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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 February 2017
Opinion regarding Star Wars Episode 1 "The Phantom Menace" is highly divided. Personally, I enjoyed the cinematic experience of watching the film - although I don't consider it one of the best entries in the saga. I was sufficiently entertained as to order the novelisation of the movie - and, fortunately, it's an enjoyable read. This is a well-written book which provides added depth and detail - both in terms of characters and the broader events they're caught-up in - as compared to the film. If you're a fan of the Star Wars novels then I recommend this item.

The story focuses on two key elements. On the one hand, it's about the setting into motion of the final plans of the Sith lord Darth Sidious - who instigates a trade blockade of a remote planet within the Galactic Republic. This blockade constitutes the central reason for the election of Palpatine as Chancellor. On the other hand, the plot concerns the character of young Anakin Skywalker - who demonstrates such Force potential that he's allowed to join the Jedi Order. Anyone who's seen the original Star Wars trilogy knows that Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, and that Palpatine becomes the Emperor. As such, this is a story of origins ...

There's a lot of political intrigue in the plot. Things are going on that aren't directly covered in the storyline. And the events that we do witness are not as they appear. Yes, there's a "menace" - but the real threat isn't the trade blockade but the mastermind who's controlling everything. As such, what the Jedi get involved in is merely a "phantom" - an set of illusory circumstances that, ultimately, will lead to their downfall. This, then, is a complex narrative - and certainly not the standard stuff of sci-fi. Personally, I enjoyed this deeper meaning to the story. But I can understand how it might put some readers off.

Overall, this book serves to provide a broad introduction to the wider Star Wars universe. It's rather different than one might imagine, if you're only familiar with the original trilogy of films. If you're willing to embrace this larger reality then I think you'll enjoy this novel.

Note: I ordered a hardback edition and received a paperback copy. If you're after hardback then I suggest contacting the seller and ensuring that you'll receive the correct version.
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on 19 August 2015
Once again the saying that "the book is always better than the film" is true once again however it's not often that this relates to a book based off a film instead of vice verca. Terry Brooks has done a fantastic job in translating George Lucas' screenplay into a novel. We get a deeper insight into the feelings of main characters during important events of the story including motives for actions and reactions to unexpected events. Qui-Gon feels like he actually has a personality and Obi-Wan is allowed to have his own perspective instead of feeling like Qui-Gon's lackey as the movie seemed to imply in my opinion. Anakin is no longer annoying and whiny, also the addition of not having to suffer bad acting in a book truly is a godsend and Anakin becomes a likeable character. The same cannot be said, however, for the infamous Jar Jar Binks. Brooks almost does too good of a job in this instance as Jar Jar is pretty much the exact same as he is in the movie. I tried and tried to put a different and more tolerable voice on Jar Jar but the "exsqueez me's" and the "okeday's" just crept through. This was the only bad point of the book and not Terry Brooks fault as he was only copying the monstrosity that Lucas created. All in all though this is a fantastic book and has a lot more charm than the film did. I recommend it to all those who can tolerate just a few pages of Jar Jar and if you do you will be rewarded with a fantastic story.
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on 16 July 2013
Let's face it - Star Wars Episode I was never the greatest Star Wars film. In fact, short of Caravan of Courage (a rare Ewok special that I've downloaded but never watched), it's probably the worst one out there. In many ways, it's unfortunate for Brooks that his source material wasn't of a higher standard - he's even forced to phonetically replicate the jarring speech of Jar Jar Binks. Meesa reviewa.

If you can get past that, and the fact that if you've seen the film, you already know what's going to happen, it's not actually that bad - I mean, I wouldn't re-read it, but it's better than some novelisations I could mention (*cough* Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure *cough), and at least it's based upon the original screenplay by George Lucas.

Having said that, there are better Star Wars novels out there, and I'm particularly keen on the original series that were created and the work of Kevin J. Anderson. Brooks isn't a bad writer - in fact, he's competent, and there's nothing technically wrong with The Phantom Menace, but there are just better books out there, and I encourage you to go out there and discover them.

I can at least say one thing positive about Brooks' writing - it's vivid and evocative, and you can visualise the scenes and the characters as he talks about them. But in some ways, that's a problem - it's so similar to the film that there's no real use for your own imagination, and that's half the joy of reading.

I've given this a bad review and I really didn't want to because I feel like I ought to like it - I just don't, and I'm worried that you might feel the same. If you loved the film, you'll like the book.
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on 26 July 1999
Terry Brooks has definately captured the magic of Star Wars here in a top class novelisation of the film. Unlike most film novelisations, The Phantom Menace actually reads like a novel, rather than someone describing what they are seeing on the screen, which unfortunately happens in many screen adaptions. The action and technology is described in just enough detail to keep you engaged, but the only problem I had with this book is that it was over too quickly. (I've got rather used to reading other Terry Brooks books - at least an inch and a half thick). Looking forward to the next installment!
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on 6 May 1999
After 16 years, the new installment of George Lucas's space opera unveils itself onto the big screen with the largest (Dolby EX-enhanced) bang the film world has ever seen. I pity the author who, upon taking the screenplay, shooting script and 'Whills' notes from Lucas, attempts to convey the sense of majesty and epic nature of The Phantom Menace without the use of state-of-the-art CGI that so aids the storytelling on the big screen.
Brooks has done a good job here, although you feel that he is never happy writing in a fantasy world that is not of his own design. The story is followed faithfully (as checked by reading through the Illustrated Screenplay) with a few deviations, although perhaps not as deep a background to the story as one would hope for in a novel based on such a rich fantasy landscape.
The narrative is compelling, and I found myself finishing the book in one sitting, although two possible reasons are : 1. The simplicity of the writing style and 2. My infatuation with the subject material. All things considered, I would therefore strongly recommend this book to all fans of both the film series (it *really is* a new Star Wars episode!!), and of the sci-fi genre in general, although I am convinced that the author would have performed better without the limitations imposed by writing in such a 'franchised' universe, such as Star Wars. To anyone coming to the Star Wars novels for the first time? Yeeeeah, it's not bad....but I'd try Timothy Zahn's books first.
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on 29 June 1999
A couple of days ago, I was reading this book, when a friend came in, and upon noticing what I was reading said "Would you like to know how the new Star Wars film finishes?" "No No!" I cried as I was only half way throught the book. "Well you shouldn't have seen Return of the Jedi then, should you!" he laughed, and made a quick exit. I could only laugh, as of course The Phantom Menace is the prequel for the Original Star Wars Trilogy. Of course all die-hard fans know that there are a total of 9 films in the saga, but of course that George Lucas has had enough so far, and will not be making any more after Episode III has been released (Or so he says!). But anyway back to the book... The Phantom Menace (TPM) is a strange title, especially since the previous titles for the Star Wars films have been so awe-inspiring, and full of hope (in fact the first film was sub-titled "A New Hope"!). So I was a little on edge when I first came to read it. But being a die-hard fan I was not put off. The plot comes through very quickly and the book actually releases more to the audience than I think the film will. (Not seen that yet!) The basic premise is, if you don't already know, that the Trade Federation, a part of the Galatic Republic, has put up a blockade around the peaceful planet of Naboo. Two Jedi Knights, Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master Qui-Gon Jinn have been sent by the Chancellor of the Republic to soothe the situation. Of course things don't go to plan and soon the Trade Federation is landing its Robots on the surface and conquering Naboo. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan escape to the planets surface, meet up with the ruler, one young Queen Amidala, and escape the planet, but not before blowing the hyperdrive (sound familiar!). This leads them to Tatooine (surely you've been here before?) In a small township, called Mos Espa, the group encounter a young slave boy, Anakin Skywalker, and after he wins the Pod race they take him with them. Anakin shows his technical aptitude (which will be seen in his future grandson, Anakin (from the new Han Solo Trilogy), and builds a protocol droid, called C-3PO. And aboard the Naboo ship is a small droid called R2-D2. A small coincidence you may think, or not! Eventually the Jedi and Naboo group make their way to Coruscant, the Republic's capitol. where we meet the Naboo senator, Palpatine. (You get the feeling that this is leading somewhere...) Now, so as not to spoil the rest of the book/film, I will skip a bit here, and say that everything turns out right in the end. Now we are all conjecturing on the next film, due to be arriving within the next millenia, but it took a good 4 year between episodes IV and V, so hopes are waining. The new film could contain anything from the Clone Wars (Good way to go) to the relationship between Amidala and Anakin (Offspring needed?) So I will just rate this as a very good read, but probabaly best to do so after the film, so as not to spoil the SFx. I would also recommend playing the Adventure and Satr Wars Racer form Lucas Arts. They both portray aspects of the book that I enjoyed, and the Adventure game goes into more depth surrounding the locations seen in the film.
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on 15 May 2015
Well, here we have the novelisation of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace - widely regarded as the turkey of the Star Wars films, if I'm not wrong? In contrast to the charismatic performances of the original trilogy, the Phantom Menace moview seemed lumbered by rather stilted acting as the cast struggled in a green-screen, subordinate to the great dollops of CGI that Lucas was going to be inserting around them. (And that's before we even get started on the annoying realisations of Jar Jar Binks the 'comedy' dufus and that irritating little brat Annikan Skywalker...) However luckily with the novel, you are blissfully free of all this: instead you get the story itself and can use your own imagination to animate the characters. Whilst Terry Brooks' prose isn't going to win any awards, if you're interested in the Star Wars story itself, you'll probably enjoy having it told here. Quite a few little points that are glossed over in the movie are subtley expanded on in this book. Don't expect huge digressions into back story, but more a choice few extra 'deleted and extended scenes'.
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on 12 January 2002
As a Star Wars fanatic I was quite dissapointed with the movie. It seemed more like a large mass of computer generated effects than the beginning of the Star Wars saga. This book brings out the story commenting on the emotions of characters and a background on the situation shown in the story. I reccomend this to all Star Wars fans and also reccomend reading "Attack Of The Clones" before viewing it at the cinema.
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on 25 May 2014
This is a review of the abridged audiobook on CD
I recently re-read the book after seeing the film on TV again. I have to say that the book is better than the film. It takes you to meet Anakin Skywalker, Watto etc before they meet Qui Gon and Padme and you get a better understanding of irritants such as Jar Jar Binks. The abridged audiobook is spread over three CDs. What I like about this book is it seems to be half way to being a radio series. There isn't a cast just a narrator; but he is ably supported by accompanying sound effects of light sabres, R2D2, laser blasts, pod racer engines, explosions etc. The audiobook begins with the Star Wars main theme which is an unexpected bonus. What detracts from this audiobook is some of the voice characterisations. The ones that annoy are Jar Jar Binks and Yoda. They are valiant attempts but they fail to hit the mark which is a pity because otherwise the characterisations are good in general. Despite being abridged the story flows nicely, the words are clearly spoken; and it is easy on the ear. I would recommend the abridged audiobook for those who want to absorb the Star Wars experience in a palatable bite sized chunk and don't have much time to read books. This audiobook could have been improved if this had been a full radio series (as episodes 4, 5 and 6 are).That notwithstanding it was a good companion while driving.
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on 7 May 1999
I got this book because I simply could not wait until the SW-Day. This book is very easy to read with a simple and concise description of the characters and scenery. You could picture the imagery and the characters in your mind. It gave a good description of Anakin's personality and you could see the start of his descent into the dark side. I think it could have concentrated a little more on obi-wan kenobi, especially as we already knows that he is going to be present throughout episodes 2 and 3. Also there were some places where you were practically screaming 'He's a Jedi, if I can figure it out, surely he can'. As for the evil Sith lord - Darth Maul - I just didn't feel any sort of intimidation, that i felt with Darth Vader. I think that this book is a good read, but not really one that deserves to be on the best seller list and is probably just another way a spinning even more money for Lucas. The film will definitely be better
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