While we all know that Star Wars started with the movies and eventually branched off to the series and video game formats, it has also been very popular in the world of books. Most of the Star Wars books that were popular during the pre-Disney acquisition are now Legends and are no longer canon, but they paved the way for the rise of the popularity of the Star Wars books. Now, there are a lot of great Star Wars stories that you can only appreciate and know more about in the books.
Of course, we are talking about the canon books that further expand the stories of the characters we’ve met throughout the long history of Star Wars. It is only by reading these books that we get to see the stories behind some of our favorite characters and what ultimately allowed them to make the decisions they made. So, with that said, let’s look at all of the best Star Wars books that every fan should read.
20. ‘The Light of the Jedi’ (2021) by Charles Soule
Many of the Star Wars books that were written during the Disney era took place during the High Republic era of the Star Wars universe. This era took place centuries before the original Star Wars movies, and that means there was yet to be anything related to the Skywalker Saga of Star Wars. And the Jedi were at the height of their powers during the High Republic era.
In ‘The Light of the Jedi,’ we see the story of an important event called the Great Disaster, which threatened to tear the galaxy apart. The Jedi, of course, were tasked to prevent the Great Disaster from doing more damage to the galaxy. And it is also in this book that we get to meet the Nihil, a powerful group of pirates that were strong and numerous enough to give the Jedi Order plenty of trouble during the High Republic era.
19. ‘Aftermath: Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (2015) by Chuck Wendig
We know that the gap between ‘Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi’ and ‘Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ is huge, and there are a lot of stories that can be told in that big time skip as far as the current canon is concerned. In that regard, the Aftermath series sought to tell the stories that happened after the death of Emperor Palpatine in ‘Return of the Jedi’ because the Empire didn’t just fall apart suddenly.
Aftermath tells the story of how a rebel fighter named Norra Wexley was forced to return to action because the Empire was still active even after the death of Palpatine. She was given a mission to try to stop a plot by the Imperial remnants still actively fighting the Rebel Alliance in the wake of the Emperor’s death. And this book is only the first of an entire trilogy that tells the story of the events that led to the eventual fall of the Empire years before ‘The Force Awakens.’
18. ‘Life Debt: Aftermath’ (2016) by Chuck Wendig
As mentioned, the story of Star Wars continued with the Aftermath series as the fall of the Empire was yet to happen even after Palpatine’s death. ‘Life Debt’ continues the Aftermath series, as this book focuses on Han Solo and Chewbacca. Solo has an outstanding debt to Chewy, meaning he has to go to Kashyyyk to liberate it from the Imperial remnants still holding the planet even though the Emperor is already dead.
Of course, we also get to see more of Norra’s story in this book as she is set to pursue Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, who was still one of the most powerful Imperial leaders that were at large. Norra believes Sloane was searching for a way to destroy the New Republic and help the Empire return to power. However, Norra’s hunt is cut short when Leia Organa tells her to help Han liberate the world of Kashyyyk, especially after an ambush led to the capture and disappearance of Solo and Chewy.
17. ‘Empire’s End: Aftermath’ (2017) by Chuck Wendig
The entire storyline of the Aftermath series ends with ‘Empire’s End,’ which tells the story of the complete downfall of the Empire and the rise of the New Republic. In this book, the hunt for Grand Admiral Rae Sloane continues, as Norra Wexley is now out for revenge after her husband was used as an assassin in Sloane’s plans. In that regard, she hunts down Gallius Rax to the barren world of Jakku because he is the mastermind of the Empire’s attack.
Rax is preparing to execute the final order Palpatine gave him before the Emperor’s death. But Norra and the other Rebels are now looking to destroy the Empire once and for all. This leads to a massive battle in Jakku, which we all know was the world where Rey grew up. ‘Empire’s End’ explains why plenty of destroyed ships were left behind on Jakku, as this planet became a haven for scavengers.
16. ‘The Rising Storm’ (2021) by Cavan Scott
‘The Rising Storm’ is another book set during the era of the High Republic, as it allows us to see more of the heroism of the Jedi Order following the events of the Great Disaster. In this book, the Supreme Chancellor plans on holding the Republic Fair to showcase the possibilities of peace in an expanding Republic, especially after the establishment of the Starlight Beacon. And the Jedi were, of course, the ones tasked to protect this peace and order.
However, the Nihil were still active and were looking to make a mess of things in the Republic. Their leader, Marchion Ro, is desperate to destroy the peace of the Republic. As such, he and his army of pirates descend on the Republic Fair. And in the wake of this attack, the Jedi are tasked to get to the bottom of the plans of the Nihil to ensure that the galaxy’s peace would never be disturbed.
15. ‘The Fallen Star’ (2022) by Claudia Grey
‘The Fallen Star’ is another book that came straight out of the High Republic era of Star Wars. It is set during the events of the other High Republic books on this list as the Republic and the Jedi Order are still trying to solve the issues regarding the Nihil and their attacks. In ‘The Fallen Star,’ the focus is shifted to the Starlight Beacon, an important installation for the Republic due to how important it was for expanding the Republic’s territories.
After the attacks of the Nihil, the Starlight Beacon acted as a star in the dark sky because it sheltered the refugees looking to find safe haven from the Nihil. However, Marchion Ro, the mastermind of the Nihil attacks, is looking to snuff out the light of the Jedi. And his eyes are set on the Starlight Beacon, a symbol of hope and peace for the entire galaxy.
14. ‘Into the Dark’ (2021) by Claudia Grey
More High Republic-era stories are told in ‘Into the Dark’ as this book follows the story of a young Padawan named Reath Silas, who was sent from the capital world of Coruscant to an undeveloped world. However, he wasn’t happy because he preferred to stay at the Jedi Temple to learn more about the Jedi’s history. And the bigger problem was that he encountered some trouble on the way to that planet when his ship got knocked out of hyperspace.
Reath was forced into action when a huge disaster knocked him out of hyperspace. In that regard, he and his companions find shelter in an abandoned space station. But weird things started happening, which led him and his allies to learn the truth behind this mysterious space station.
13. ‘Queen’s Shadow’ (2020) by EK Johnston
We all met Padmé Amidala in the events of ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,’ where she was secretly the Queen of Naboo. Of course, the monarchy in Naboo works differently because the queen is elected into office. And just after the events of ‘The Phantom Menace,’ Padmé decided to step down from her elected position.
Despite stepping away from the world of politics for a while, Padmé was asked by the new queen to become Naboo’s representative in the Galactic Senate now that the former senator, Sheev Palpatine, had already been elected as the new Supreme Chancellor. So, in a sense, the book is a prequel to the events that transpired in ‘Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones,’ as we see more of how Padmé learned how to navigate the tough waters of the political river.
12. ‘Queen’s Peril’ (2020) by EK Johnston
At 14, Padmé Amidala was named the new Queen of Naboo and was one of the youngest queens in this system’s history. However, at that age, she already understood that her position came with dangers she needed to avoid. That was when she hired the services of skilled handmaidens, who became her assistants, protectors, and decoys.
In that regard, ‘Queen’s Peril’ is a prequel to the events of ‘The Phantom Menace’ because the book talks about events related to Padmé’s early days as the Queen of Naboo. And it also talks about how she could choose trusted handmaidens that served her loyally throughout their lives.
11. ‘Queen’s Hope’ (2022) by EK Johnston
The final installment of the Padmé Amidala books talks about the events surrounding the aforementioned character’s life during the events of the Clone Wars. As a wartime senator, life wasn’t easy for her because she needed to learn how to navigate the political waters flowing during one of the toughest moments in the galaxy’s history. More importantly, she also needed to learn how to stand alone without her secret husband, Anakin Skywalker, who was fighting during the Clone Wars.
So, in that regard, Padmé is now living through a difficult moment that tests her mettle as a peace-loving senator. But when she was needed for a secret mission, her handmaiden Sabé was forced to step into her role again. And that was when Sabé was placed in a situation where she was able to learn more about just how dark and despicable the machinations in the Galactic Senate were, as it was clear that she wasn’t ready for the world of politics despite playing the role of Padmé’s decoy for years already.
10. ‘Padawan’ (2022) by Kiersten White
Obi-Wan Kenobi’s story has always been one of the most popular ones in the history of Star Wars because he is often considered the truest Jedi Master ever. Of course, this means that his story needed to be told more and more, especially when he had a backstory that wasn’t completely explored by the movies. In that regard, ‘Padawan’ seeks to tell the story of Kenobi’s days when he was still just installed by Qui-Gon Jinn’s side as a Padawan learner.
As young as Obi-Wan was in this book, he had the same kind of brashness and headstrong nature that he saw in Anakin Skywalker. He left on a mission without Qui-Gon Jinn after thinking his master had abandoned him. Kenobi found himself on a planet with Force-wielding teenagers, and he could not help but find himself belonging on that planet. But the problem was that he couldn’t escape the feeling that there was something wrong with that planet, as he now had to navigate through growing attachments and a looming threat that could very well make him doubt whether or not he was actually meant for the life of a Jedi.
9. ‘Thrawn: Alliances’ (2018) by Timothy Zahn
‘Thrawn Alliances’ is part two of the Thrawn Trilogy book that Timothy Zahn wrote after Grand Admiral Thrawn was introduced to the Star Wars canon world. The book is set during the reign of the Empire, and just shortly after, he was elevated to the status of Grand Admiral. Thrawn, however, must go on a mission to a new, strange planet that can be dangerous to him and the Empire.
On this mission, he was tasked to work with none other than Darth Vader, who wasn’t entirely sure of Thrawn’s motives and reliability. But Thrawn quickly realized that Vader was Anakin Skywalker, whom he had the pleasure of working with years ago during the Clone Wars. In that regard, Thrawn now has to form an unlikely alliance with Darth Vader as the two learn to respect each other’s skills and talents as servants of the Empire.
8. ‘Thrawn: Treason’ (2019) by Timothy Zahn
‘Thrawn: Treason’ is the final installment of Timothy Zahn’s canon Thrawn Trilogy set during the Empire era. The book continues from where ‘Alliances’ left off, as we now see Thrawn becoming more and more favored by Emperor Palpatine. The only problem is that he is now forced to make a tough decision, especially when his loyalty to the Emperor is now on the line.
His protégé tells him that something has happened in the Chiss Ascendancy and that he needs to return to his people. But he knows he swore his loyalty to the Emperor years ago after joining the Empire. In that regard, he has to choose between two difficult options. And choosing one over the other could very well lead to treason.
7. ‘Dark Disciple’ (2015) by Christie Golden
The story of ‘Dark Disciple’ follows the journey of two characters given their own fair share of screen time during the events of ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars.’ First off, we have Asajj Ventress, who used to be Dooku’s apprentice before she left the life of a Sith disciple after her master betrayed her. Then there is Jedi Master Quinlan Vos, a particularly rebellious Jedi we saw only a few times in ‘The Clone Wars.’
So, while the stories of Ventress and Vos weren’t concluded in ‘The Clone Wars,’ Dark Disciple allowed us to see what happened to them. Vos ended up falling to the dark side during the storyline as he was set to assassinate Count Dooku to end the war. He is assisted by Ventress, who also wants to assassinate her former master. In that regard, they begin a relationship that concludes the story of one of these characters, as it was such a shame that this was never animated in ‘The Clone Wars.’
6. ‘Ahsoka’ (2016) by EK Johnston
The ‘Ahsoka’ novel by EK Johnston shows us the life and struggles of Ahsoka Tano during the earlier days of the Empire. As a survivor of Order 66, Ahsoka needs to find her own path in life so that she doesn’t get caught up in the affairs of the Empire, as she is no longer a Jedi. That was why she decided to live a rural life far from the eyes of the Empire. As such, we learn more about Ahsoka’s points of view in life and the things she went through after the fall of the Jedi Order.
Ahsoka, of course, was forced into action when her friends were in trouble. As such, the book also covers the events that eventually led her to return as a Jedi fighting for other people’s freedom in the galaxy. In fact, a portion of this book was adapted into the final episode of ‘Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi,’ wherein we saw Ahsoka’s rural life on Raada before she fought and defeated the Inquisitor that hunted her down.
5. ‘Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising’ (2020) by Timothy Zahn
‘Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising’ is the first book of the Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy. The storyline takes place years before Thrawn joined the Empire. Back then, he was still just a young and upstart military commander for the Chiss Ascendancy, an independent system operating in the Unknown Regions of Space. But when the Chiss Ascendancy saw an unknown threat that could very well shake the foundations of their government, Thrawn was called into action.
At that time, Thrawn was still quite young and inexperienced. Nevertheless, he already showcased the mind of a strategic and tactical genius. He was the only one capable of solving the mystery behind the unknown threat that sought to destroy the Chiss Ascendancy from within.
4. ‘Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good’ (2021) by Timothy Zahn
After Thrawn’s triumph in ‘Chaos Rising,’ he returns for the second part of the Thrawn Ascendancy series, ‘Greater Good.’ In this storyline, Thrawn understands that the true threat is yet to be defeated despite giving honor to Chiss Ascendancy and his family. And that’s because he is dealing with an unknown threat that the Chiss Ascendancy has never seen.
In that regard, this threat is looking to destroy the Chiss Ascendancy from the inside, as Thrawn and the Expansionary Defense Fleet are now looking to learn more about this unknown threat. The enemy strikes at the foundation of the Ascendancy, and that’s why this is a threat that will be very difficult for Thrawn to stop. And the worst part is that the threat seeks to pit family against family to ultimately force the Chiss Ascendancy down the path of ruin.
3. ‘Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil’ (2021) by Timothy Zahn
‘Lesser Evil’ is the final installment of the popular Thrawn Ascendancy series by Timothy Zahn. The story now revolves around the problems in the Chiss Ascendancy after the events of ‘Greater Good.’ And it is now up to Thrawn to try to make sure that the Ascendancy doesn’t fall into ruin after the seeds of discord were sown in the previous book.
While the Chiss Ascendancy has always been a peaceful system ruled by the Nine Ruling Families, the myth behind one of the most powerful ruling families was slowly getting unearthed. As such, dark secrets about the past started to reveal themselves. In Thrawn’s part, he now has to choose between the Chiss Ascendancy’s future and a family’s legacy. And ensuring peace in the system would require him to dive deep into the ascension of one of the most powerful families in the Chiss Ascendancy.
2. ‘Master & Apprentice’ (2019) by Claudia Grey
Not much has been revealed about the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn, but ‘Master & Apprentice’ seeks to allow readers to learn more about the relationship between these two. The book takes place right around eight years before the events of ‘The Phantom Menace,’ and that means that Obi-Wan is still quite young in this book.
‘Master & Apprentice’ allows us to learn more about Qui-Gon Jinn’s mind while he was still learning more about the Prophecy of the Chosen One. In the middle of all that, Obi-Wan Kenobi is learning more about the Living Force and what it means to be a true Jedi. So, in a sense, the book serves as a prequel to the events of ‘The Phantom Menace.’
1. ‘Thrawn’ (2017) by Timothy Zahn
Arguably the best canon Star Wars book ever written is ‘Thrawn,’ a novel Timothy Zahn wrote to expand Grand Admiral Thrawn’s story after he was introduced as a canon character in ‘Rebels.’ The book takes place during the time of the Empire and before ‘Rebels.’ And it seeks to allow us to understand how Thrawn rose in power to become a Grand Admiral whom Palpatine trusted to ensure the continuation of the Empire.
The storyline follows how Imperial soldiers rescued Thrawn. He quickly established himself as an indispensable part of the Empire by impressing the Emperor with his knowledge of the Unknown Regions and his amazing military mind. As such, ‘Thrawn’ establishes his early beginnings in the Empire and how he became the most dreaded Grand Admiral the galaxy has ever seen.
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