Before Star Wars kicked off its final Skywalker trilogy, Lucasfilm rendered years of Star Wars novels ‘non-canon’ and relegated them to “Star Wars Legends”. Fans weren’t happy, but this new beginning gave the series a chance to re-focus and for writers, new and old, to craft original stories around great Star Wars characters. Whether you’re a fan of the film series or not, here’s an essential reading list of Star Wars books you can dig into.
Synopsis: 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.
Why Should You Read It: Zahn’s original Thrawn trilogy is one of the most highly-regarded series of novels in the Star Wars Legends non-canon. Bringing Thrawn back to life and telling the stories of his origin were always going to be something fans clamoured for and Zahn delivers here, showing how strongly he has invested in his character. You actually feel a little empathy for the blue-skinned strategist by the end of it all.
Synopsis: Ahsoka thought her war was over. But a new battle is just beginning… Fans have long wondered what happened to Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Star Wars Rebels. Finally, Ahsoka’s story will begin to be told
Why Should You Read It: Star Wars has made a concerned effort to really write more diverse and badass female roles outside of Leia and since the Disney acquisition, they’ve done a great job. Ahsoka was introduced in the animated Clone Wars series and quickly became a fan favourite. This book is also a fan favourite — it’s definitely Young Adult — but provides a great perspective on her battles with her former master and the path that she wants to take. Not a masterpiece, just solid story telling.
From A Certain Point Of View
Synopsis: On May 25, 1977, the world was introduced to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and a galaxy full of possibilities. In honor of the fortieth anniversary, more than forty contributors lend their vision to this retelling of Star Wars. Each of the forty short stories reimagines a moment from the original film, but through the eyes of a supporting character. From a Certain Point of View features contributions by bestselling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from the literary history of Star Wars
Why Should You Read It: There’s something in this book for everyone. With 40 short stories to celebrate the 40 years since A New Hope graced our screens for the first time, you’ll find something to love. Particularly, I liked the stories that looked at the Jawa — and somehow Nnedi Okorofor makes the story of the monster in the Death Star’s trash compactor an absolute delight. Can devour it in pieces, which makes it easy reading.
Synopsis: ‘Of power, I could tell you much. One must seize the moment, and strike.’ Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin He’s the scion of an honourable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly…and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.
Why Should You Read It: Because Tarkin – along with Thrawn – is one of the most interesting characters, even when you strip away all of the Star Wars sci-fi-ness from the whole thing. As a confident leader and ambitious military man, this is a deep, deep dive into motivations and goals of the Grand Moff. Luceno is really good at this sort of stuff, and that’s why he features on this list twice.
Synopsis: When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory. Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy-from both within and without.
Why Should You Read It: If you weren’t already deeply in love with Leia (and by extension, the dearly departed Carrie Fisher), then this novel will absolutely make that so. Deftly written by Gray and shows a real love and appreciation for the things that make Leia great. Set in the years before The Force Awakens, it’s a rollicking good read about one of the most badass females in the Star Wars universe. Gray later released a prequel around Leia, too – also worth checking out.
Synopsis: 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 their enemies can. And an old friend of Krennic’s, the brilliant scientist Galen Erso, could be the key.
Why Should You Read It: Whether you were in to Rogue One or not, James Luceno takes an interesting look at the issues that adds value to the film but does an even better job at telling a story of political and military turmoil and how that affects the people that are caught up in the middle of it.
Chewie And The Porgs
Synopsis: From Emmy award-winning writer Kevin Shinick comes a lovable tale of Chewbacca the Wookiee and the pesky porgs of Ahch-To Island. Featuring adorable illustrations by artist Fiona Hsieh.
Why Should You Read It: Hello, this is a children’s book that features Chewbacca and also features Porgs. This is probably the most important book in Wookiee continuity yet, with the book telling the aww-inducing message that Wookiees are born with hearts of gold. It also explains that Porg-eating scene in The Last Jedi a little better…
As Lifehacker editors we write about stuff we like and think you'll like too. Lifehacker often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.