May the 4th be with you! To celebrate Star Wars Day, here's a nifty guide to our favourite novels set in a galaxy far, far away...
I find your lack of books disturbing.
- Darth Vader*
(*We may have amended this quote)
You’ve seen the films hundreds of times, you’ve got your own lightsaber, you’ve dressed up as a Jedi for Halloween more than once, and whenever your partner says ‘I love you’ your first thought is to say ‘I know’. But for some reason you’ve never got around to reading any of the Star Wars novels. But where do I even start? You ask. Shhh. We say. We’re here to help. We can introduce you to a whole new section of the galaxy and you won’t have to travel 12 parsecs to reach it.
When Disney bought Lucasfilm, the Star Wars EU (that’s the ‘Expanded Universe’, the name given to the Star Wars stories told outside of the films - nothing to do with Wookie’s backpacking around Europe) was re-booted, allowing Disney to start over and make sure the books, comics, games, and any other stories could all tie together with the new films. Multiple new novels have since been set at different points in the Star Wars timeline, so now's the perfect time to jump into it. Here we take you through a few of our favourites.
(NB: This old canon of EU is now known as ‘Legends’ and has some fantastic titles, well worth looking at once you’ve dipped your toes in the new-canon.)
What to read if you love…THE DARK SIDE
Vader? Check. The Emperor? Check. Force powers used to throw puny Rebels around? Check again. Lords of the Sith is like Die Hard and Star Wars had a baby. And that baby got sent into space and crashed behind enemy lines. Set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Vader and the Emperor are on their way to planet Ryloth to personally put down a rebellion. But when their ship is ambushed and crash lands they find themselves having to face the resistance movement on their own, cut off from the Empire.
Whilst we could read about Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader being evil together all day, the most fascinating aspect of the book is the insight into their relationship. There’s a simmering tension throughout, a push and pull that reminds you of the tragedy of Anakin Skywakler becoming Vader. In between all the lightsaber action.
Read it if: You love books about the bad guys
What to read if you love…THE BATTLE OF HOTH
Whilst the Star Wars films have revolved around the Jedi and Sith, we’ve always loved the moments with the Rebel soldiers and pilots. These are the regular people who make up the Rebellion, fighting to free themselves from the Empire’s oppression with the benefit of lightsabers and the Force. Battlefront: Twilight Company tells their story. Not Jedi, not leaders, not politicians. Just a crew of Rebel soldiers in extraordinary circumstances. Set alongside A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, it gives an intriguing perspective on the Galactic War from a view from the bottom.
There’s one incredible moment (minor spoiler, read at your peril) where, whilst in the midst of the Battle of Hoth, the Twilight Company run into one rather famous black clad, red lightsaber wielding Sith Lord. It’s equal parts thrilling and terrifying seeing Darth Vader from the point of view of a Rebel (a nice counterpoint to Lords of the Sith, where we are watching from Vader’s POV) and perhaps the perfect book to read to prepare for Rogue One.
Read it if: You watched the Rogue One trailer and want to know more about Rebel soldiers
What to read if you love…LEIA BEING A BADASS
How did the galaxy end up the way it did in The Force Awakens? Where did the First Order come from? Why is Leia still running a rebellion? When did things go wrong for Leia and Han? Set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, Bloodline begins with Leia as a respected senator, grappling with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. But the biggest challenge of all might be convincing people that the daughter of Darth Vader deserves to be in a position of power…
Read it if: You’ve been binge watching House of Cards
What to read if you love…THINKING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE GOOD GUYS WIN
The second Death Star has been destroyed, the Emperor killed, and Darth Vader struck down. But that doesn’t mean the battle for freedom is over, does it?
Maybe you’re a cynic and knew that killing the Emperor couldn’t be the end of it. Or maybe you love stories set after the fall of a great evil. Either way, Aftermath is the book for you. Set immediately after Return of the Jedi (and we mean immediately: it opens on one of Palpatine’s statues being toppled), the book explores the aftermath of the collapse of the Empire’s power structure.
Determined to preserve it, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on a remote planet for a top-secret emergency summit - to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on Norra Wexley and her newfound allies aiming to bring them down.
Oh and there’s a sequel to this coming later this year. So this is the perfect time to pick it up.
Read it if: You always suspected killing the Emperor wouldn’t be the end of the Empire