When I was a kid, I was always looking for Star Wars books in order to fill my void of boredom after school. As an adult, I still love to read these old space adventure stories and have recently found out that there are actually several new ones that have been released. The new ones that I’ve read are truly fantastic and very worth the estimated reading time, as they were written as stand alone novels without any ties to the original Star Wars films. Below are my six most favorite Star Wars books in order from most interesting to least interesting.
Dark Clear: By Eric Shanower, pencil and ink (Chronicle Press)
This is a relatively recent release and is part of a three part series about the rise of the republic. It’s part of a growing trend for younger readers to read more sci-fi in addition to the traditional comics. In this installment, Lucasfilm creates a new piece of technology that allows its users to see a mysterious planet through the eyes of a Jedi Knight. It is definitely worth spending the extra thirty minutes or so it takes to get through this book, as it offers a new perspective on what Star Wars should be all about. Recommended
Republic Days: By Jason Steele, writer/artist (Dell Media)
This is the first Star Wars novel that doesn’t feature the original trilogy’s main characters, and it’s actually the first Star Wars novel that I’m reviewing here. Star Wars had become stale and predictable by this point, and I was eager to see what Jason Steele had to offer. In short, he delivers. The novel is both a character study of Darth Vader and of Luke Skywalker, and it’s also a fantastic page turner that keeps the reader deeply invested in what happens to the two heroes. If you love Star Wars, this is one of the best books out right now that fills that need.
Darth Vader and the Ultimate Weapon by Greg Ripper (Darth Vader’s Best Friend)
After the events of Revenge of the Sith, the first line of this book describes the formation of the New Republic, which will soon be in need of an army to stand up against the growing threats of the Galactic Empire. This one isn’t just a novel, though. It feels like a novel (and it is), because it’s so well written and packed full of details. It’s important to remember that the New Republic didn’t form because of the Galactic Empire, but because of the vision of Luke Skywalker. This one will make you feel like the bad guys are really the good guys.
Dark Forces: Resistance by Chris SWyer (trimmed paperback)
After the release of the new films, The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, there’s been lots of speculation that the original Star Wars films could very well be considered Franchise Material. That’s why the re-telling of the original stories, like Dark Forces, is often considered Canon. In this one, we’ll follow an anti-hero who becomes a member of the Resistance, and teams up with a group of other ragtag freedom fighters against the Galactic Empire. While it may not be considered officially part of the Star Wars Canon, it does count as a fantastic story that’s well told. This one is also due to the massive popularity of SWTOR.
Episodes I and II of the Original trilogy are considered the foundation of all Star Wars films and storylines. They form the backdrop for everything that came after. In particular, Episodes IV and VI introduce the core characters of the Star Wars Universe, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. In order to bring more depth to the Star Wars Canon, I highly recommend reading the three films in chronological order, focusing on the events that take place between each installment. For those who have never watched a Star Wars film, I would highly recommend picking up some original novels that take place between the first two installments.
After Darth Vader takes over the Galactic Republic, the Rebel Alliance must find a new way to defeat the Galactic Empire and restore order throughout the galaxy. An undercover operative of the Rebel called “Skywalker” is assigned to this task, and must use his knowledge and skills to help the fledgling Alliance recover valuable data from the Death Stars, the evil Emperor’s secret super weapons. In order to do so, he must travel to the uncharted territories of the Outer Rim regions, where he will find a mysterious and powerful artifact known as the TIE Prototype. With the help of this mysterious and powerful artifact, Skywalker finds himself back in the good side of the Force and returns to participate in the Rebel’s struggle against the Empire.
Finally, in order to give readers a full sense of the epic scale of the Original Trilogy and the incredible scope of the later eras of Star Wars, there exists a new spinoff series entitled The New Republic. It’s set 30 years after the events of Episodes I and II, and places contemporary characters in the shoes of the original characters from those series. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo are now part of an uneasy peace as the Galactic Republic faces an invasion of the outlawed New Republic. There, they have to battle for survival and honor amidst the backdrop of endless battles on the outer and inner rim of the known galaxy.