Star Wars gained many fans thanks to its numerous films, but there's more to the galaxy than just major movie releases. Many authors have been contracted to write all sorts of stories that add on to the Star Wars saga. While most of them are no longer canonical and belong to the "Star Wars Legends" brand, there are some that were left as canon.
Not all Star Wars books were created equally, though. There are plenty that are better than others, so we're ranking the 10 best Star Wars canonical books. Get ready to expand your knowledge of Jedi, Sith, and the rest of the galaxy.
10 QUEEN'S SHADOW
Padme Amidala was a central character in the Star Wars prequels, and her leap through power in the government was notable. However, the movies don't have time to fully go into what she went through. That's where Queen's Shadow comes in. Focusing on Padme and her decoy Sabe, it documents what Padme did after ruling Naboo as its queen.
Throwing in Padme's handmaidens to help move the story along, there's so much about these characters that fans would've never known otherwise. It makes all of the politics in the prequels seem much more worth it and much more purposeful as a result.
9 STAR WARS: AFTERMATH
While Return of the Jedi held some sense of finality for the movies with the defeat of the Emperor and the destruction of the second Star Destroyer, there were still Empire soldiers out there, waiting to make their move. Star Wars: Aftermath deals with the events after Return of the Jedi as the Rebel Alliance tries to take down the remaining Empire loyalists.
However, the novel also details the events that led to the rise of the First Order and how the galaxy got to where it was at the start of The Force Awakens. There's more to the story than you might expect.
Thrawn is one of the most iconic characters for Star Wars fans who read the books. The critically-acclaimed Thrawn Trilogy remains one of the best Star Wars novels of all time. However, we never get to know much about Thrawn or where he came from.
The Thrawn novel details the events that led to Thrawn's rise to power. We get to learn how he got into the Empire and how he rose so quickly. Being such a big threat and such a brilliant strategist, it's fascinating to see how Thrawn could become the evil dictator we see in the aforementioned trilogy.
7 LAST SHOT
Han Solo and Lando Calrissian had an excellent adventure in Solo: A Star Wars Story. However, their adventures had long been over by the time they met again in The Empire Strikes Back. Turns out one of their old foes was biding their time.
After Return of the Jedi, this foe was hunting down Lando and trying to destroy Cloud City. This put Han and Lando in the Millennium Falcon once more as they worked together to stop this old enemy. An Ewok, Leia, and Chewbacca all join for the ride as well, making for a new crew in the same vein of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
While the Rebel Alliance celebrated peace after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, it wasn't meant to last. Leia ended up working with the New Republic as they posited the election of a First Senator. Leia didn't want the job for herself due to her own heritage, but Bloodline makes that choice almost necessary for her.
With new threats starting to emerge from the woodwork, Leia and a few other important characters have to work together to form the Resistance that we see in The Force Awakens. This novel is worth a read alone to see how Leia deals with the knowledge that Vader is her father.
5 THRAWN: ALLIANCES
While the Galactic Empire was at its height, the Emperor sensed a minor disturbance in the Force. Troubled by something that could be his undoing, he needed to send his most loyal subjects to investigate: Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn. Much to the Emperor's knowledge, Thrawn and Vader don't often see eye to eye and are competing for the same position in the Emperor's favor.
However, the two must work together and put their differences aside as some other dangerous threat puts them in a desperate position. Seeing these two work together is an excellent setup that pays off quite well.
Grand Moff Tarkin was a minor character in A New Hope, serving as the commander of the first Death Star before perishing with it at the end of the film. We don't learn much about him.
However, that all changed with the Tarkin novel. Giving this character a more detailed history, we get to see his life before the destruction of the Old Republic and how he positioned himself to become a leader in the Galactic Empire. There was something about him the Emperor liked. However, his skills are also put to the test when rumors of a rebellion reach his ears.
3 A NEW DAWN
The darkest times for the galaxy were between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, just after Order 66 had been completed and the Empire had newly risen. There are many stories to soak in during that time period, with one of the best being A New Dawn. After the fall of the Jedi, this story details how two of the central characters in Star Wars: Rebels meet and agree to work together.
We get more information about how the Empire exercised its control across the galaxy as well as what the defeat of the Jedi meant to the regular citizens. The novel feels like classic Star Wars, which makes it worth the price of admission.
Ahsoka Tano began her venture in the Star Wars saga as an apprentice to Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. However, she was wrongfully accused of treason by the Jedi Order. She was later cleared, but their lack of trust motivated her to leave the Jedi. Becoming a Gray Jedi, Ahsoka had numerous adventures during that time before appearing in Star Wars: Rebels.
While we don't know what she did in that major gap, Ahsoka tells us everything we need to know. We get to see her learn to use her training once more and how to fight for what she believed in.
1 LORDS OF THE SITH
While it seemed that the Emperor had an easy time maintaining his control of the galaxy after destroying the Jedi, Lords of the Sith shows that it was a bit more difficult than we might've initially thought. There was one planet that refused to bend to the Emperor's will. Being a personal task for him, he and Darth Vader set out to it themselves.
However, their ship was shot down, leading them to be stranded on a planet full of people that wanted them dead. The two Sith Lords had to learn to work together and rely on each other as they survived and tried to conquer the planet once and for all.
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