Throughout my years as a Star Wars fan I had only watched the movies and had never delved into the fictional book realm of the franchise…until recently. In the past year I have read several incredible Star Wars novels, all of which belong to the new canon created after Disney bought the franchise, and while some were slightly boring others were downright fantastic and helped expand my mind to the overall story of these films. So, I’m here to tell you which books I thought were just okay and which novels excelled my wildest expectations. Enjoy!
The Force Awakens
While I absolutely love The Force Awakens the novel is surprisingly disappointing. The story is kind of boring and there isn’t anything exactly different from the novel that wasn’t in the movie. Of course it’s Star Wars and it’s always fun to read anything that’s involved with Star Wars but this definitely isn’t a book to own.
The Aftermath Trilogy is a compelling series of books that tell the story of, well, the aftermath following the Battle of Endor. We get new characters to follow, some original faces here and there (one of them being Wedge which was really awesome) and some fantastic storylines. But as cool as the story sounds the trilogy’s first installment is a bit of a bore compared to its next two installments and that’s why I have it ranked next to last on this list. It is, however, a good book to read.
In the buildup to The Rise of Skywalker, the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, I was as excited as ever. My mother surprised me with this novel as a gift last November ahead of December’s The Rise of Skywalker release and when I read it I was ultimately underwhelmed. (My reaction was the same with the film.)
I recently reread it and I did enjoy it more than I did the first time but overall, this story could’ve been better.
A New Dawn
This book follows the story of two Star Wars: Rebels characters, Kanan Jarrus, a rascally type who was once a padawan before Order 66, and Hera Syndulla, a secret rebellion operative trying to stop the Empire’s reign. They cross paths on a planet overrun by the Empire and together they try to free the planet from the tyrannical organization’s reign. This is a fantastic novel full of enticing action, great character interplay, and a perfect introduction to these prominent characters in the Star Wars universe. If you’re a fan of Star Wars: Rebels this book is a must-have.
Aftermath: Empire’s End
The third installment in The Aftermath Trilogy feels like a war movie as everything begins to shake down into what we know of the story today. It tells of the Battle of Jakku in great detail, we get to learn a little bit about the mysterious beginnings of the secret First Order, and Palpatine’s plan for the survival of the Empire gets a startling introduction in this book that helps provide an even deeper understanding of how smart and calculated the Sith Lord truly was.
This book fascinated me because of these topics but it’s also a novel full of compelling storylines from the various characters and some truly heartfelt moments that bring the trilogy to a satisfying end. This is a worthy final installment to an already fantastic trilogy.
Phasma just manages to edge out Empire’s End because it’s a book about one of the coolest characters to ever appear in Star Wars. This novel has an extremely rugged, Mad Max vibe to it that’ll have you unable to put the book down so you can see what happens at the end. What’s also fascinating about the story is the novel is called Phasma and it’s solely about the eventual First Order captain but the story is never once narrated through her eyes. Her tale is told through the people around her who have her witnessed her might and her extreme knack for survival and that’s something I hadn’t seen in a novel before.
It also introduces another fascinating First Order captain in a man named Cardinal, Phasma’s archrival. She practically took his spotlight and now he wants to expose the truth of her past to rid the First Order of her once and for all. We also get brief cameos of Hux and slight mentions of Kylo Ren in this book which helps tie this novel even closer to the story presented in the movies. All in all, great novel.
Aftermath: Life’s Debt
I really, really enjoyed this book and it is clearly the best installment in the trilogy. Not only does the new characters’ stories get even more fascinating but it brings Han and Chewbacca deep into the fold of this tale along with Princess Leia as well and it’s just a heck of a ride from beginning to end. This book will make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, and it’ll make you beam with joy because of the sheer happiness it’ll provide you. It’s definitely one of my favorite Star Wars novels. 🙂
This story fascinated me because it was a novel solely about Leia Organa and it was so well written. Throughout my years watching Star Wars I’d never really obtained Leia’s side of the story through the original trilogy. Yes, she was one of the main characters, but a lot of times the story was told through another person’s point of view rather than her own and so it felt like a gift being able to read a book focused on her thoughts and her struggles in a galaxy on the very brink of a new war.
I also loved the different vibe this book provided as it told the story of Leia’s political struggles in the galaxy rather than a novel about her as a fighter in the rebellion which is something I am already very accustomed to. I also love that it is set twenty years after Return of the Jedi and in this book Ben Solo still hasn’t turned to the dark side and so she and Han are still together within the events of this story. It’s sad to think what of happens to them.
All in all, this story is fantastically told and builds in suspense throughout the book until it arrives a heartbreaking conclusion that actually brought tears to my eyes. If you’re a fan of Princess Leia this is definitely a book to read.
Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
Rogue One is my favorite Star Wars movie because of its gritty cinematography, its impeccable imagination, and its fascinating plot so when I read Catalyst I wasn’t surprised by how great of a book it was. Catalyst follows the stories of Galen Erso, Lyra Erso, and Director Krennic in a mesmerizing prequel that perfectly sets up Rogue One. What I loved the most about this book was the attention it provided Krennic. In the movie he was a surprisingly weak villain but in the novel his cunning and his menacing personality is in full effect and it is such a blast to read. It also provides a brief look at Jyn Erso as a little girl which is also just as awesome to learn about.
This book had me riveted from beginning to end and it truly helped amplify Rogue One‘s quality after I finished reading it. This is a must-have.
The Legends of Luke Skywalker
When I obtained The Legends of Luke Skywalker this past Christmas I didn’t realize the treat I was going to be in for. This book is nearly perfect from beginning to end. We all know about Luke’s adventures through the days of the original trilogy and now we know of his story near the end of his life as a mortal but in between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens that’s a major grey area in his story. Well, not anymore. Luke is so awesome and all of the adventures within this book help make him so much cooler. It also was amazing because you really get the sense of how incredible of a person he really was. There’s a reason why he became a legend in the galaxy. The man was amazing in the way he carried himself and the things that he did.
Not only was this one of the most fascinating Star Wars experiences I’ve ever had reading this book but it’s also simply one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s impeccably told throughout and I’m hoping for some more Ken Liu Star Wars books in the future because I want to read them all. 🙂
The Last Jedi
The Last Jedi was one of the most controversial Star Wars movies in recent history as it explored ideas and provided jaw-dropping twists that split Star Wars fans straight down the middle. And while this film got a good deal of backlash for some of its creative choices the novel edition of this movie is 100% spectacular! I’ve read this book twice (and I’m going to read it a third time) because everything in this book is just straight down phenomenal. Jason Fry took this story Rian Johnson crafted and adapted it into a tale that is so riveting and compelling once you start reading it you can’t put it down.
It truly feels like you’re watching an extended version of the movie as you read it and it truly is just a joy to experience. Rose is so much cooler in the book too because it’s the original version of her character, who is a grumpy type, and her complicated relationship with Finn was one of the joys of the story. It also was a blast reading the extra stuff with Poe as the novel really delved into his mind and why he was so wary of Holdo’s secret plan.
All in all, this book has become one of my favorite fictional novels of all time. It’s my favorite Star Wars book by a long shot because it’s simply such a well told story. And if you love Star Wars and if you especially enjoyed The Last Jedi this is a book you definitely want to get. It’s truly worth the read.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day. May the Force be with you. 🙂