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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 27 August 2000
A lot was expected from The Phantom Menace - and not just the movie. This was hyped to be the greatest Star Wars experience ever - if not one of the greatest movies of all time. Just as the film itself crashed into our cinemas with all the power of a wet lettuce, so to does Terry Brook's novelisation fail to impress ... on any level. Though the book purports to portray the film's story from young Anakin Skywalker's point of view, it only manages to do so for the first couple of chapters and the final few pages, and dull chapters they are too. The remainder of the novel is disgraced with a lackluster, slapdash retelling of the ... George Lucas screenplay...
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on 8 February 2015
I am a big fan of Star Wars, and when I discovered that there was a series of books based on the iconic films, I was over the moon.

The brilliance of these books, is that our ferocious appetite for more Star Wars content is satisfied. You learn more about each character, especially about Anakin and his life as a slave on Tatooine. The book is thick with descriptions of the different worlds and their occupants, helping you to fully immerse yourself in the story.

I really enjoyed the authors writing style, and I am looking forward to checking out more of his work. I am more excited, though, to read the second book in the series: Episode II - The Clone Wars. If you loved the films, then you will love this book, I cannot recommend it enough!
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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 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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VINE VOICEon 28 September 2001
Having seen the movie and being more than a little bit disappointed in it, I was loath to read the book. But being a fan of Terry Brooks as an author, and spotting this book in a bargin bucket I decided to buy it.... and I would have to say I was glad I did, it is a good novel just a shame it was based on such a poor film.
Terry has worked very hard with the material given to him to insert some grit, emotions and characters into a story that lacked those.... and I would say he has done as good a job as anyone could, whilst keeping it true to the movie. For example Jar Jar is turned from the usless muppet he was, into a scared confused alien, who is way out his depth and struggling to survive. Anakin is given a history in pod racing and also some harder edges, I just wish this could have been carried onto the end of the book.... As for the rest of the characters they are all made more believable except for the "baddies" :(.
Its a great shame Terry wasn't asked to work on the screen play before the movie was made... I am sure he would have made the movie better if he had.....
If you are a fan of the Starwars universe then this book is well worth reading and if you are a fan of Mr Brooks but not Starwars (thou I find that hard to comprehend) I would give this book a miss.
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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 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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