19 Best Star Wars Books

I’m a big fan of the Star Wars universe, but I haven’t been drawn in by many of the latest movies or TV shows (except The Mandalorian, of course. Wow, that’s fun). But books give another entry into that universe.

There are almost four hundred Star Wars books out there, covering a wide range of quality, from exceptional, to just embarrassing. There are also two timelines: the Canon books are the ones Disney has decided “really” happened in the Star Wars universe, and the Legends books, which are the majority of the older stories, written before Disney bought Lucasfilm.

I suggest you ignore whether something is Canon or Legends or not and just enjoy a good story in a great universe.

 

19
Twilight Company
by Alexander Freed – 2015

Inspired by the Star Wars: Battlefront video game

Among the stars and across the vast expanses of space, the Galactic Civil War rages. On the battlefields of multiple worlds in the Mid Rim, legions of ruthless stormtroopers—bent on crushing resistance to the Empire wherever it arises—are waging close and brutal combat against an armada of freedom fighters.

Leading the charge of the Rebel Alliance are the soldiers—men and women, human and nonhuman—of the Sixty-First Mobile Infantry, better known as Twilight Company. Hard-bitten, war-weary, and ferociously loyal to one another, the members of this renegade outfit doggedly survive where others perish, and defiance is their most powerful weapon against the deadliest odds. When orders come down for the rebels to fall back in the face of superior opposition numbers and firepower, Twilight reluctantly complies. Then an unlikely ally radically changes the strategic equation—and gives the Alliance’s hardest-fighting warriors a crucial chance to turn retreat into resurgence.

Orders or not, alone and outgunned but unbowed, Twilight Company locks, loads, and prepares to make its boldest maneuver—trading down-and-dirty battle in the trenches for a game-changing strike at the ultimate target: the very heart of the Empire’s military machine.

“A novel that ties in to a video game based on a sprawling sci-fi franchise shouldn’t be this good.”
—New York Daily News

18
Queen’s Shadow
by E.K. Johnson – 2019

When Padmé Naberrie, “Queen Amidala” of Naboo, steps down from her position, she is asked by the newly-elected queen to become Naboo’s representative in the Galactic Senate. Padmé is unsure about taking on the new role, but cannot turn down the request to serve her people. Together with her most loyal handmaidens, Padmé must figure out how to navigate the treacherous waters of politics and forge a new identity beyond the queen’s shadow.

“A fascinating perspective into the backstory of a beloved and well-known character within the ‘Star Wars’ universe, this is a must-have for… fans of the franchise.”
—School Library Journal

17
A New Dawn
by John Jackson Miller – 2014

For a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights brought peace and order to the Galactic Republic, aided by their connection to the mystical energy field known as the Force. But they were betrayed—and the entire galaxy has paid the price. It is the Age of the Empire.

But even as Emperor Palpatine tightens his iron grip, others have begun to question his means and motives. And still others, whose lives were destroyed by Palpatine’s machinations, lay scattered about the galaxy like unexploded bombs, waiting to go off…

A New Dawn is a fine start to the new Expanded Universe. [John Jackson] Miller steps confidently into the unexplored territory and owns it; he’s crafted a story with pacing and dialogue that feels like classic Star Wars.”
—Nerdist

16
Canto Bight
by Saladin Ahmed, Rae Carson, Mira Grant, and John Jackson Miller – 2017

The casino city of Canto Bight appeared in The Last Jedi.

It’s a place where exotic aliens, captivating creatures, and other would-be high rollers are willing to risk everything to make their fortunes. Set across one fateful evening, these four interconnected stories explore the deception and danger of the lavish casino city.

An honest salesman meets a career criminal, as a dream vacation turns into the worst nightmare imaginable, in a story by Saladin Ahmed.

Dreams and schemes collide when a deal over a priceless bottle of wine becomes a struggle for survival, as told by Mira Grant.

Old habits die hard when a servant is forced into a mad struggle for power among Canto Bight’s elite, in a tale by Rae Carson.

A deadbeat gambler has one last chance to turn his luck around; all he has to do is survive one wild night, as told by John Jackson Miller.

In Canto Bight, one is free to revel in excess, untouched from the problems of a galaxy once again descending into chaos and war. Dreams can become reality, but the stakes have never been higher—for there is a darkness obscured by all the glamour and luxury.

15
Catalyst
by James Luceno – 2016

This New York Times bestseller is a prequel to the events in Rogue One.

War is tearing the galaxy apart. For years, the Republic and the Separatists have battled across the stars, each building more and more deadly technology in an attempt to win the war. As a member of Chancellor Palpatine’s top secret Death Star project, Orson Krennic is determined to develop a superweapon before the Republic’s enemies can. And an old friend of Krennic’s, the brilliant scientist Galen Erso, could be the key.

Galen’s energy-focused research has captured the attention of both Krennic and his foes, making the scientist a crucial pawn in the galactic conflict. But after Krennic rescues Galen, his wife, Lyra, and their young daughter, Jyn, from Separatist kidnappers, the Erso family is deeply in Krennic’s debt. Krennic then offers Galen an extraordinary opportunity: to continue his scientific studies with every resource put utterly at his disposal. While Galen and Lyra believe that his energy research will be used purely in altruistic ways, Krennic has other plans that will finally make the Death Star a reality. Trapped in their benefactor’s tightening grasp, the Ersos must untangle Krennic’s web of deception to save themselves and the galaxy itself.

14
A Crash of Fate
by Zoraida Córdova – 2019

Izzy and Jules were childhood friends, climbing the spires of Batuu, inventing silly games, and dreaming of adventures they would share one day. Then, Izzy’s family left abruptly, without even a chance to say goodbye. Izzy’s life became one of constant motion, traveling from one world to the next, until her parents were killed and she became a low-level smuggler to make ends meet. Jules remained on Batuu, eventually becoming a farmer like his father, but always yearning for something more.

Now, thirteen years after she left, Izzy is returning to Batuu. She’s been hired to deliver a mysterious parcel, and she just wants to finish the job and get gone. But upon arrival at Black Spire Outpost she runs smack into the one person who still means something to her after all this time: Jules.

The attraction between them is immediate, yet despite Jules seeming to be everything she’s ever needed, Izzy hesitates. How can she drag this good-hearted man into the perilous life she’s chosen?

Jules has been trying to figure out his future, but now all he knows for certain is that he wants to be with Izzy. How can he convince her to take a chance on someone who’s never left the safety of his homeworld?

When Izzy’s job goes wrong, the two childhood friends find themselves on the run. And all their secrets will be revealed as they fight to stay alive.

13
The Paradise Snare
by A.C. Crispin – 1997

The Paradise Snare is the beginning of a trilogy of books that recounts the life of young Han Solo. They’re different than what happens in the movie Solo, which may or may not make you more interested in them.

This novel begins with Han’s late teen years and shows us how he escaped an unhappy adopted home situation to carve out a new life for himself as a pilot.

12
Leia: Princess of Alderaan
by Claudia Gray – 2017

Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her life so far: proving herself in the areas of body, mind, and heart to be formally named heir to the throne of Alderaan. She’s taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control.

But Leia has worries beyond her claim to the crown. Her parents, Breha and Bail, aren’t acting like themselves lately; they are distant and preoccupied, seemingly more concerned with throwing dinner parties for their allies in the Senate than they are with their own daughter. Determined to uncover her parents’ secrets, Leia starts down an increasingly dangerous path that puts her right under the watchful eye of the Empire. And when Leia discovers what her parents and their allies are planning behind closed doors, she finds herself facing what seems like an impossible choice: dedicate herself to the people of Alderaan (including the man she loves) or to the galaxy at large, which is in desperate need of a rebel hero…

11
Dark Disciple
by Christie Golden – 2015

Based on unproduced episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this new novel features Asajj Ventress, former Sith apprentice turned bounty hunter, and one of the great antiheroes in the Star Wars galaxy.

In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.

But the elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the Council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force’s power to bear, pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku’s side still runs deep, Ventress’s hatred for her former master runs deeper. She’s more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter and assassin to Vos’s quest.

Together, Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku, as long as the emerging feelings between them don’t compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior’s spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts—a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy… and her own doubt.

“Golden especially excelled at bringing Ventress’s biting but appealing personality to life. . . . She’s very much a woman trying to find her way, and Dark Disciple adds nuance.”
—Nerdist

10
Revenge of the Sith
by Matthew Stover – 2005

The prequel movies were, well, disappointing. Revenge of the Sith was the best of the tepid, cringey-dialogue lot. However, the novelization of the movie is really impressive.

As combat escalates across the galaxy, the stage is set for an explosive endgame: Obi-Wan undertakes a perilous mission to destroy the dreaded Separatist military leader, General Grievous. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine continues to strip away constitutional liberties in the name of security while influencing public opinion to turn against the Jedi. And a conflicted Anakin fears that his secret love, Senator Padmé Amidala, will die. Tormented by unspeakable visions, Anakin edges closer to the brink of a galaxy-shaping decision. It remains only for Darth Sidious to strike the final staggering blow against the Republic—and to ordain a fearsome new Sith Lord: Darth Vader.

9
Path of Destruction
by Drew Karpyshyn – 2006

Thousands of years before the rise of Darth Sidious and Darth Vader, the Old Republic was rife with the evil Sith, who were a constant thorn in the side of the Jedi. But greed and hunger for power were eating away at the Sith Order, destroying it from within. In the midst of this rose a new Sith, Darth Bane, who recognized that the Sith Order would fall if nothing was done. Thus it was he who, learning to cultivate patience and cunning, hid from the strife until it was over, and then rose to become the most powerful Sith Lord ever.

This is the story of the transformation of Des, a young miner, into the legendary Sith Lord Darth Bane. Des, like many of the disenfranchised who live on the Outer Rim, is disillusioned with the stagnancy of the Old Republic. When the Sith unite to bring the Republic down, Des is one of many to join their cause. His heroism and skill in battle, along with his remarkable connection to the Force, draw the notice of the Sith Masters, and Des eventually finds himself studying at the Sith Academy on Korriban. He takes the name of Bane and, amidst the deception and backstabbing of the other students, he learns to unlock his latent dark-side talents.

As his power grows, Bane realizes the Sith have lost their way. Under the leadership of Lord Kaan and his Brotherhood of Darkness, the Sith have turned their back on the true nature of the dark side. Through manipulation, cunning and strength, Bane destroys Kaan’s Brotherhood and wipes out all the other Sith so he can found a new Order based on the rule of two: one Master, one apprentice.

8
Lost Stars
by Claudia Gray – 2015

Lost Stars focuses on the events of the original movie trilogy, but through the eyes of two childhood friends, Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell, who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these two star-crossed lovers reunite, or will duty tear them—and the galaxy—apart?

7
Heir to the Empire
by Timothy Zahn – 1991

It’s five years after the Rebel Alliance destroyed the second Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and drove the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights.

But thousands of light-years away, the last of the Emperor’s warlords, Grand Admiral Thrawn, has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the New Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build.

6
Darth Plagueis
by James Luceno – 2012

Darth Plagueis: Like all Sith Lords before him, he craves absolute power. But like no Sith Lord ever, he possesses the ultimate power—over life and death.

Darth Sidious: In secret he masters the power of the dark side, while publicly climbing to the highest government office.

One desires to rule supreme; the other dreams of living forever. Together, they will destroy the Jedi and rule the galaxy. Unless merciless Sith tradition becomes their undoing…

“The best Star Wars publication to date… [James] Luceno takes Darth Plagueis down the dark path and never looks back.”
—Newsday

5
Phasma
by Delilah S. Dawson – 2017

One of the most cunning and merciless officers of the First Order, Captain Phasma commands the favor of her superiors, the respect of her peers, and the terror of her enemies. But for all her renown, Phasma remains as virtually unknown as the impassive expression on her gleaming chrome helmet. Now, an adversary is bent on unearthing her mysterious origins, and exposing a secret she guards as zealously and ruthlessly as she serves her masters.

Deep inside the battle cruiser Absolution, a captured Resistance spy endures brutal interrogation at the hands of a crimson-armored stormtrooper named Cardinal. But the information he desires has nothing to do with the Resistance or its covert operations against the First Order.

What the mysterious stormtrooper wants is Phasma’s past—and with it whatever long-buried scandal, treachery, or private demons he can wield against the hated rival who threatens his own power and privilege in the ranks of the First Order. His prisoner has what Cardinal so desperately seeks, but she won’t surrender it easily. As she wages a painstaking war of wills with her captor, bargaining for her life in exchange for every precious revelation, the spellbinding chronicle of the inscrutable Phasma unfolds. But this knowledge may prove more than just dangerous once Cardinal possesses it—and once his adversary unleashes the full measure of her fury.

“Fabulous, utterly engrossing.”
—Kirkus Reviews

4
Kenobi
by John Jackson Miller – 2013

The Republic has fallen. Sith Lords rule the Galaxy. Obi-Wan Kenobi has lost everything.

Tatooine: a harsh desert world where farmers toil in the heat of two suns while trying to protect themselves and their loved ones from the marauding Tusken Raiders. A backwater planet on the edge of civilized space. And an unlikely place to find a Jedi Master in hiding, or an orphaned infant boy on whose tiny shoulders rests the future of a galaxy.

Known to locals only as “Ben,” the bearded and robed offworlder is an enigmatic stranger who keeps to himself, shares nothing of his past, and goes to great pains to remain an outsider. But as tensions escalate between the farmers and a tribe of Sand People led by a ruthless war chief, Ben finds himself drawn into the fight, endangering the very mission that brought him to Tatooine.

Ben—Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, hero of the Clone Wars, traitor to the Empire, and protector of the galaxy’s last hope—can no more turn his back on evil than he can reject his Jedi training. And when blood is unjustly spilled, innocent lives threatened, and a ruthless opponent unmasked, Ben has no choice but to call on the wisdom of the Jedi—and the formidable power of the Force—in his never-ending fight for justice.

“Brilliant… This is Star Wars fiction at its absolute best.”
—Examiner

3
I, Jedi
by Michael A. Stackpole – 1998

Corran Horn has distinguished himself as one of the best and brightest of Rogue Squadron’s elite fighting force. Then his wife, Mirax, vanishes on a covert mission for the New Republic, and Corran vows to find her. To do so, he knows he must develop the latent Force powers inherited from his grandfather, a legendary Jedi hero. He joins Luke Skywalker’s famed Jedi academy to begin training, only to quit in frustration at Skywalker’s methods. Now Corran is on his own. Using his Corellian undercover experience, he must infiltrate, sabotage, and destroy a ruthless organization in order to find his wife. But to succeed, Corran will have to come to terms with his Jedi heritage, and make a terrible choice: surrender to the dark side…or die.

2
The Mandalorian Armor
by K.W. Jeter – 1998

He’s the most feared and successful bounty hunter in the galaxy. He is Boba Fett, and even the most hardened criminals tremble at his name. Now he faces the deadliest challenge of his infamous career: an all-out war against his most dangerous enemies.

As the Rebellion gathers force, Prince Xizor proposes a cunning plan to the Emperor and Darth Vader: smash the power of the Bounty Hunters Guild by turning its members against each other. Only the strongest and most ruthless will survive, and they can be used against the Rebellion. It’s a job for the fiercely independent Boba Fett, who jumps at the chance to destroy his rivals. But Fett soon realizes the game is rigged, as he finds himself the target of murderous factions, criminal conspiracies, and the evil at the Empire’s dark heart. Boba Fett has always finished first. And in this game, anything less is death.

1
Thrawn
by Timothy Zahn – 2017

One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe, from his introduction in bestselling author Timothy Zahn’s classic Heir to the Empire through his continuing adventures in Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, and beyond. But Thrawn’s origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, Timothy Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power—and infamy.

“A satisfying tale of political intrigue… Thrawn’s observations and tactical thinking are utterly captivating.”
—New York Daily News

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