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Book series, where to start?

Fourarms's Avatar

12.30.2011 , 05:26 PM | #1
Title pretty much says it all. I love Star Wars but have never read any of the books. I would love to start, but just briefly looking around there are billions(exaggeration). Can anyone point me in the right direction?

DoctorBeckett's Avatar

12.30.2011 , 06:38 PM | #2
What Era do you want to start off with?

This list is a bit old, but it gets the general feeling.

Here's an overview of the Star Wars eras.

Old Republic era
(25,053 – 1,000 BBY)
This era explores the earliest days of the Galactic Republic, its protectors, the Jedi Order, and its enemies, the Sith. Beginning with the formation of the Republic, it ends with the defeat of the Brotherhood of Darkness at the Seventh Battle of Ruusan and the rebirth of the Republic in the Ruusan Reformation.

Though this era spans twenty-four thousand years of history, the earliest tale to date takes place only as far back as 5,000 BBY. Earlier millennia, as well as the Pre-Republic era, are chronicled only as historical lore and legend.

Major works:

Tales of the Jedi (Shadows and Light posed between The Sith War and Redemption)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (comics)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Unseen, Unheard
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
Jedi vs. Sith
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance

Star Wars: Red Harvest

Rise of the Empire era
(1,000 – 0 BBY)
In this era, the Republic is seemingly in a golden age. However, the Sith, under Darth Bane, survived to plot against the Republic and the Jedi in the shadows. After centuries of Sith scheming, Palpatine, alias Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith, sets events in motion which lead to the Clone Wars, a conflict that tears apart the Galaxy.

At the end of the Clone Wars, Palpatine's master plan leads to the corruption of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, the Great Jedi Purge, and the formation of the Galactic Empire. Yet, there is still hope for the Galaxy, as the early exploits of heroes such as Han Solo and Lando Calrissian show.

Major works:

Darth Bane: Rule of Two
Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil
Star Wars: Republic
Jedi Apprentice
Jedi Council: Acts of War
Star Wars: Darth Maul
Cloak of Deception
Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Rogue Planet
Outbound Flight
Jedi Quest
Star Wars: Jango Fett
Jango Fett: Open Seasons
The Approaching Storm
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Boba Fett Series
Star Wars: Clone Wars
Clone Wars Adventures
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Film
Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV Series
Legacy of the Jedi
The Cestus Deception
The Hive
Republic Commando series
MedStar Duology
General Grievous
Secrets of the Jedi
Jedi Trial
Yoda: Dark Rendezvous
Labyrinth of Evil
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars live-action TV series
Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
Star Wars: Dark Times
Coruscant Nights Trilogy
The Last of the Jedi
Star Wars: Droids
The Han Solo Trilogy
The Adventures of Lando Calrissian
The Han Solo Adventures
The Force Unleashed
The Force Unleashed II

Rebellion era
(0 – 5 ABY)
As an Alliance to Restore the Republic forms, a young man named Luke Skywalker discovers his destiny: to become a Jedi Knight, like his father. Trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi and later Yoda, the last of the Republic's Jedi Masters, he rescues Princess Leia, joins the Rebel Alliance, and destroys the Empire's mighty Death Star at the Battle of Yavin.

Many other heroes fight along side him in the pivotal battles of the Galactic Civil War, from the Battle of Yavin, to the Retreat from Hoth, to the pivotal Battle of Endor, where the Emperor, though not the entire Empire, is defeated. The Rebellion declares a New Republic, defeating such threats as Ssi-Ruuk, the Nagai, the Tof, and resurgent Imperial warlords.

Because of how long it has been around, this era has more works (if all unlisted works are counted) than any other era.

Major works:

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Vader's Quest
Marvel Star Wars
Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina
Star Wars: Dark Forces
Star Wars: Empire
Star Wars: Rebellion
Jabba the Hutt: The Art of the Deal
Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika
Star Wars Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine
Splinter of the Mind's Eye
Boba Fett: Enemy of the Empire
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Tales of the Bounty Hunters
Shadows of the Empire
Shadows of the Empire: Evolution
Star Wars: Ewoks
Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Tales from Jabba's Palace
The Bounty Hunter Wars
The Truce at Bakura
Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor
Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
Jedi Prince Series
The Bounty Hunters

New Republic era
(5 – 25 ABY)
During this time period, a New Republic sweeps the Galaxy, liberating countless worlds, including the Galactic capital world, Coruscant. Before the New Republic can call itself safe, however, it must deal with a series of Imperial leaders, including Ysanne Isard, Warlord Zsinj, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Admiral Daala, and even the resurrected Emperor Palpatine himself. Aside from the remnants of the Empire, the Republic must deal with many external and internal threats during this period.

As the Republic tries to bring peace to a fractious Galaxy, Luke Skywalker becomes a Jedi Master, and sets about establishing a New Jedi Order. He also meets the former Imperial assassin, Mara Jade, whom he eventually marries. His friend Han Solo and his sister Princess Leia also marry and have three children: Jaina, Jacen, and Anakin. After the Galactic Civil War finally ends in the Bastion Accords, Luke's niece and nephews become Jedi apprentices themselves.

Major works:

X-wing: Rogue Squadron
X-wing novels
The Courtship of Princess Leia
Tatooine Ghost
Thrawn Trilogy
Dark Empire
Dark Empire II/Empire's End
Boba Fett: Death, Lies, & Treachery
Crimson Empire
Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood
I, Jedi
Jedi Academy Trilogy
Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Jedi Academy: Leviathan
Children of the Jedi
Planet of Twilight
The Crystal Star
The Black Fleet Crisis
The New Rebellion
Corellian Trilogy
The Hand of Thrawn Duology
Survivor's Quest
Junior Jedi Knights
Young Jedi Knights

New Jedi Order era
(25 – 40 ABY)
During this era, an extra-galactic species known as the Yuuzhan Vong invades the Galaxy. The New Republic, the New Jedi Order, the Imperial Remnant, and the Chiss Ascendancy are all faced with these seemingly implacable invaders. Whole planets are laid to waste, and many heroes die. In the end, a Galactic Federation of Free Alliances is formed, uniting the ashes of the Republic with the Galaxy's other leading factions. After five years of war, the Galactic Alliance finally achieves victory.

Only a few years later, however, the Alliance is faced with another crisis. The ancient Killik civilization resurfaces, under the influence of the Dark Nest. These servants of the Dark side of the Force foment a crisis within the Alliance, which escalates into a brief but intense war.

Major works:

Boba Fett: A Practical Man
New Jedi Order series
Star Wars: Invasion
Star Wars: Chewbacca
Dark Nest Trilogy

Legacy era
(40 ABY—)
Though this era has a clearly-defined beginning, it has no end as of yet. It begins in 40 ABY, with the Galactic Alliance and the New Jedi Order dealing with the legacy of years of war and peace. Another crisis threatens to split the Alliance, as allies from previous wars find themselves on opposite sides during the Second Galactic Civil War. Meanwhile, Jacen Solo finds himself drawn to a mysterious figure: possibly the same agent of evil who figures in Luke Skywalker's visions. He becomes the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Caedus and brings peace to the galaxy, uniting everyone against him. After his death, the Alliance is split in two, and the Empire takes over once again.

Nearly one hundred years later, a new Sith Order and a new Galactic Empire dominate the Galaxy. Cade Skywalker, the last remaining heir to the Skywalker legacy, may be the only one who can save the Jedi Order.

Major works:

Legacy of the Force
Millennium Falcon
Fate of the Jedi series
Star Wars: Legacy

This era is for stories released under the official Star Wars banner which are not meant to be considered part of the Star Wars canon. Some of these stories are alternate versions of stories covered elsewhere in the continuity, but with events which cannot be reconciled with other stories. Some are explicitly "alternate universe" tales, which branch off from existing storylines when a crucial event turns out differently. Others are pure parodies.

Major works:

Star Wars Tales (some stories)
Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope
Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi

AtomicDP's Avatar

12.30.2011 , 07:32 PM | #3
amazing post man, helped a lot

psychogobstopper's Avatar

12.30.2011 , 10:06 PM | #4
This will be another long post, but I've kept a list of recommendations due to this question being asked a few times on another message board I post on:

The Old Republic Era
* The Old Republic: Revan
* The Old Republic: Deceived

Rise of the Empire Era
* Rogue Planet (if you plan to read The New Jedi Order; I don't recall liking this book all that much back when it was released)
* Republic Commando series (you better like Mandalorians, though - also, Imperial Commando 501st is the last novel featuring these characters)
* Shatterpoint
* Labyrinth of Evil
* Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
* The Han Solo Trilogy
* The Adventures of Lando Calrissian
* The Han Solo Adventures (Brian Daley's works, which I recall as being fun as hell, though I haven't read them since my early teens - there's also, if I recall correctly, a point in A.C. Crispin's Han Solo Trilogy where its story takes a sort of "break" where one could then easily read these books)

Rebellion Era
* Splinter of the Mind's Eye (the first non-novelization SW novel; originally intended as the basis for a low-budget Star Wars)
* Shadows of the Empire (takes place between The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi)

New Republic Era
* X-Wing series (keeping in mind that the last two books - Isard's Revenge and Starfighters of Adumar - take place following books outside this series)
* The Courtship of Princess Leia (I don't recall much about the quality of this one, but it is pretty important as far as the future of the EU goes from this point on)
* The Thrawn Trilogy (pretty much a must - the first post-ROTJ novels published, though some time has passed since ROTJ)
* The Jedi Academy Trilogy (not great stuff, but pretty important for the establishment of Luke's new Jedi Order)
* I, Jedi (just fantastic, and a great companion piece to both the X-Wing series and the Jedi Academy Trilogy)
* Darksaber (again, no recollection on quality, but some important characterizations here for later works - at one point, I had a copy signed by Kevin J. Anderson but no clue where it's at these days)
* The Corellian Trilogy (I do recall enjoy these books, and some events here are important in later books as well)
* The Hand of Thrawn Duology (more Zahn work, based on his earlier Thrawn Trilogy - good stuff, as I recall, plus important in later books)
* Young Jedi Knights series (surprisingly good for YA books, though I've only read the first six; also, they introduce and flesh out many characters who are important in the NJO and beyond)

New Jedi Order Era
* The New Jedi Order series (some of it is average, some is good / very good, some is great; my favorite SW novel period - Traitor - is in this series)
* The Dark Nest Trilogy (I enjoyed it well enough, plus some events are very important in LOTF)

Legacy Era
* Legacy of the Force (I enjoyed most of it, but I do agree with some criticisms that I've seen that parts of it feel as if the series was too long, too drawn out)
* Crosscurrent (pretty fun; worth noting that it focuses on a Jedi introduced in the Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy video game, and features none of the original and/or other popular EU characters)
* Millennium Falcon (pretty fun, plus worth it to spend some time "alone" with Han & Leia following the tragic events in LOTF)
* Fate of the Jedi (read the eight published so far, and enjoying it for the most part; worth noting that one might want to consider reading the "Lost Tribe of the Sith" eBooks either prior to or in conjunction with this, as they spell out some of the history of the Sith in this series)

If I haven't mentioned a post-ROTJ book above, then odds are it wasn't worth reading (if published back in the Bantam days) or it was published after I wasn't reading SW novels quite as voraciously as I once did (i.e., some of Zahn's newer stuff, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, etc.). As for books set during the Clone Wars, I haven't read most of those; same with the Old Republic Era.

For some examples of those that I consider not worth reading: Children of the Jedi; Planet of Twilight; The Crystal Star; The Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy; and The New Rebellion. Unfortunately, there is a rather important mention during the FOTJ series of one character who is in a few of those books, but one would probably be okay to still skip those. Of course, she also appears in Darksaber, so it could be odd to have her show up in that one without the context of her first appearance and the ones after Darksaber.

For comic recommendations (out of the many comics series that have been published, I have unfortunately read very few, so I'm not going to bother separating these into eras):

* Tales of the Jedi (nicely collected in two Dark Horse Omnibus editions)
* X-Wing Rogue Squadron (chronologically take place prior to the X-Wing novels, and introduce some characters important in those novels - collected in three DH Omnibus editions)
* Dark Empire Trilogy (Dark Empire, Dark Empire II, Empire's End)
* Legacy (great stuff, 140 years or so after A New Hope)

Monopoker's Avatar

12.31.2011 , 12:32 AM | #5
Matt Stover. All four of his SW books are brilliant. (as is the Acts of Caine series if you're interested.) He puts so much intensity into his action scenes, and always has some interesting philosophical themes as well. I've never found another author who can get my heart rate up like I'm playing a video game.

Traitor needs a lot of context to make sense. I suggest reading Star By Star right before. (SbS is a good read too. Also very dark.) I've read Traitor like 4 times. It's pretty consistently listed as one of the best SW novels, and usually rated the best NJO novel.

Shatterpoint is "Jules Winnfield stars in Heart of Darkness with lightsabers" and it is exactly as awesome as that sounds.

The episode III novelization is an extraordinary feat. He takes this terrible, stupid script with awful dialogue and injects emotion, meaning, and (of course) pure ******itude.

Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor is fun. Semi-spoiler: it's kind of a sequel to Shatterpoint, so read that first. People skip over it because of the title, but the title is actually very clever if you read the book...

marneuscalgar's Avatar

12.31.2011 , 01:46 AM | #6
Id start where it all started with Timothy zahns Thrawn trillogy
Heir to the empire
Dark force rising
The last command

i still have my first editions in hard cover of these books nearly 21 years ago they where printed doesnt seem that long man time flies
Only in death does duty end

DoctorBeckett's Avatar

12.31.2011 , 04:20 AM | #7
Was it 21 years since the Thrawn Trilogy came out? Jeeze I feel old.

Fourarms's Avatar

12.31.2011 , 10:38 AM | #8
Thank you all for the posts. So in terms of a "timeline", if I wanted to start from the beginning The Old Republic era is where I want to start?

-Silver-'s Avatar

12.31.2011 , 10:56 AM | #9
Is the Old Republic section in Doctor Beckett's post in chronological order? I've always wondered where the books came in that time frame. I'm curious, since the book titled Revan is set after KOTOR2...

DoctorBeckett's Avatar

12.31.2011 , 12:27 PM | #10
No, the books are not in chronological order.. But you can go HERE to find out what they are..