Star Wars. Have you heard of it? If you’ve found this page, you probably have. But you are probably also wondering: what are the best Star Wars books that I can start reading now? With so much out there, it can be a daunting task to know where to start.
Star Wars is known for having a robust expanded universe of stories. Countless writers have worked for decades to fill out the various corners of the Star Wars galaxy. What is the best place to begin? And which novels are worth reading?
In the same vein as my Warhammer 40k and Dungeons and Dragons ‘best of’ lists, I have put together the 7 best Star Wars books to read right now. This list contains both the highest regarded stories that are also accessible to the new reader. They are listed in no particular order, although everyone knows that the Thrawn Trilogy is the best. So we’ll start there…
The 7 Best Star Wars Books
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn – Amazon
The first book on this list is no stranger to “best of Star Wars books” lists and for good reason. It is a true classic of the Star Wars realm. Set 5 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, Heir to the Empire continues the story of Luke, Leia, and Han in the Star Wars universe. It also introduces many mainstays of the Star Wars Legends (formerly Expanded) Universe, most notably Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn. As our heroes attempt to build a New Republic, dark forces gather in the Imperial Fleet to retake the galaxy.
Timothy Zahn is a legend in his own right and this is the book that kicked everything off. If you are looking for the best place to start reading, Heir to the Empire is it. Easily one of the best Star Wars books you can read.
I, Jedi by Michael A. Stackpole – Amazon
Taking place 7 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, I, Jedi follows Corran Horn’s quest to become a Jedi under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker. (Enough Jedi for you?) Now, Corran must attempt to save his capture wife while balancing his Jedi heritage between the light and dark side.
I, Jedi is an especially unique novel in the Star Wars universe because it is the only novel told in first-person. This provides an especially intimate story of Corran’s time at the Jedi Academy, his struggles with the Force, and his quest to save his wife. Stackpole is a fantastic author and he pens a great one-off novel in the Star Wars Legends universe. Not to be missed.
Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson – Amazon
Jedi Search is the first book of the Jedi Academy Trilogy that follows Luke Skywalker’s efforts to establish a new order of Jedi Knights. But when Han and Chewbacca and captured, Luke and Lando must attempt to rescue them. But along their adventure, they uncover a weapon more dangerous than they could ever imagine, the Star Crusher.
Jedi Search and the Jedi Academy Trilogy take place 7 years after Return of the Jedi, at times overlapping with the events of I, Jedi. Despite yet another, bigger weapon that must be destroyed, the trilogy remains a fan favorite. One of the best star wars books out there and a great one to start reading.
Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn – Amazon
Maybe you are looking for something a bit different? How about a book set 1,000 years before A New Hope? Path of Destruction follows Dressel as he succumbs to and embraces the dark side. Dressel becomes something even more powerful than the ancient Brotherhood of Darkness. He becomes Darth Bane.
Path of Destruction is a great book to pick up if you are looking for some history of the Star Wars universe or if you just love the dark side. Darth Bane could be considered the first true Sith Lord that we know and love and also the creator of the Rule of Two. Despite lacking any recognizable movie characters, this is still one of the best Star Wars books around. Check it out!
Paradise Snare by A. C. Crispin – Amazon
Before there was Solo, there was Paradise Snare, the first book in the Han Solo Trilogy. Paradise Snare tells the story of a young Han Solo from his early years as a scrappy criminal to the hero we eventually love. Young Han dreams of becoming an Imperial Navy pilot, but when he takes a job on the planet Ylesia he gets more than he bargained for.
Many of the best Star Wars books are no longer considered canon, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out the Han Solo Trilogy. If you are a fan of swashbuckling adventure or just love Han Solo and friends, than you will still find plenty of enjoyment here.
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis by James Luceno – Amazon
Emperor Palpatine is the omniscient threat that has hung over all of the Star Wars films. Star Wars: Darth Plagueis, tells the tale of his master, one of the most powerful Sith Lords to ever exist. The story, spanning decades, follows Plagueis and Sideous and their delicate balances between master and apprentice.
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis is great for any fan of Palpatine and his rise to power in the prequel trilogy of films. This is a detailed look at the Sith master/apprentice relationship and Palpatine’s attempts to avoid death itself. In many ways, it is a history of events leading up the Star Wars saga we know. Don’t be afraid that you can’t pronounce Plagueis. It’s still one of the best star wars books out there.
Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole – Amazon
You know what? Let’s forget about all this Jedi stuff for a bit, shall we? Rogue Squadron follows the adventures of Wedge Antilles and the recreation of the X-Wing fleet. Taking place shortly after the events of Return of the Jedi, Wedge must form team of pilots and get them trained in the art of X-Wing. Once Rogue Squadron has been reformed, they must take on the remnants of the Empire and protect the New Republic.
Rogue Squadron was the first Star Wars book published that didn’t feature Luke, Leia, or Han. And it is a breath of fresh air. This is the one novel on the list that sets aside all the Jedi vs. Sith drama in favor of the regular guys in the Alliance. This is a great expansion of the mythos and one of the best Star Wars books for you to start reading now.