16 Star Wars Books You Should Read in 2016

And unlike the pitiful Disney “17 Villains” list, I won’t have to scrape any barrels to come up with 16 satisfying realcanon reads for the year.

Yes, halfway through Maul (May) is a weird time to give you a list of books to read for the year. But I’m weird, so that fits just fine. Actually, I was inspired by something I saw on Twitter today and thought, “People love lists, and this would be a great topic for a list!” List posts are extremely trendy, so I’ll try to give this a clickbaity promo line and go from there.

jediacademytril

16. Jedi Search
15. Dark Apprentice
14. Champions of the Force

Together, this 1994 trilogy makes up the real Star Wars: Episode VIII as Luke Skywalker battles demons from his run-on with the Dark Side and founds the Jedi school Yoda urged him to create all the way back in Episode VI. Mon Mothma is poisoned and the Sun Crusher is out to destroy whole star systems while a deranged Imperial tries to kidnap Anakin Solo and turn him into a new model Darth Vader.

13. The Truce at Bakura 

If you want to know what happened after Endor, what the day after Return of the Jedi‘s Ewok party was like, then Kathy Tyers has the whole thing right here for you — since 1993.

darksaber

12. Darksaber
11. Planet of Twilight

I know these are both part of the so-called “Callista trilogy” but I will never recommend anyone read Children of the Jedi, ever. Darksaber, however, is one of my favorite books. Soviet-esque Hutts attempt to build a superweapon among their own greedy shortcuts; Crix Madine is a war hero; and Luke gives his weird girlfriend a clip show of the best planets of the original trilogy. Planet of Twilight has some cool moments, a dark side vision of Leia, and the character Leigious Vorn to make it worthwhile.

Corellia_SOF

10. Ambush at Corellia
9. Assault on Selonia
8. Showdown at Centerpoint

This underrated Corellian Trilogy, which joined us in 1995 but which became my first Star Wars book ever in December 1997, is in my opinion a must-read for every treu fan. A chance to glimpse into Han’s past and the reclusive Corellian system turns into a disaster for the Solo family, as an evil cousin takes Han hostage and a sinister archaeology project flings the three kids into their first big adventure. Also, Lando hires Luke to help find him a wife, and lightsaber-wielding Mara and Leia destroy a government building! Non-stop thrills.

Home stretch! These are books with significant birthdays this year —

StarWarsNovelization

7. Star Wars, From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker

Not really Expanded Universe because it doesn’t expand, this adaptation of the 1977 film is historically interesting and significant, not least of all because it’s the first Star Wars anyone in our galaxy ever experienced when it was published in December of 1976. It turns a distinguished 40 years old this year.

6. Jedi Twilight

This ten-year-old novel may be the first book in the Coruscant Nights trilogy (2) (3), but it’s the fourth book in Michael Reeves’ Pavan Saga, so bonus points if you read Shadow Hunter, Battle Surgeons, and Jedi Healer first! Otherwise, it tells the story of a Jedi in hiding who has become a private eye in the wake of Order 66.

Thrawn_CHISS

5. Outbound Flight

Another one turning ten this year: Timothy Zahn’s own prequel to Heir to the Empire, showing how the Chiss made first contact with the Republic and showing us what a lovable old cuss the real Jorus C’boath was in life. Thrawn’s first appearance.

4. The New Rebellion

A book with a mixed reputation, to be sure, New Rebellion is also turning 20 this year and deserves to be remembered for the character of Brakiss, who could have been so much more, and the eerie post-bombing chaos of the Senate chamber. (Who else freaked out when Leia was bleeding from the ears?) The skull-faced villain has his moments. It should not be discarded simply because of an over-the-top scene of Luke lightsaber dueling Mr. Bubble’s evil cousin. Nope! Worth reading.

The gang's all here!

3. Tales of the Bounty Hunters

Bounty hunters — we do need that scum! Visit arguably the best of the short story anthologies from 1996 as some favorite Star Wars authors tell the tales of our favorites, Dengar, IG-88, 4-LOM and Zuckuss, Bossk, and even Boba Fett!

2. Rogue Squadron 

One of my favorites of all time, the perfect book for you if you’re bored with the Big Three and/or Force users and bounty hunting scum just aren’t up your alley. Top Gun x-wing flyboys show you what it’s like to be a real Rogue.

And the #1 book you should read this year —

shadows

Shadows of the Empire turned 20 years old on April 1 (no kidding!). This book is wildly important in the history of Star Wars. You can catch my full review here!

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13 Responses to “16 Star Wars Books You Should Read in 2016”

  1. Iain Lennox Says:

    Shadows of the empire is well worthy of being #1 on this list although imo i, Jedi and republic commando should be on this list instead of the new rebellion and planet of twilight.

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  2. I never understood the hate Children of the Jedi get even among hardcore EU fans. Sure, it’s not one of the best works from the EU, but it has a nice female villain, mystique, not-so-stupid superweapon and Belsavis is a nice setting.
    Even my mom liked this series for the romance plot back when it came out :)

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    • I hate it because Barbara Hambly is an illiterate hack O:) That entire book feels like a fever dream, nothing that happens in it makes any sense, and setting Luke up to get busy with his former apprentice is creepy as all get out. Also, I detest romance, but I definitely wouldn’t say Children of the Jedi has any romance in it.

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      • Well, I’m planning to read the entire post-RotJ EU this year, starting with Bounty Hunter Wars and ending with Crisis on Crystal Reef (went from Vector Prime to Crucible last year) so I’ll have a chance to re-evaluate Children of the Jedi. Maybe it really is as bad as people say and I’m just blinded by nostalgia? :)

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        • Haha nostalgia goggles are strong! On the other hand, I think the whole EU has value — Belsavis is one of my favorite planets! — so when I don’t like a book, I get kind of relieved when I find out it does have fans! I really like Planet of Twilight, and I even have favorite stuff from Crystal Star. There’s almost no such thing as a worthless Star Wars book. Just badly written ones ;)

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  3. Toby Fields Says:

    I agree with number one but that is about it. The one Zahn book you chose Outbound Flight! . Then no mention of I, Jedi! Quite possibly the best book of the whole expanded universe

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    • You can find many, many, many posts about Michael A. Stackpole, my favorite SW author, and I, Jedi, my favorite Star Wars book (and one of my 100 favorite novels) in both of my blogs.

      This list is supposed to be fresher than that. Honestly, I’m tired of reading the same three EU titles over and over and made selections a little more thoughtfully based on 1) what I thought people probably hadn’t read a hundred times already, 2) what books have significance this year.

      As nucanon “Episode 8” hype increases, I will continue to advertise realcanon Episode VIII more stridently. The same for Truce at Bakura, as it is one actively replaced by Disney.

      I also wanted to acknowledge books having anniversaries this year.

      No Star Wars fan needs to be told to read Timothy Zahn, so why would I waste a slot telling them to read what they’ve doubtless already read a bunch of times?

      I want people to stretch their minds, not keep orbiting the same six Star Wars books all the time.

      It is not a list of “most popular,” “my favorite,” or “best” Star Wars books. It is what it purports to be: ones that SHOULD be read.

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  4. I’ve read a lot of these in the past but have forgotten most of them. :( I’m happy to see Tales of the Bounty Hunters on the list though!

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  5. […] read at least 52 books a year — I just want to inspire you. I really enjoyed the list I put together last year, so I was inspired to do it again!  I’ve carefully selected these 17 realcanon reads to […]

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