This article is a list of my favorite Star Wars books that I thought I’d share with those looking to find some reading material to take their mind’s far, far away from the present chaos of our world.
The books on this list are all ones that come from my personal collection and are all highly recommended. Some are rare, meaning you’ll have to put in a little Where’s the Wookiee to find them, but they’re worth it in my honest opinion. So, without further delay, I give to our readers out there my Star Wars reading list.
There have been many great Star Wars novels written over the years by such great authors as Timothy Zahn, Christie Golden, Drew Karpyshyn, and James Luceno. That’s why I decided to begin my article by listing some of my favorite novels.
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Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston
First on this list of books in my personal collection is, Ahsoka, by E.K. Johnston. This book follows the time between Ahsoka Tano’s departure from the Jedi Order and her later role as Fulcrum for the fledgling Rebel Alliance.
This book’s story is especially relevant right now with the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Coincidentally, the opening scene in this story features the epic showdown between Ahsoka Tano and Darth Maul. This story is great for anyone that is a fan of this character, as well as anybody who enjoys a good tale of courage and determination against tremendous adversity.
If you’re looking for the best experience, you also have the option of the audiobook, which is narrated by the character’s alter ego, Ashley Eckstein. Either way, it’s worth putting on your reading list.
Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks
Most of the time the claim for a book being better than a movie comes from the latter being adapted from the former. However, in this case, it’s the other way around. Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks (author of the Sword of Shannara series) succeeds in doing this by fleshing out the characters better, in addition to providing previously untold information about Anakin Skywalker and the Sith.
Of course, I admit I do have a particular bias for this book since it’s the only Star Wars book I own that is autographed by its author. Besides its thoughtful inscription, Brooks also included a nice little doodle on the back page. While the film wasn’t a total failure (Darth Maul being a highlight for sure) the book helps to accomplish more by going where the films were too limited by time to.
Star Wars Republic Commando: Hard Contact by Karen Traviss
For Star Wars fans that also enjoy video games and military fiction, I have a couple of recommendations. First is the Star Wars: Republic Commando series by Karen Traviss. This series was initially inspired by the Xbox video game Republic Commandos.
The books in this spin-off series go beyond the video game by introducing an Alpha and Omega squad of special forces clone troopers. The author excels in not only making you care for these clones by giving them all unique personalities but also in further developing the Mandalorian culture, which plays an integral role in their identity.
She even went so far as to develop the Mandalorian’s native tongue, Mando’a, into a fully functional language that anyone could use. One of the downsides of the Disney/Lucasfilm merger was that books like this one got placed under the Legends umbrella.
Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden
Next in this Star Wars video game/military fiction reading list is Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden. Like the aforementioned Republic Commandos this book was inspired by a Star Wars videogame. However, unlike the other books, this one followed the Imperials elite squad of soldiers.
The leader of this group is Iden Versio from the Battlefront game. Her mission is to infiltrate the Partisans, the extremist group formerly led by Saw Guerra before his death on Jedha. To accomplish this, she is paired with three other Imperial officers and an ID10 seeker droid called Dio. It’s a true mark of talent for a writer to make you care for the villains, but Mrs. Golden does exactly that with her deft characterization as well as the surmounting odds placed against this team of Imperial spies.
This book is great for anyone interested in seeing events from another perspective, namely the villains, who are often given limited motivations in stories. Christie Golden is a very talented writer, not only for her work on this title, but for her other highly recommended book, Star Wars: Dark Disciple.
Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden
For young adult readers and Darth Vader fans alike there is, The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader, by Ryder Windham. This book is a psuedo-autobiography that is told from the point-of-view of the dark lord of the Sith himself.
It details the Sith lord’s early life as Anakin Skywalker, beginning with him being a slave. It then highlights his years as a well-respected Jedi general during the Clone Wars, his tragic betrayal and fall to the dark side of the Force, his revenge against his former master, his discovery of Luke Skywalker being his son, and eventually concludes with his redemption aboard the second Death Star.
What makes this book unique is that it provides a different perspective on familiar events from the films. Darth Vader is a very complicated character, as really well-defined characters usually are. It’s interesting to see that some of our heroes greatest adversaries were innocent once. But, unlike our protagonists, their choices can lead to them falling from grace. Then again, sometimes, even they can be redeemed by choosing to do the right thing in the end.