When it comes to Star Wars books, picking the best isn’t easy let alone navigating the immense franchise itself. There is the Canon and then there is the non-canon or what is known as the Expanded Universe which then became Legends after Disney took over the franchise. I’ve taken the best Star Wars books from the Canon and the Expanded Universe to bring to you a diverse and exciting number of adventures across the Star Wars universe. From Skywalker sagas and Sith Lords to X-Wing fighter pilots and ruthless Starship Grand Admirals, here are the best Star Wars books to read in 2019.
Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray
The New Republic is in danger of collapsing. It is beset on all sides by criminal bosses, old Republic loyalists, and bitter bickering. Everyone is beginning to feel as if the hard-won New Republic is going to tear itself to shreds. With the demise of Lord Vader and Emperor Palpatine, people across the galaxy begin to trust the idea that a singular leader with great power is their only hope to unite the galaxy. Wisely, they believe Leia might be the powerful senator they need. Leia resists. Afterall, it was this very same situation that delivered the Emperor to power in the first place. However, a new enemy is growing and might force Leia to take the mantle of something she knows is dangerous.
Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston
The popular and beloved character from the Clone Wars series finally gets her story told. When Ahsoka leaves her teacher Anakin Skywalker in the devastating aftermath of order 66, she retires to an out of the way moonbase called Raada to find her place in the galaxy. Of course, it’s not too long before trouble spoils her lunar paradise and she is drawn back into the fray on the side of the Rebel Alliance. Ultimately a worthy entry in the annals of the Star Wars universe and a thrumming read you won’t want to miss.
Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
This is the hugely popular and highly praised story of one of the greatest (and most popular) Star Wars villains. Thrawn follows the titular character on the fateful journey that made him one of the most cunning and ruthless villains in the Galactic Empire and the Star Wars universe more broadly. This kicks off a best-selling trilogy that will have you reading deep into the night.
Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
This tells an absolutely amazing love story which no doubt helped propel it onto the best-seller list. Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree come from very different backgrounds: he hails from an important line of the aristocracy with an important last name, and she comes from a simple farming family. A the Empire’s training academy, the two bond over their love of flying. However, once Thane realizes how ruthless and merciless the grasp of the Empire is, he decides to flee and join the Rebel Alliance, which leaves the love of his life with a anguishing decision: does she fight for the love of her life, or against him? A very popular entry that has stellar reviews, Star Wars Lost Stars is definitely one of the best Star Wars books to be published in recent memory.
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
This is the book that gave birth to the Star Wars Expanded Universe and introduces readers to two incredible characters: Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade, the wife of Luke Skywalker. Set shortly after the final battle in Endor, all seems well. Luke is beginning to grow the Jedi Order and Han and Leia are expecting Jedi twins. But at the very edge of the galaxy the ruthless and brilliant starship captain Grand Admiral Thrawn has refused to surrender to the rebel scum. In fact, he has discovered something which has the power to destroy the New Republic itself. And he is on his way to use it.
Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp
Journey to the Dark Side of the Force with this popular entry in the Star Wars universe. When Emperor Palpatine and his Sith apprentice Darth Vader find themselves stranded in the middle of the Rebel Alliance they must rely on each other, the Dark Side of the Force, and their own ferocity to make it out alive. A great swashbuckling adventure where you really get to see the full power of the Dark Side being wielded on every page.
Darth Plagueis by James Luceno
Darth Plagueis chronicles an exhilarating story of two of the most ambitious and powerful Sith Lords to ever exist. One wants to live forever and lives in secret on the margins of the universe and has obtained ultimate power over life and death. The other is a public leader who studies the mysteries of the Dark Side in secret while ascending to power over an entire galaxy. Will they be able to combine their strengths to destroy the Jedi Order and bask in the glory of ultimate power and never-ending life? A must read for all Star Wars fans.
Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray
Master and Apprentice follows the relationship between the highly talented Obi-Wan and the esteemed Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn as they assist in a political dispute at the request of the Jedi Order. Tensions emerge between Obi-Wan and his Master who seems to be falling prey to a belief in ancient Jedi Prophecies rather than deal with the practical realities that are currently facing them. What follows is both a reposeful exploration of the Force and the relationship between Jedi Master and Padawan and an exciting adventure of two Jedi on a planet far, far away. I also love this cover, which makes it the decision to buy this at once even easier.
Darth Bane by Drew Karpyshyn
Easily one of the best Star Wars books, Darth Bane is a set 1,000 years before A New Hope and is a story you read and re-read again and again. When Des kills a sore loser after a big win in a high-stakes gambling game, the force-gifted son of an abusive miner has nowhere to run but the darkest corners of the galaxy. There, he joins the Brotherhood of Darkness which precipitates his dangerous journey to become the Sith’ari—the Dark Side’s equivalent of the Jedi’s Chosen One. He spends time in physical training, but seems to learn even more from his time in the library, pouring over scrolls and searching for the secrets within that they have withheld for millennia. Finally, when he makes an unprecedented discovery his task becomes clear: he must destroy the entire existing order of the Sith and find a disciple. For there can be only two.
The Choices of One by Timothy Zahn
I’m a huge fan of the character Mara Jade (Luke Skywalker’s eventual wife in the Expanded Universe) and she has a big role to play in this book. When a governor in the Candoras Sector offers the Rebel Alliance a new base, his erstwhile Imperial masters don’t rejoice at his treacherous decision. They also don’t waste time in dispatching Mara Jade, the Emperor’s Hand to deal swift justice and crush the Rebels once and for all. In the deceit and mayhem that follows, no one could have had any idea what kind of wildcard is about to be played.
Star Wars: Revan by Drew Karpyshyn
Revan is called many things by many people: hero, traitor, conqueror, savior. A promising Jedi, he left Coruscant to battle and defeat the Mandalorians but something happened to him out there beyond the deepest parts of space. He turned to the Dark Side and returned to Coruscant bent on completely destroying the Jedi Order and the Republic. Fortunately he was stopped, but the Jedi erased his memory; which is unfortunate because those lost memories were likely the only thing that can help him stop a juggernaut of evil that is about to destroy Republic.
Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed
With the Emperor dead and the Death Star destroyed you’d think there would be some peace and calm in the galaxy. But a hardened sect of TIE fighters known as Shadow Wing has refused to surrender and is wreaking havoc throughout the New Republic. In response, esteemed general Hera Syndulla assembles a scrappy group of dysfunctional gunslinger fighter pilots which band together as Alphabet Squadron. These damaged top guns have more demons and secrets than anyone could imagine and might just destroy themselves before the Shadow Wing does.