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With everything that goes on in the Xenaverse, sometimes it can get to be pretty tough keeping up with everything. Also, there are the rerun doldrums, A.K.A. Xena Withdrawl Syndrome. So how does a Rabid Xenite keep up with the all the Warrior Princess's adventures? Through books, of course!

So here are my never-so-humble opinions regarding some of the tomes of the Xenaverse. On a personal note, I tend to be rather cautious of Unofficial books. And, well, since it's my hard earned money that's buying the books listed here, don't always expect this to be a complete listing. Now, if you happen to have an opinion on something you don't see here, I would be more than glad to post someone else's review along with my own. Just write to me at the address listed at the bottom of the page.

The Official Guide to the Xenaverse
by Robert Weisbrot
ISBN 0385491360

Okay, so you'd have to be living under a rock not to have heard something about this book. Most of the opinions have been favorable, though I have seen folks who haven't been too impressed with the book.

I, however, am impressed. Weisbrot shows a deep love of the show through his words. He dug up a lot of information on the show, some of it easily available on the internet, but a lot of it wasn't. He conducted interviews with not only the cast, but also the crew, giving us insight into details like set construction and costuming.

And even more impressive is the episode guide. Not only does it include the cast list, an episode summary, "mythic connections," and episode highlights, but each one also has a "Lucy's Take" section, where we get to read what Lucy thought of each episode. (Guess what? She was about as impressed with Ulysses as a lot of the fans were!) And the text is well illustrated with photos from the show as well as quotes and disclaimers from various episodes.

Is It Worth It?: You betcha! At $14, with over 200 pages full of all kinds of info not seen anywhere else, and all in one handy book, this one's a keeper. I'd like to see a sequel done with an updated episode guide and maybe a "Renee's Take" section, along with Lucy's, included. If you haven't bought it yet, go out and buy it right now!

Xena: All I Need to Know I Learned From the Warrior Princess
by Gabrielle, Bard of Poteidaia
as translated by Josepha Sherman
ISBN 0671023896

Do you remember, ages ago, when the official Xena page at Universal Studios had the Xena Scrolls? Do you wish they would bring them back?! Yeah, me too. But since it doesn't look like they will anytime soon, Pocket Books was kind enough to give us a substitute.

Xena: All I Need to Know... isn't presented as the discussions of scholars. Instead, it is the translation of all, or at least some of, those scrolls Janice Covington and Mel Pappas found on that infamous dig in Macedonia. The scrolls help us see a lot more of what makes the Bard of Poteidaia tick, and how she has evolved from the innocent young girl who never left her village.

In brief sections (with titles like "War May Be Hell, But He's Got Great Pecs" and "Beauty May Be Only Skin Deep, But Who Wants To Walk Around In Her Bare Bones?"), the book provides some insight into why Gabrielle has done some of the things she's done and what life was really like travelling with the Warrior Princess.

Is It Worth It?: With a $12 price tage, the book's a little thin for the money. Okay, a lot thin! It's only 128 pages, with 8 pages of black and white photos, and many of those pages only have a quote from the show. However, the content that is there is great, and well worth a read. Just try to make sure you don't pay full price for it.

Battle On! An Unauthorized, Irreverant Look at Xena: Warrior Princess
by Greg Cox
ISBN 0451457315

I took a leap of faith with this one. Like I said earlier, I tend to stay away from things with "unauthorized" in the title. Too many authors take that word as a license to totally screw up the facts. I did, however, hear good things about this one, and Greg Cox gets bonus points in my book for having the good taste to be on the Chakram mailing list.

I was happily surprised to see the book had been well researched, and I didn't find any glaring errors. The various blurbs are amusing. And the episode guide is quite exhaustive, including the animated movie and Xena's appearances on Hercules, all the way through the end of season 3. Also part of the episode guide are the "Reality Check" section and a rating. And Cox points out that he (wisely) doesn't expect everyone to agree with his ratings. (Okay, am I the only one out there who actually likes King Con?)

Is It Worth It?: Well, it depends. Battle On! has the most up-to- date episode guide in book form available. However, that's pretty much the whole book. There's not a lot else in there that the Rabid Xenite doesn't already know. So if you really want an exhaustive episode guide, and don't mind paying $11.95 for it, then the book certainly is worth it. However, if you're looking for new material and facts you haven't seen before, this may not be the book for you.

Sheroes: Bold, Brash (and Absolutely Unabashed) Superwomen: From Susan B. Anthony to Xena
by Varla Ventura
ISBN 157324188

Sheores isn't really a Xena book, despite her mention in the title (and isn't it a long one!). However, I'm including it here for a couple of reasons. One, it does have Xena in the title. Two, it strikes me as the type of book that Xena fans might be interested in.

Sheroes chronicles women heroes from Ancient times to the so-called "Celluloid Sheroes." It's good to see women who fought for what they believed in recognized for their efforts. And I learned about people I had never heard of, and learned things I didn't know about some of those that I had heard of. (Did you know that Marie Curie and her daughter Irene Joliot-Curie are the only mother/daugher recipients of a Nobel Prize?) And the section of Celluloid Sheroes does talk about our Warrior Princess, not to mention her TV ancestresses.

Is It Worth It?: For those only interested in Xena stuff, probably not. But for those who have become interested in other, real-life Warrior Princesses, this is a good starting point. Be warned, though, that parts of the book are a bit disjointed, especially in the section on ancient Warrior Women. And the book is by no means an exhaustive listing, nor is it intended to be. It makes a good beginning book, but if you already know which ancient women interest you, Sheroes probably wouldn't be worth the $16.95 pricetag to you.

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This page last modified November 12, 1998.
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