleplaying supplement in a number of years.
If I could I'd give this book 3 and 1/2 stars, but just to keep the reputation of the Edge of the Empire game up I'll sick with 4. Everything that's in here is solid and instantly usable, but at less than 100 pages it's also quite brief. Even the shorter books in Saga Edition were a bit longer and packed full of more material. Plus, this book has a really narrow focus on Explorers that makes everything but the new equipment somewhat unexciting to everyone else. My score would go right up to 5 stars had they included at least 3-4 pages of new beasts to hunt, which would not only be thematic to the book but also constructive to the overall Edge of the Empire system (which currently has stats for only mynocks, gundarks, dianogas, and rancors, as far as "monsters" go). But compared to Saga Edition books -- which easily breached $40 a pop -- this one is affordable and fun. GMs looking to expand their library should indulge themselves, and players of Explorer characters should make this their next gaming investment.