If you love Star Wars movies, chances are that you enjoy Star Wars books too. To date, numerous books have been released. The story-lines vary from before, during, and after the release of the films. While there is a wide array of Star Wars books canon to choose from, this list of best Star Wars books helps you to narrow down to those that you will enjoy best.
What is the best Star Wars book to read first? Before deciding which one it is, it is necessary to note that not all books are canon. In 2012, Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney, and the latter decided to classify all the Star Wars book series that had already been released as Legends. As a result, all those books are not considered canon. This means that the list of the best Star Wars books canon is limited to those published after 2012.
Best Star Wars books that are canon
So far, many Star Wars canon books have been released, and book lovers have given positive feedback about most of them. Are Star Wars books any good? Yes, they are, because they contain intriguing and mind-blowing story-lines.
How many Star Wars canon books are there? There are over 20 canon Star Wars comics, all of which are notable reads with different story-lines. Different people have authored them, so each has its unique perspective and insights. However, these are the top 10 Star Wars canon novels that are a must-read for all book lovers and lovers of Star Wars films.
10. Queen's Shadow
Queen's Shadow is among the best canon Star Wars books, and E.K. Johnston authored it. Padmé Amidala is the central character and her walk through power in government is documented in an in-depth manner.
Unlike in the movies, the author explores what Padmé went through in detail. Her life after her reign as the queen of Naboo is explored. It also explored her interactions with her decoy called Sabe.
Exploring Padmé's handmaidens keeps the plot going since each of them has a different character. Reading the story sheds more light on the politics that happen in the prequels.
The plot generally explores her life before the Attack of the Clones right after she has completed her term as Queen Amidala of Naboo. She then assumes her role as the Galactic Senate representative.
Compared to other books that explore her life, this is the most detailed. Before the release of this book, readers relied on The Phantom Menace fictional journals or the Queen's Amulet and Queen in Disguise story-lines to get more information about Padmé, but the information was still limited.
Overall, the book helps the reader to connect the movies instead of viewing each as a standalone tale. Johnston's meticulous world-building is excellent, and it brings out each character very well.
9. Star Wars: Aftermath
Chuck Wendig published one of the best Star Wars novels in 2015. The author explores the events that occur after the Return of the Jedi. The Rebel Alliance is determined to destroy any surviving Empire loyalists.
The novel also records the background details that caused the First Order and how the galaxy got to the state it was in at the beginning of The Force Awakens. The story is set about three decades before The Force Awakens and offers insight into how the galaxy will look like in the future.
Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles is captured by Admiral Rae Sloane, forcing four other rebels to break into the palace to rescue him. The plot focuses on the new characters.
After Rebel pilot Norra Wexley escapes death, she comes back to her mechanically-oriented teenage son to rebuild her life. Interrogator Sinjir Rath Velus is also back from the war, and he wants to drown his misery by drinking.
Rae Sloane is a character who thinks fast, especially when she sees Imperial bureaucrats scrabbling over the infrastructural remains of the Empire. When four rebels are caught up in Akiva's Imperial operations, she keeps away the leaders who are fighting.
As the plot develops, the four heroes work well together. They embrace their differences and help each other to grow.
Timothy Zahn's Thrawn collection is in three parts. The second is Thrawn: Alliances while the third is Thrawn: Treason. Alliances and Treason are some of the new Star Wars books (published 2018 and 2019, respectively,) but the first, which was published in 2017, is the current focus.
The book is one of the most iconic in the canon category, but it does not tell much about Thrawn and his origins. Instead, it focuses on the occurrences that led to his rise to power.
The reader gains profound insight into the Empire and how he got so much power within a short period. It is interesting to see why and how he could have become the dictator who is mentioned in the original Star Wars books trilogy (Thrawn trilogy) from the 1990s.
7. Last Shot
Daniel José Older authored Last Shot. Han Solo and Lando Calrissian are the main focus in the plot. In Solo: A Star Wars Story, the duo has a thrilling time together.
When they met again in The Empire Strikes Back, their adventure was already over. It turns out that an old enemy was bidding their time. After Return of the Jedi, the enemy was tracking down Lando and doing his best to demolish Cloud City.
In Last Shot, Han and Lando form an alliance again after Lando knocks at Han's doorstep. Lando is on the run from a murderer, whom the duo had encountered many years before.
With the assassin on the loose, the entire Cloud City is endangered. The author uses carefully selected diction to bring out each of the characters.
Unlike many novel Star Wars books that are separate from the films, Bloodline by Claudia Gray is closely connected to the movies. It explores the life of the Solo family before the Sequel Trilogy and right after the Original.
The author allows us to know more about Leia's life as well as her relationship with Darth Vader. We get to know the political scheming in the New Republic and how the happenings affect the Solo family.
Leia is the focal point of attention, and the story is set about six years before The Force Awakens. Senator Organa watches as the seeds of opposition are sowed in the New Republic, and this threatens democracy.
Leia works with the New Republic to see that it gets its first senator. She is not interested in the seat because of her ancestry and family background, but Bloodline chooses her.
As threats from the woodwork start trickling in, she works with several other characters to create the resistance that is explained in detail in The Force Awakens.
5. Thrawn: Alliances
Remember the book dubbed Thrawn that was mentioned earlier on in this article? Well, Thrawn: Alliances is the second of the Star Wars books in order of release (Thrawn trilogy,) and it was published in 2018. Timothy Zahn is the author.
Although the Galactic Empire is seemingly doing well, the Emperor senses that something is amiss. There is a small disturbance in the force, and he cannot risk anything.
The Emperor enlists the help of his loyal subjects, Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn, to conduct an investigation. He is aware that the two are sworn enemies who do not see eye to eye, and that they are always competing for his favor.
The situation, however, demands that they should work together for the good of the Empire. The looming danger places them in a desperate situation, so they must put aside their deep-running hatred for one another.
Seeing the two work together without feuding is refreshing, and the results of the new union are impressive.
This novel by James Luceno explores the life of Grand Moff Tarkin, a man from an honorable and untouchable family. Tarkin is a devoted supporter of the Republic and a close friend of Jedi Order.
Sith Lord mentors Tarkin, who then enforces his authority without mercy to become one the absolute dominating leader of the Empire. He is the chief advisor of the Emperor, and under his guidance, things become thick.
Tarkin is sure that there is some remaining Separatist rebellion in the Empire, and it must be curbed through threats or death. Within no time, several guerrilla attacks are recorded, and the Empire has to act immediately.
The Emperor seeks the help of Darth Vader and Tarkin to make the enemies extinct. Tarkin's skills are being tested. Will he save the Empire from any imminent danger?
3. A New Dawn
John Jackson Miller, makes us dive into the darkest times for the Empire, which were between the Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Two rebels who have caught the attention of many, Hera Syndulla and Kanan Jarrus, are the primary focus.
Kanan attempts to live a low-key life many years after the Order 66 happenings. On the other hand, Hera Syndulla, a young rebel, meets with the former Jedi. They do not fall in love with each other at first sight.
Instead, it is a battle between the two rebels, and it takes a while before the they shake hands and agree to work together. The story is a classic, and the narration leaves you feeling as though you were there when new dawn came.
E.K. Johnston does not disappoint at all in Ahsoka, which is a standalone novel. Ahsoka Tano is the main character. She first appeared in The Clone Wars, when she was the apprentice of the Jedi. She also featured in Star Wars Rebels.
In The Clone Wars, Jedi Order falsely accused her of treason, but she was later released. That marked her fall out with the Jedi. The period between the fallout and her return is not documented in detail.
Compared to all animations, Ahsoka receives the most attention in this book. It explores her feelings after losing her friends, Obi-Wan and Anakin, and how she started working with the rebellion.
In the plot, the reader gets to see her using the training she got from the Jedi Order. She also fights tooth and bone for the things and causes that she believes in.
1. Lords of the Sith
The apprentice chosen by The Emperors has decided to follow the dark side. There is a lot of betrayal and duplicity in the characters. Some of the notable characters are Cham Syndulla, Moff Mors, Vader, and Palpatine.
Cham Syndulla pretends to be a good person, but he is more interested in governance. He works with the Twi'lek guerrilla fighters who attack the Empire. After a successful attack, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader are marooned in the Ryloth wilderness.
The behavior and actions of Vader during his transition are explored. When he is faced with a crisis, he recalls his past life as well as his apprentice.
Although they seem to be friends, Palpatine and Vader have a tense relationship. They are rivals from deep within.
Vader shows signs of disloyalty, especially when he suspects Palpatine of allowing the death of his troops. Kemp does his best to keep Vader in line. However, the later always slaps the truth on Palpatine's face.
Any word that comes from Palpatine has two meanings for Vadar, who plans to overthrow him on behalf of Luke.
Did you know that all books released before Disney acquired Lucasfilm are legends and not canon?
When looking for the best Star Wars books canon, it is necessary to note that they were published after the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney. While each book is unique, the above list directs you to the must-read stories. Feel free to share with us which canon novel is your favorite.