Created in 1977 by George Lucas, Star Wars began with the 1977 film of same name. Becoming a cultural phenomenon, it has spawned numerous movies, animation and live action TV shows and more importantly….a plethora of books, a interconnected universe of it’s own!
Though Hollywood has been predominantly fixated on direct derivatives of the Skywalker saga, the book universe has created far more interesting and brilliant stories set in the same Universe. The movies predominantly feature the Skywalkers and Jedi for obvious reasons, but the Sith Lords in the Dark Side are as fascinating if not more!
Overall there’s just short of 400 books in SW Universe spanning multiple timelines and plotlines, which makes it daunting for someone looking for a place to start. Here’s my recommendation and favourite books that might kick start the journey into SW Nerd-dom!
Welcome to the Dark Side!
The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
Category: Legends / EU
Books in Series: Heir to the Empire | Dark Force Rising | Last Command
Note: Not to be confused with the new (2017) series with similar name from same author.
No matter which site you browse, which fan you speak to, this trilogy is most likely to be called out as the best in Universe, cannon or otherwise.
Grand Admiral Thrawn is such a iconic badass antagonist that I love him more than Darth Vader or Emperor. Such a compelling antagonist and probably the best character ever in SW!
The book is set in immediate aftermath of the original movies. the Emperor is dead and empire has been defeated but not destroyed. The new Republic which has replaced it is sufferings growing pains as the various internal factions that made the Rebel Alliance start politicking for power. In this shaky times, from the fringes of Empire territories emerges Thrawn, a threat like no other.
The plot is superb, the characters brilliant and it’s grasps you from the beginning and keeps you hooked till the end of the trilogy. Even 4 decades after it’s release, it still holds the crown of best ever!
Darth Bane Trilogy by Drew Karpyshyn
Category: Legends / EU
Books in Series: Path of Destruction | Rule of Two | Dynasty of Evil
Ever wonder why the order Jedi Order had so many members whilst the Order of Sith Lords only had the Darth Sidious [Emperor Palpatine] and his apprentice Darth Vader?
Set in a era circa 1000 years before the original SW movies, Darth Bane was one of the most influential of all Sith Lords with his actions impacting the whole legacy of Sith forever. It’s a tale of the man took the first steps setting the Sith from their hiding to ruling the entire Galaxy.
The trilogy follows a life of Dessel a poor miner, who takes first step into becoming Darth Bane. it’s a tale of corruption, of tragedy, of iron will and clever manipulations as we see the first cycle of Rule of Two – “Two there should be. No more, no less. One to embody power, the other to crave it.” A move that set the Brotherhood of Sith from being a big but flawed organization mostly futile in their attempts against the Jedi Order to a shadowy duo that corrupts from within.
It’s a raw and compelling read that not just simplistically describes the Sith as evil, but gives valuable insight into their philosophies and thoughts.
Darth Plagueis by James Luceno
Category: Legends / EU
This is a unique book in many ways as Darth Plagueis is (I believe) the only other Sith Lord who gets mentioned in the original SW movies. Darth Plagueis is also one of the most powerful Sith Lords reputed to have even gained power over life and death. The influence of his actions are the ones movie viewers see the most as the orchestrated the growth and development of his apprentice, Darth Sidious who would rule the entire galaxy as Emperor Palpatine.
It’s a phenomenal book in the sense that it spans a huge amount of time starting from Plagueis own beginnings till the beginnings of SW movies. from his machinations regarding Anakin Skywalker directly impacting the prequel trilogy and setting the scene for the original movies.
The book is quite interesting as it goes about into details of the machinations and manipulations that Paagueis did setting the scene for ascension of Palpatine, but it sometimes delves those in too much detail. There are multiple sections which are dedicated into the philosophies and thoughts of Plagueis, which are fasinating but albeit a bit dry.
still one of the best and most intriguing reads for anyone who’s interested in events immediately preceding the original SW movies and what set the scene for the trilogy!