Star Wars: The top books of 2020

Key art for Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy – Chaos Rising. Photo: Star Wars/Penguin Random House.
Key art for Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy – Chaos Rising. Photo: Star Wars/Penguin Random House. /

2020 was a great year for Star Wars, and for those out there who love books, it was even better. Check out the best Star Wars novels of 2020.

For Star Wars fans, 2020 has been an absolute blast. Featuring the explosive final season of The Clone Wars, the epic Season 2 of The Mandalorian, and some of the biggest Star Wars news of the decade — it’s been a time not easily forgotten by fans. Especially for those out there who love books.

In fact, some of the biggest Star Wars releases this year came in the form of the books, and today, we’re going to talk a little bit about them — spoiler free, of course.

So, take a seat, and get ready to dive on in. Or, as Han Solo would say: “Punch it, Chewie!”

Here are our top books of the year.

Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising

Our first top pick in the best Star Wars books of 2020 goes to the latest installment by Timothy Zahn — best known as the creator of Grand Admiral Thrawn. The book marks the start of a new trilogy and takes us beyond a galaxy far far away — to the Chiss Ascendancy years before Thrawn’s entrance into the Empire.

This excellent book gives a fresh perspective on the Admiral and explores the character when he was still young and liable to make mistakes. It’s an excellent escape from the core worlds and a brilliant exploration of the Grand Admiral’s still developing tactical mind.

While the book’s cover bears Thrawn’s namesake, it isn’t entirely about him. Moreover, we see a large focus on world-building and learn much more about the Chiss Ascendancy as a whole. Thus, if you’re ever out to get a broader scope of the universe, then this choice is the one for you.

Check out our full review for it: “Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising isn’t really about Thrawn, but it’s still good

BUY IT HERE: Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising

We’re super excited to see what Timothy Zahn does with the sequel, “Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good” in 2021.

Star Wars: Shadow Fall

The sequel to one of 2019’s best books, Alphabet Squadron, Star Wars: Shadow Fall takes us back to the events following The Return of the Jedi and resumes Alpha Squadron’s hunt for Shadow Wing.

Written by Alexander Freed, the book marks another brilliant exploration into the time of the New Republic and shows us an excellent — though sometimes horrifying — tale of war.

I loved this different take on Star Wars, and seeing a more realistic side of the galaxy often left me with chills running down my spine. War isn’t nice, and while it seems all fun and excitement in the Star Wars movie universe, Shadow Fall begs to differ.

Being the second part of a trilogy, we highly recommend checking out Alphabet Squadron before diving into this one. But when you do, prepare yourself — you’re in for a wild, and brutal ride.

BUY IT HERE: Star Wars: Shadow Fall

Queen’s Peril

“We are brave, your Highness.”

The second book by E.K Johnston is another step back in time for Star Wars, and a look at Padmé Amidala during her younger years.

Set entirely on Naboo, it’s great to see a teenage Amidala growing into a future senator, and super exciting seeing how her handmaidens and even Captain Panaka helped shape her into the woman we see in the movies.

I loved this book because it added an extra layer to Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. It takes place concurrently, with events even crossing over. It explores the Naboo blockade in greater depth and shows the harsh effect it had on the young Padmé — who at the time remained untrained in the art of diplomacy.

If you always felt Star Wars: Episode 1 missed the mark — then this is surely the book for you. It marks E.K Johnston’s second look at the queen and is a prequel to her 2019 novel Queen’s Shadow — another great entry that takes place shortly after The Phantom Menace and also really digs deep into who Padmé Amidala really is.

BUY IT HERE: Queen’s Peril

Want to learn more? Check out why Padmé Amidala is Star Wars’ greatest gift.

Poe Dameron: Free Fall

The next of the top books on our list is yet another step back in time. Poe Dameron: Free Fall is a young adult novel by Alex Segura, which features a much younger Poe than what we see in the latest Star Wars movies.

Starting on Yavin IV many years after Star Wars: A New Hope, we meet the son of Kes, and a boy yearning for adventure and meaning in the galaxy. What’s great about this book is we even get to see the young boy’s early piloting skills in the days before the Resistance.

It’s an interesting — though sometimes unsurprising — exploration of Dameron, and like many of the other options on our list, another great exploration of character you should check out if you want to add an extra layer to the films.

Indeed, those who may have been surprised by that revelation regarding Poe’s background in The Rise of Skywalker will find enjoyment learning more about it here, and if you ever felt the character was underused, this novel is one you should definitely check out.

BUY IT HERE: Poe Dameron: Free Fall

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition

The last novel on our list does exactly as its title suggests. It expands on The Rise of Skywalker and journeys into areas that didn’t quite make the film.

Written by Rae Carson, the novelization is the perfect way to witness the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga from a different perspective than the norm. It features a whole host of differences and extras that didn’t make the movie, and is the perfect supplement for those who felt the finale was lacking.


Because the novel doesn’t have limits. The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition simply tells more than the film.

We won’t go into too much detail here to keep it spoiler-free — but we’d highly recommend this novel to see out 2020.

BUY IT HERE: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition

…And that’s it!

2020 didn’t see the most Star Wars book releases, but those that did come out were fantastic.

We’re super excited to see what 2021 brings for book lovers, and while we’ve already had a peep with the announcement of Chaos Rising’s sequel, we expect many more surprises along the way. We can’t wait to see you there.

Next. Star Wars 2020 recap: The best Star Wars TV of 2020. dark

This post contains affiliate links, where we may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability accurate as of the time of publication.