So you’ve seen the Holy Trilogy so many times you can recite it from memory. You have the soundtracks on infinite loop on your MP3 player. But have you read the best Star Wars books and graphic novels? Below we’ve narrowed down the Star Wars books to the ten that are absolute must-reads for fans of the saga. Most are novels, but there are two graphic novels we had to include.
Heir to the Empire Trilogy
If you’re a Star Wars fan who hasn’t read the Thrawn trilogy, we feel sorry for you. Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command launched the entire Star Wars Expanded Universe book series and are responsible for the resurgence of Star Wars in the 90s. This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Heir to the Empire, so it’s a perfect time to start.
Second only to the Thrawn trilogy is what some fans consider to be the best Jedi book ever written. Told in the first person I, Jedi chronicles the story of one of the main characters from the X-Wing series of novels as he begins training as a Jedi at Luke’s Jedi Academy.
Hated by fans for the death of Chewie (which legend says Salvatore refused to do and tried to give his pay back for), Vector Prime kicked off the New Jedi Order – the last great Star Wars book series. Legacy of the Jedi and Fate of the Jedi didn’t quite match the epic that the NJO was and Vector Prime kicked it off with a shock.
George Lucas has publicly mocked Dark Empire when speaking about the EU, so if he doesn’t like it; it must be awesome. This is the comic series where the Emperor is resurrected via a clone and Luke turns to the Dark Side. While the cloning stuff in this (and the Thrawn trilogy) is kinda nullified by the canon established in the Prequels, it’s still an awesome comic series.
While the Outbound Flight was mentioned in the Thrawn books, it took years for Zahn to actually write the story. But the wait was well worth it. Not only do you get to see how awesome the young Thrawn was in the Prequel-era, it also is a foreboding set up for the war depicted in the New Jedi Order.
The Darth Bane Trilogy
If you ever wanted to know how the Sith’s rule of two came into being; the Bane trilogy explains it. Dynasty of Evil, Path of Destruction, and Rule of Two detail Bane’s rise to power and the three are some of the best Star Wars novels written in the last few years. Fans of the Sith will love this.
The Unifying Force
The Unifying Force is the final novel in the New Jedi Order series, and is notable for being the first EU book appearance of Kyle Katarn from the Dark Forces and Jedi Knight games. While it’s wise to read the entire NJO series before the end, the finale was an epic end to an believably huge galactic war with casualties that numbered in the trillions.
Tales of the Jedi
Long before BioWare made Knights of the Old Republic, Kevin J. Anderson created the Old Republic with his Tales of the Jedi comic storylines. There are many storylines and characters in the series, but this is where just about everything in the upcoming Old Republic game originated, and you can probably expect to see some of the more popular Jedi characters in the comics starring in novels pretty soon.
Shadows of the Empire
Before the Star Wars Special Editions hit theaters, Lucafilm did a massive multimedia project to tell the story of the gap of time between The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi. The result was Shadows of the Empire. It introduced a new villain, and explains how Luke, Leia, Chewie, and Lando got to where they were at the beginning of Return of the Jedi.
Zombies and Star Wars are like chocolate and peanut butter, they’re just awesome together. That’s what Death Troopers is. Set about a year before A New Hope, it features Han and Chewie and a whole Star Destroyer full of Stormtrooper zombies. A sequel, set in the Old Republic, was recently released.