Star Wars: Dark Legends review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Photo: Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi..Photo: Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm..©2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. /

Star Wars: Dark Legends is a collection of scary stories that will stay with you after you’ve closed the book – even if you’re a fully grown adult human.

Star Wars is for everyone. Children and adults alike have always been able and welcome to find parts of the stories set within this galaxy far, far away that bring them joy and teach them life lessons they might carry with them for decades.

But not all these stories have to bring laughter and happy endings to their pages. The overarching Star Wars story may be a fairytale — but some fairytales end in darkness.

George Mann’s Star Wars: Dark Legends is a collection of nine stories filled with the kinds of terrors children read about in stories all the time. But each carries with it something to be learned or remembered. And thanks to the captivating imagery and prose, it’s difficult to forget these stories even after you’ve closed the book.

Star Wars: Dark Legends isn’t just for children

Yes, technically, it is a children’s book. But as anyone who has ever watched The Clone Wars may already know, just because it’s made for and marketed toward kids doesn’t mean adults can’t love it, too.

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The more you explore Star Wars books, the more you’ll come across books that “just aren’t for you.” And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Some books are very deliberately geared toward young children, and you should never feel like you have to read everything to get the full Star Wars experience.

But Star Wars: Dark Legends is a collection of cautionary tales that are genuinely entertaining. A few of them are even genuinely scary (though not necessarily too scary for kids – I may have read this at night, alone … I’m fine). 

You may not connect with every story, but there’s bound to be at least one that grabs your attention for a variety of potential reasons.

Those a little more familiar with the deeper Star Wars lore found in the expanded universe, for example, might enjoy one story in particular for its interpretation of the Inquisitors and their dark, nearly unspeakable purpose.

Dark Legends succeeds where The Skywalker Saga failed

When I reviewed Delilah S. Dawson’s The Skywalker Saga, it was difficult for me to admit that it wasn’t my favorite thing to ever emerge from Star Wars publishing.

What that book tried and didn’t execute well was to offer a child-friendly way to experience Star Wars for the first time. While it celebrated the Skywalker Saga in its watered-down interpretations and makes for a stunning coffee table book, it was an unfortunately underwhelming dive into the Star Wars universe.

George Mann takes this same concept of giving children something Star Wars-y to read and creates a set of unique narratives that bring the galaxy to life on every page. These are original stories (though some contain characters you might vaguely recognize) that can get kids interested in reading more Star Wars stories. Which is great, because there are many, many more to choose from.

Dark Legends doesn’t talk down to its audience. It’s a book written for younglings, but it’s palatable for the adults reading it with them too (or by themselves snuggled up with their dogs … close enough?).

The language is simple, but still compelling. The stories are short, but meaningful. Both you and the young people in your life (if applicable) will get something out of reading it.

Do you have to read Myths & Fables before Dark Legends?

Star Wars: Myths & Fables was released in 2019 and is often marketed as a sequel or companion to Star Wars: Dark Legends. While the two are similar in style and purpose, the stories contained within them exist outside of time. There is no chronological order in which they must be read. So you could read one never having read the other and you wouldn’t miss any important information.

Star Wars: Dark Legends is largely Star Wars: Myths & Fables’ opposite, the former being – as its title suggests – much darker in tone and centered more on the evils one might encounter at any point across the galaxy.

To be completely honest, the only frustrating thing about this book compared to Star Wars: Myths & Fables is that Star Wars: Dark Legends is smaller (we’re talking physical size). So if you put them next to each other on your bookshelf, they’re not going to match. If that bothers you (it’s not just me, right?) … I guess you’re just going to have to deal.

All things considered, it’s a small complaint. Everything between the front and back covers is masterfully done.

Hopefully, this book isn’t the last of its kind. Fictional tales set in the Star Wars universe that feel more like the fantasy kids are already used to is a great way to introduce them to the franchise … if only to slowly begin crafting them into bigger Star Wars fans than their parents will ever be.

Next. The darksaber: An incomplete history. dark

Star Wars: Dark Legends is available now wherever books are sold.