Review: Star Wars: Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual

book reviews, suvudu, uncategorized


Written by Ryder Windham with artwork by Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas, the Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual is an in-depth exploration of the systems and structures of the Imperial DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, the Death Star.

This book follows on the heels of the previous Haynes-styled Star Wars vehicle book, the Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual, which was released in 2012 by the same creative team.

The Manual is divided into 11-sections:

  • The History of the Death Star
  • Death Star
  • Weapons & Defensive Systems
  • Energy & Propulsion
  • Hangar Bays
  • City Sprawls & Trenches
  • Security Sector
  • Service & Technical Sectors
  • Command Sector
  • Death Star II
  • Size Comparison Chart

The book’s visuals are a mixture of still shots taken from the films, matte paintings and artwork created for the films, new artwork created for this project and diagram/schematics created for the books.

The written content of the book is a mixture of first-person accounts through the use of journal entries and more encyclopedic approach to the majority of the text.

Some things that really stuck out to me is that there seems to be a lot of stuff involving recreation from the novel Death Star that didn’t get included in this book. I can think of an in-universe reason for this but it struck me as odd given that the novel itself was specifically mentioned by Windham at the end of the book.

I will say that probably my favorite portion of the book was the section(pg. 106-107) on the Death Star’s conference room.  This section is the perfect balance of text and visuals and deals with a very interesting scene from A New Hope and adds depth to that scene.

Admittedly I think the Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual is a better book overall, but I think that is due more to the subject matter than the authorship or artwork. A heavily modified smugglers ship is just a little more interesting and easy to conceptualize than a giant battle station which features a rather symmetrical and repeating design pattern.

I did notice a couple rather obvious typos in the book, but overall the writing flows well and adds a level of depth to our knowledge about the Death Star that makes this book a valuable reference source to anyone writing about that station or similar super-weapons within the Star Wars universe.

With a MSRP of $30.00 I am not sure if I would pick up the book, but if you can find it on sale at places like which currently has it on sale at $18.98 then I can heartily endorse it at that price point.

For more on the book visit Random House’s book page.

Editor’s Note: A review copy of this book was provided to the author by the publisher.