As a Star Wars junkie, I know what it feels like to crave more about the lore and the whole history of the universe that George Lucas created.
After watching all the movies, many of us experienced a sort of disappointment from certain twists and turns of the story. However, there’s also a yearning or a curiosity to find out more.
I guess this is why many of us have turned to other Star Wars media such as video games, comic books, TV shows, and cartoons.
For my fellow bookworms, you’ll be glad to know that there are also NUMEROUS Star Wars books in the expanded universe to satisfy our intergalactic cravings.
We’ve listed the best books from Star Wars so you don’t have to waste your time scouring the internet. All you need to do is to pick up the copies and start reading about our favorite saga.
- Best Star Wars Books Table
- Best Star Wars Books Reviews
- 1. Thrawn (novel series) – Canon
- 2. Lost Stars – Canon
- 3. Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy – Canon
- 4. Bloodline – Canon
- 5. Tarkin – Canon
- 6. Leia, Princess of Alderaan – Canon
- 7. Ahsoka – Canon
- 8. Lords of the Sith – Canon
- 9. Dark Disciple – Canon
- 10. Phasma – Canon
- 11. The Thrawn Trilogy – Legends
- 12. Star Wars: Darth Bane Trilogy – Legends
- 13. Shadows of the Empire – Legends
- 14. Darth Plagueis – Legends
- 15. Outbound Flight – Legends
- 16. Star Wars: The New Jedi Order Series – Legends
- 17. The Old Republic: Deceived
- 18. The Han Solo Trilogy – Legends
- 19. The Old Republic: Revan – Legends
- 20. The Dark Lord Trilogy – Legends
Best Star Wars Books Table
Best Star Wars Books Reviews
The list below will not include the novelization of films. Instead, there will be 10 canonical books and another 10 from legends.
1. Thrawn (novel series) – Canon
By Timothy Zahn
The Thrawn series is at the top of the list for good reason. There are three volumes to the story of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s rise to power.
Delving deeper into his history and development as a character, you’ll find yourself cheering the Empire on.
Many Star Wars fans agree that this story is an enjoyable one. It’s gripping and introduces great characters along the way.
Readers determined this to be the best canonical Star Wars novel to date. Considering how well Zahn has written such a captivating story, I have to agree.
There are three volumes in this Expanded Universe, namely:
- Thrawn: Alliances
- Thrawn: Treason
2. Lost Stars – Canon
By Claudia Gray
Coming in at a close second is Lost Stars. This fanbase is known to keep a high standard and they take a close look and analyze the details of every release.
So it’s a sure success since this novel has received continuous and consistent praise from fans all around the world.
What I like about this novel is that it approaches familiar occurrences through a different lens.
Instead of the usual Sith and Jedi confrontation, Claudia Gray gives us a peek into the experiences of regular citizens as the war goes on.
It also gives a sort of political romance between characters who have different beliefs and lives. Set in a technologically advanced world, I find that it’s quite a unique take on the Capulet and Montague dilemma.
3. Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy – Canon
By Chuck Wendig
The Aftermath Trilogy has gained some serious traction from readers, but it has also achieved some conflicting reviews between the three books.
Unfortunately, the first book wasn’t the best. However, the story started to climb in the second and third books.
The second book also brought in more familiar characters. It confirmed some details and events to be canon, too.
As for the third book, the trilogy was wrapped up with awesome fight scenes. So, even if you weren’t a fan of the first book, I would urge you to pick up the rest of the books.
Here’s are the titles:
- Aftermath: Life Debt
- Aftermath: Empire’s End
4. Bloodline – Canon
By Claudia Gray
I’m a big fan of Leia so I have a soft spot for this book as she is the protagonist. Claudia Gray has done an excellent job of accurately depicting Leia’s character.
I find it impressive how she managed to keep the princess authentic despite the variables of political temperatures and relationships in the background.
As many others might agree, my favorite part is how this book showed Leia dealing with the knowledge that Vader was her father.
This was something I was always curious about since I found it lacking in the film. It opened more about her bond with Han, too.
Another selling point of this book is how it helps the reader better understand the political developments leading up to The Force Awakens.
5. Tarkin – Canon
By James Luceno
You’ve guessed it, this book is all about the mysterious Wilhuff Tarkin and it takes place 5 years after Revenge of the Sith.
I assure you, you will love how this book delves into different genres of fiction. This book delves into who Tarkin is and what shaped him to be such a man.
You’ll also see more of his relationship with Vader. If at first you paid Tarkin no attention or didn’t find him to be especially intriguing, this book is going to change your mind.
If you’re interested in character-centered development, this book is going to keep you locked in. It’s also a bonus to have some insight on the early construction of the Death Star.
6. Leia, Princess of Alderaan – Canon
By Claudia Gray
As mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Leia. Any fan of this saucy princess is going to enjoy this book.
It makes for a rich origin story and it helps the audience get to know her better. Focused on her character and her relationship with her adoptive parents, Bail and Breha Organa.
Romantic interests for the princess are also introduced in this book. So it’s quite a believable stage in her youth.
However, she also faces challenges as a leader of the planet Alderaan. She faces pressure from what is expected of her.
What I liked the best here is how it clues us to Leia’s force powers.
7. Ahsoka – Canon
By E.K. Johnston
While I’m a fan of Leia, I have to say that my favorite character is Ahsoka. I find her history and the challenges she had to go through one of the most painful ordeals in Star Wars.
This book takes place between Clone Wars and Rebels. So it fills us in with whatever gaps or questions we have when Rebels came out.
When Rebels came out, so many fans demanded answers for how she got her white lightsabers. You can read about that here, to avoid spoilers.
Anyway, all the answers are in the book. In addition to her lightsabers, it also talked about the Sith lightsabers, too.
Just like Lost Stars, this book takes a break from the perspective of Jedi or Sith. Instead, it brings focus to the experiences of people in the New Empire.
8. Lords of the Sith – Canon
By Paul S. Kemp
Ever since the publication of this book in 2015, it has stayed on top of the best Star Wars novels. This novel takes place between Revenge of the Sith and Tarkin.
Mainly, the story is about how the Rebels move forward in trying to liberate themselves from the grasp of the Empire.
It also establishes just how ruthless Vader is and how effective he is as an evil leader.
However, I have to say that the best parts of this book are when it explores Vader’s relationship with Palpatine.
Regardless of your Star Wars knowledge, this book is a great read. You don’t have to be a fanatic to enjoy it!
9. Dark Disciple – Canon
By Christie Golden
Another fan favorite is Asajj Ventress, so it’s no wonder that this book has received such gleaming reviews.
Based on the unproduced episodes of Clone Wars, this is going to be a necessary read for fans of the series.
The complexities of her character take center stage, and some dark themes are explored along the way.
Quinlan Vos and Asajj Ventress make for an interesting duo against Count Dooku. However, the development of their relationship and their goal to defeat Dooku might be barred by complicated emotions.
Overall, I have to say that this has captured the whole ambiance of Clone Wars. The development of Vos and Ventress is inevitable considering how magnetic their characters are.
10. Phasma – Canon
By Delilah S. Dawson
If Star Wars introduces a mysterious and intriguing character, fans just can’t help but wonder and do their research.
Fanatics can be pretty thorough with their theories. Thankfully, this novel is dedicated to this First Order Captain.
Phasma’s striking appearance in The Force Awakens piques the viewer’s curiosity, however. So I do believe it was a way to also draw attention to a book release.
Giving her an origin story, and development gives justification to her glistening character. She isn’t just a shiny chrome-clad centerpiece, there’s depth to her role.
Although she’s on the side of the First Order, you’ll be impressed by her tenacity, leadership, and intelligence.
However, some readers debate about how Finn could have defeated her character, considering her prowess displayed in this book.
Nevertheless, whether you’re a fan of the sequel trilogy or not, this book is enjoyable and well written.
11. The Thrawn Trilogy – Legends
By Timothy Zahn
Easing into legends, the novels are expected to be more mature in comparison to the Disney approved canonical novels.
Just to clarify, The Thrawn novel series is canon, while the Thrawn Trilogy is part of legends. The Thrawn Trilogy has received so many positive reviews consistently.
Despite being part of legends, it has emerged a favorite among fans. They even go as far as putting this series at the top of the list, surpassing canonical releases.
Even after its release in the ’90s, readers go back to this trilogy to relive the thrill and, oddly enough, encouraging nature of the great villain, General Admiral Thrawn’s.
If you don’t care about what’s canon or not, and just want an excellent and well-written story in the Star Wars expanded universe, I urge you to pick up these books:
- Heir to the Empire
- Dark Force Rising
- The Last Command
12. Star Wars: Darth Bane Trilogy – Legends
By Drew Karpyshyn
Another trilogy worth your time reading would be the Darth Bane Trilogy. I guess something is alluring about stories from the Dark Side.
I’m a sucker for detailed writing, and that’s exactly what Karpyshyn has done with this trilogy. Reading along, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in this fantastical world.
Another aspect I like is how he allows the reader to think and to follow the breadcrumbs to make their conclusions about certain ideologies.
It’s almost as if he’s seducing you to walk on the Dark Side by planting the seed of doubt through intellectual debate.
As for the story itself, it’s altogether hooking, especially with its compelling characters.
The three books in this trilogy:
- Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
- Darth Bane: Rule of Two
- Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil
13. Shadows of the Empire – Legends
By Steve Perry
This book takes place after Empire Strikes Back and before Return of the Jedi. Our favorite heroes and villains from the Star Wars movies are featured here.
Aside from the main crew, we also have Boba Fett, and Lando. A unique new addition would be the new villain, Prince Xizor.
If you’re a big fan of fast-paced adventures, this exciting installment is a guarantee. Overall, this is a great fix if you miss the original crew.
14. Darth Plagueis – Legends
By James Luceno
Star Wars movie buffs will be familiar with the name Plagueis. However, without supplementary material on this dark character, you’ll be left wanting more.
There’s no question about it, all fans should read this book. This legendary Sith lord craved and desired to be the most powerful.
Reading about his life, his character, and his ultimate demise gives us a sense of his capabilities. However, it also shows us just how sinister Sidious is.
Since we know what happens when Sidious is chosen as the apprentice, the reader is aware of the inevitability of Darth Plagueis’ fall.
This story feels almost like it could be performed in a theater because of how it makes use of certain tragic elements.
However, a major part of this book is how it educated the reader about the Force. To be honest, just like many other fans, there are many things about the Force that I questioned.
Without a doubt, James Luceno does a great job going in-depth concerning the Force. Overall, even if this isn’t canon, you just wish it was because of how good it is.
15. Outbound Flight – Legends
By Timothy Zahn
If you haven’t noticed by now, Timothy Zahn has written hit after hit. I’m not surprised that his writing has dominated lists of best Star Wars novels.
Outbound Flight is a fine introduction to Thrawn and it’s also a real page-turner. Many were thrilled to say that they finished this book so quickly.
Zahn is known to be a real craftsman and he knows what will tantalize the reader. It also features Obi and Anakin, which was something I didn’t expect.
At the risk of spoiling this book, let’s just say that it evokes a spectrum of emotions. Considering how popular the Thrawn series and trilogy are, this book is a nice bonus to his story.
16. Star Wars: The New Jedi Order Series – Legends
By multiple authors
If you’re looking for a substantial adventure, you’re in luck with The New Jedi Order Series. With 19 books in this series, you’re sure to get prolonged entertainment.
It doesn’t matter if you like legends over canon because this series overrides the nuances and is just a great series.
In the same way, these books will be enjoyable to anyone who picks it up, young or old.
The stories take place 21 years after the destruction of the Death Star. The crew, namely Luke, Han, and Leia team up with a new generation of Jedi’s as well as new characters!
List of The New Jedi Order Books in chronological order:
- Vector Prime
- Onslaught (The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide, Book I)
- Ruin (The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide, Book II)
- Hero’s Trial (The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos, Book I)
- Jedi Eclipse (The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos, Book II)
- Balance point
- Conquest (The New Jedi Order: Edge of Victory, Book I)
- Rebirth (The New Jedi Order: Edge of Victory, Book II)
- Star by Star
- Dark Journey
- Rebel Dream (The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines, Book I)
- Rebel Stand (The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines, Book II)
- Destiny’s Way
- Remnant (The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic, Book I)
- Refugee (The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic, Book II)
- Reunion (The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic, Book III)
- The Final Prophecy
- The Unifying Force
17. The Old Republic: Deceived
By Paul S. Kemp
This is a real treat for my fellow gamers out there since this book is directly related to the Star Wars: The Old Republic online game. Deceived is the second novel for The Old Republic series.
Kemp opens this novel with Dark Malgus attacking the Jedi Temple. Aside from being an engaging villain, his character also brings very human complexities.
The main protagonist is Aryn who’s faced with the dilemma to take revenge on Malgus for killing her master or to become a Jedi.
This book, too, is a page-turner and is spot on when it comes to the delivery of the story. If there’s anything to gripe about, it’s how its flavor is so typically Star Wars.
What I mean by this is that its story might feel repetitive in terms of Star Wars themes. Nonetheless, I can chuck it up to its being consistent thematically.
Overall, despite this minor complaint, this still gets a thumbs up in my book.
18. The Han Solo Trilogy – Legends
By A.C. Crispin
The books for this trilogy are dedicated to Han Solo. I quite like his suave bad-boy persona, and his antics with Chewie can brighten the mood.
For Star Wars to dedicate a trilogy to help us further understand Han’s character is satisfying.
The books cover a lot of important events in Han’s life, from his childhood, to how he met Chewie, and how he ended up as a smuggler.
Below are the titles:
- The Paradise Snare
- The Hutt Gambit
- Rebel Dawn
19. The Old Republic: Revan – Legends
By Drew Karpyshyn
Revan is another favorite of mine because of how complex his character is. The way his story is unraveled in the games is masterful and I honestly cannot express how cathartic his story is.
The ups and downs of his story are heartbreaking but masterful in the grand scheme of the Force. It’s the poetic story that all Star Wars fans deserve.
So to have a novel dedicated to Revan, you can just imagine my excitement. The setting of this story takes place when he returns to the Jedi, two years after Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
With this knowledge, it might be difficult for readers to understand the situation if they haven’t played the game.
If you have, this is going to be enjoyable and interesting.
20. The Dark Lord Trilogy – Legends
By James Luceno & Matthew Stover
Finally, we have another trilogy dedicated to the one and only Darth Vader. If you aren’t a huge Star Wars geek, this book might not interest you.
If you’re only familiar with Star Wars Canon, I highly suggest that you dip your toes into the legends. I assure you that you will not look back.
If you’re already into legends, by all means, grab thee books, enjoy it and absorb it.
It gives a lot of insight into Anakin slowly turning to the dark side and Darth Vader’s rise to power, and his struggles.
To be able to fully grasp the internal strife of this tragic character, here are the titles below:
- Labyrinth of Evil
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (novelization of the movie)
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
At the end of the day, tastes differ. There will always be an ongoing debate on what’s best in the Star Wars fandom. Hate it or like it, I think energetic back and forth between fans is what keeps generations interested in this universe (and its expanded universe)
So go ahead, tell us what your top novels are, and don’t be afraid to hash out and defend your thoughts!
As always, may the Force be with you!
(Best Star Wars Books – Expanded Universe)
Last update on 2020-10-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.