Star Wars is known for having an immense Expanded Universe of stories. That is, until Disney came along and turned all those tales into Legends. Now, with a fresh slate, what are the best Star Wars canon books?
Below, you will find a list of the 8 best Star Wars canon books published, in no particular order. This list combines both the most entertaining reads and the most important books to the new Star Wars canon. That means you are getting big characters and quality stories set right in the Star Wars galaxy.
If you are interested in these canonized works, you might also like my list of 7 Best Star Wars Books to Start Reading Now. And since you are probably pretty nerdy like me, you might like my Warhammer 40k and Dungeons & Dragons best book lists as well. Go forth, and may the Force be with you!
The 8 Best Star Wars Canon Books
Thrawn by Timothy Zahn – Amazon
One of the greatest losses of the Star Wars Legends line was removing Grand Admiral Thrawn from Star Wars continuity. But that problem has now been rectified in Thrawn by Timothy Zahn. Follow Thrawn in his rise to power through the Imperial ranks. Cunning and strategic, Thrawn’s ascent within the Empire is a story that can’t be missed.
Thrawn’s creator reintroduces the fan favorite villain into the new Star Wars canon. Zahn’s writing is as fantastic as ever and continues to produce some of the best Star Wars canon books out there. Thrawn is the first in a trilogy set firmly within the new continuity. If you are looking for a place to start reading new Star Wars books, this is it.
Lost Stars by Claudia Gray – Amazon
Lost Stars follows the journey of the young lovers Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree as they join the Imperial Academy. But it isn’t long until the horrors of the Galactic Empire become apparent and split the couple along opposing battle lines. Can love conquer all or is the couple destined to battle?
This is the only Young Adult novel to make the best Star Wars canon books list, but don’t let that dissuade you. Spanning many years across the original Star Wars films, the scope of this story is both epic and intimate at the same time. Despite the YA audience, Lost Stars will find a home with any Star Wars fan.
Dark Disciple by Christie Golden – Amazon
What would happen if the Jedi teamed up with the Sith? In Dark Disciple, the question is answered. Set during the Clone Wars, Dark Disciple tells the tale of a young Jedi Knight teaming up with a former Sith acolyte to take down the evil Count Dooku. Ventress and Vos must eliminate the Sith Lord while circumnavigating the feelings they are developing for one another. Can the two succeed at their mission before it’s too late?
If you are a fan of the Clone Wars, this novel is a must for you. The premise is incredibly unique in the Star Wars universe and the characters will suck you in. It’s a surprisingly fresh take on the allure of the dark side. Pick it up!
Bloodline by Claudia Gray – Amazon
It has been 20 years since the Empire has fallen, but the New Republic is struggling to find its place in the galaxy. Leia, respected by some and distrusted by others, attempts to find order among chaos. But while the Republic attempts to find some continuity, an evil is growing…
Bloodline is not only a great Leia book, but a great book that fleshes out the Star Wars galaxy post-Return of the Jedi. This book helps set the stage for the new trilogy of films and grow the Star Wars mythos in an exciting direction. Not only is this one of the best Star Wars canon books published, it’s also a fantastic read.
Aftermath Trilogy by Chuck Wendig – Amazon
Want to know what happened after the Return of the Jedi credits? Well then, the Aftermath Trilogy is for you. The Aftermath books were created to specifically document the events bridging Return of the Jedi with The Force Awakens. Where did this new Empire come from? Who the heck are all these new characters? Why is there a New Resistance? Questions will be answered.
The Aftermath Trilogy, much like Bloodline, is the perfect way to understand the new canon. These books were released as a way to help fans fill in the gap between films and is perfect for those who were confused during the opening crawl of The Force Awakens. Essential reading.
Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp – Amazon
It’s a buddy comedy, except with Sith lords. Taking place 14 years before the original trilogy, Lords of the Sith follow Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader on a personal mission on the planet Ryloth. A resistance is rising on the planet and the Sith duo find themselves battling against all odds to survive. Palpatine and Vader’s relationship is tested and they must learn to coexist if they hope to exterminate the resistance.
Lords of the Sith is a great book that intersects with both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels. It’s also an interesting examination of the Palpatine/Vader relationship. Often Palpatine is seen as the man behind the curtain, but in this book he is very much on the front lines. How do the master and apprentice survive in the field of battle? And what does it tell us about the dark side? It’s been called the best Star Wars canon book published and a fantastic look at the villains of the galaxy.
Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno – Amazon
The fan favorite finally gets his own book. Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the ranks of the Empire until finally taking his place as the Emperor’s side. Tarkin works to control the Empire through fear and ultimately works to create the Death Star. Along the way, he must combat the insurgent Separatists and defeat the enemies of the Empire.
Tarkin is a great way to reintroduce the character to the new canon. His role in A New Hope is small, but memorable. There is a reason he has a fan following! Tarkin fleshes out the character’s back story in an action-packed novel that doesn’t skimp on the character-driven narrative. If you are a fan of Grand Moff Tarkin or the original trilogy (who isn’t?), then this is the book for you.
Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson – Amazon
Captain Phasma of the First Order is a powerful and revered leader. Cardinal, an advisory in the Empire, wants to learn everything about Phasma’s past in the hopes of defeating his rival. When Cardinal captures a resistance rebel named Vi, he finds access to invaluable information about Phasma’s origins. But the more he digs, the more dangerous the information becomes. And so to the wrath of Phasma herself.
Phasma, as you might have guessed, takes place before the sequel trilogy of films and focuses on fleshing out the mysterious Phasma. For those of you underwhelmed by Phasma’s appearances in the films, this book should answer your questions about the character’s origins. Great for fans of the character or the sequel trilogy. Definitely one of the best Star Wars canon books published.