We’ve all heard of Star Wars, right? It’s not only one of the biggest franchises in human history, but it’s also one of the most fleshed-out fictional universes in the entirety of nerd culture.
Legions of fans have dedicated themselves to understanding the galaxy far far away, and this extends well outside of enjoying the mainline films, as there are also countless video games, television series, tabletop games, and, of course, a plethora of novels!
However, if you are a relatively new Star Wars fan looking to get into the extended canon of the series, or even looking to enjoy some of the “Legends” material, you’d likely find yourself rather daunted by the sheer number of books available in the series!
If so, you’ve come to the perfect place, because we are going to take an in-depth look at 10 of the very best books in the series that you should check out for yourself!
1. Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
Darth Plagueis is one of the most legendary and elusive figures in the world of Star Wars.
The once brilliant Sith lord was said to be so powerful that he could manipulate midichlorians not only to utilize the force, but also to create life!
The character was first introduced in the final prequel film Revenge Of The Sith, in a scene that many fans consider to be one of the best in the series, in which Senator Palpatine relays the tale of Darth Plagueis to the impressionable young Anakin Sykwalker.
The story of Darth Plagueis The Wise ignited fans’ imaginations, as they wondered what the life of this legendary Sith could have entailed.
Fans would later be delighted, in 2012, when the book Star Wars: Darth Plagueis released, detailing more about the legendary figure’s life!
So much so, in fact, that this is one of the best selling books in the entire franchise, and incredibly worth reading yourself!
2. Star Wars: Tarkin
Many of the best books in the Star Wars series are those that focus on legendary characters with commanding presences in the extended canon.
Tarkin, introduced in the first film in the franchise way back in 1977, has gone on to become one of the most beloved characters in the series.
The character is known for his ruthless reputation, and his sheer dedication to the Empire. But perhaps less known about the character is his decorated past…
But what exactly happened in Tarkin’s past? What were the events that made him the cold and calculating man he became?
The answers lie in the 2014 book Star Wars: Tarkin, which takes readers through his early years, and has become a fan favorite!
3. Kenobi: Star Wars Legends
Due to the ever changing nature of the Star Wars franchise, and the ever expanding canon, many of the series original novels are now considered to be non-canon, and now are published under the “Legends” moniker.
One of the most popular of these “Legends” books is Kenobi, a book that has now been ousted from canon by the recently released Disney+ show.
However, despite no-longer being canon, many fans still adore this book, and what it does to flesh out Kenobi’s character, as it details his time on Tatooine, observing Luke from afar, and bridging the gap between Revenge Of The Sith, and A New Hope.
4. Star Wars: Bloodline
Star Wars: Bloodline is an essential title for any fans of the recent sequel films, produced after Disney acquired the rights to the franchise.
This book serves as a perfect set-up for the sequel trilogy of films, as it details the rise of the First Order, and what the political situation of the Galaxy is in the lead up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
After the fall of the Empire in the wake of the original trilogy, a power vacuum is left behind, which fan-favorite character Princess Leia must find a way to fill.
The book details her attempts to create a democratic power structure, as she slowly comes to realize some of the many threats that put the continued safety of the galaxy in question.
It’s incredibly gripping, as it also details Leia grappling with the fraught legacy left-behind by her late father.
5. Outbound Flight
This is a Star Wars book that really stands out from the rest. It concerns a now non-canon story in which a large ship, carrying numerous civilians, Jedi, and scientists, ventures into the furthest reaches of the galaxy to spread civilization.
However, as was par-for-the-course in the age of the Republic, Senator Palpatine managed to find a way to sabotage the expedition, which of course leads to an incredibly tense, mysterious, and above-all incredibly thrilling adventure tale, the likes of which the Star Wars franchise has not seen for some time!
This story also has appearances from fan-favorite Thrawn, which makes it essential for fans of the character.
Thrawn was once a character that was entirely relegated to the curse of being a non-canon “Legends” character, but when the character was first reintroduced to the Star Wars canon, and this book first hit shelves, fans rejoiced as the character made his triumphant return.
This novel, which is one of the franchise’s best, really fleshes out the character of Thrawn, and was also written by the original creator of the Thrawn character, Timothy Zahn! This makes it even more essential for die-hard fans of the character!
7. Heir To The Empire
This was actually one of the first truly successful Star Wars novels, and before the arrival of the sequel trilogy films in 2015, was once considered to be a canonical sequel to the original trilogy!
This story is also the introduction to the character of Thrawn, and also stands as the first part of an ensuing trilogy of books surrounding the character as he rose to power in the wake of the Empire’s fall!
Despite now being “Legends” material, this is still an incredibly gripping read well worthy of your attention!
8. Darth Bane: Path Of Destruction
Again, although this story is now “Legends” material, it has gone on to become a total fan-favorite and a total shoo-in for this list!
The novel is centered around the titular Darth Bane, one of the earliest Sith figures who was prominent in the age of the Old Republic.
This book, which eventually gave way to an entire trilogy centered on Darth Bane, has become an instant classic amongst fans because it introduced one of the most well-fleshed characters that exists in the Old Republic era, and even details the origins of the ‘Rule of Two’ which dominates the Sith order.
If you want a gripping and dark story set in the Star Wars universe, then you should look no further!
9. Lost Stars
It can be easy to forget that the Star Wars universe is much wider than its focus on the Skywalkers might have you believe.
Some of the best novels in the Star Wars franchise are those that focus on some of the ordinary people that populate the Galaxy Far Far Away.
This story follows new characters Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, both of whom join the Empire as pilots close to the fall of the Empire.
The two are lifelong friends, but they eventually find themselves torn politically, as one friend shows intense devotion to the Empire, while the other begins to sow seeds of doubt about the Empire’s extreme tactics and measures to claim power.
This helps to communicate the “human” impact of the Empire and its measures, and helps to remind you that ordinary people are caught up in the interplanetary politics of the Star Wars universe and the ensuring grip of the Empire in the original trilogy.
It is also fully recognized as canon, and effectively bridges the gap between Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens.
10. Star Wars: Ahsoka
With fan-favorite character Ahsoka Tano set to have her own standalone TV series released in the next few years, there has perhaps never been a better time to read this high-beloved novel that details Ahsoka’s journey in the direct aftermath of Revenge Of The Sith, and her early days assisting the Rebellion.
This novel also really effectively details Ahsoka’s feelings regarding Anakin’s downfall, and how she laments his loss as a close friend and mentor.
To Wrap Up
There are so many Star Wars novels available on the market, but these are easily the ten best that you should check out if you are planning on dipping your toes into the extended universe.
Whether officially canon to the ongoing story of the franchise, or part of the “Legends” moniker, these novels are sure to delight fans of all ages, and will help you to celebrate your love for this fictional world!