While anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock knows about the different trilogies of the Skywalker saga within the Star Wars universe, not everyone knows there are hundreds Star Wars novels that are just as exciting. Their countless new characters, locations and adventures further expand the already exciting science-fiction-meets-fantasy universe.
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So if you are looking for your Star Wars while you’re eagerly awaiting the next movie or Disney + series, these books should do the trick. Much of it revolves around the beloved Skywalker saga, but if you’d rather explore the other stories in the Expanded Universe (which is perfectly understandable), you’ve got plenty of options at your fingertips, or rather, at your local bookstore.
Recently I decided to embark on a journey in which I have all Star Wars novels, and so far I have loved every word. Admittedly, I haven’t made as much progress with the books as I would have liked (as in, not even 30 books because I’ve gotten sidetracked with other books) so far, they are a lot of fun to read and do a great job of fleshing out the universe beyond what we’ve seen in the movies.
The books are an absolute blast and have introduced new characters, worlds and items. I love how much richer the universe (and even the movies) feels because of them; the lore is richer than that of almost any other universe out there, and as a fan I am so grateful. Plus, the books are all written by different authors, which is great because it allows multiple creative voices, styles, and ideas to interact with the universe, making it more robust. Some authors wrote multiple novels – such as Drew Karpyshyn, Michael Kogge, Chuck Wendig, John Jackson Miller, and Timothy Zahn – so if you like one book of theirs, you can look forward to the others they wrote.
The most important thing to note about the Star Wars novels is that they come in one of two flavors: canon and non-canon, commonly referred to as the Legends of Expanded Universe books. Canon refers to the books (and video games, graphic novels, etc.) whose content is accepted as an official part of the Star Wars timeline, same as the movies and animated shows. Everything else is non-canon because it contains information that somehow contradicts canon tradition.
For those new to the novels, I recommend jumping in with anything canon-esque Star Wars Rebels: Rise of the Rebels Tarkin Battlefront: Twilight Company, or Thrawn: BetrayalThe vast majority of these have characters and locations that you recognize from the movies. These books are also set just before the infamous Battle of Yavin (BBY), where events took place such as Princess Leia who received the plans for the Death Star, Emperor Palpatine who dissolved the Imperial Senate and established his dictatorship, and Luke who eventually defeated the Death Star destroyed. Likewise, others play themselves out just after the battle of Yavin (ABY).
For everyone else, I recommend doing what I did: taking the plunge with the Legends novels. I decided I wanted to read all Legends books in chronological order (within the universe, not by date of publication), starting with Tim Lebbon’s Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void, which takes place 25,793 BBY, and progresses through the Lost Tribe of the Sith (5,000-2,975 BBY) and The old republic (3,954-3,640 BBY) bows.
With about 400 novels, you may be wondering where exactly to start. Fortunately, you have plenty of options. From Timothy Zahn The Thrawn Trilogy-including Heir to the Empire Dark Force Rising, and The last command– Widely regarded as a fantastic series and a great place for just about anyone to start. Or you can also opt for The X-Wing series by Aaron Allston and Michael A. Stackpole, The Command of the Republic series by Karen Traviss, Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter by Michael Reaves, or Aftermath Trilogy by Chuck Wendig, covering the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, and introduces new characters.
While it is certainly an ambitious idea to read all of these books, these books are an exciting and immersive way to learn more about Star Wars‘rich, awesome universe. You can find these books at Bookshop.org, Google Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and several other online and brick-and-mortar booksellers. May the Force be with you!