When Disney bought Lucasfilm and decided to wipe the slate clean of what they called the Expanded Universe, many fans were up in arms. Despite the fact that they’ve since been rebranded as Legends, the dozens of books that made up the old canon remain a fascinating part of Star Wars history and are still worthy of being read and appreciated.
Here are some great recommendations for everyone interested in the Expanded Universe books. Some of you hardcore fans might have read them already, but if you still didn’t have a chance to do it, be sure to pick the ones you like from this article or simply read them all.
‘Thrawn trilogy’ by Timothy Zahn
If you are a Star Wars fan and a reader of the Bantam Spectra/Del Rey series, you know that each book is more than just its own standalone piece of science fiction. Most of them, even standalone novels like the ‘Thrawn trilogy,’ play a part in a mosaic that grows as new books emerge. It is a lot like an extended television series, where a character or planet mentioned in one episode will often play a role in another later one.
This first trilogy, set five years after ‘Return of the Jedi’ and starring Grand Admiral Thrawn, is no exception. It introduces us to his first companion and helps fill in some of the gaps of his past before the rebellion. It also shows how his mind works and how he finds ways to get the job done, even when the odds are stacked against him.
While there are a few issues with this trilogy, it is still worth the read for fans of the franchise. Zahn continues to write well and brings the audience into a world many will want to explore more deeply. He is able to bring closure to most of the characters’ paths, and Lesser Evil does a fantastic job of explaining how Thrawn came to be where he is now.
While many of the older Expanded Universe novels were declared Legends when Disney swapped them for the current canon, the Thrawn books were reclaimed, and this is the first place, you should start if you want to know more about the galaxy’s greatest villain.
The books are a bit slow, to begin with, and the end of the second one feels underwhelming, but it’s still an essential read. So, if you plan on diving deeper into them, be sure to deal with all your hardest life struggles and let a college essay writer free your schedule for some reading.
‘The Corellian Trilogy’ by Roger McBride Allen
The first book of this trilogy, ‘Ambush at Corellia,’ is a fun read. It explores politics and economics in a way that few Star Wars books of the Bantam era do (unless you count gamesmanship in the halls of government buildings). Corellia’s economy is in the tank, and its people resent the Imperial presence.
Then, a terrorist group called the Human League arrives with Mara Jade in tow. The League demands that Corellia cooperate with their plan to advance humanity, or they will destroy stars across the galaxy.
It’s an interesting story with a nice twist in the end, but it does suffer from some of the same problems as other Expanded Universe novels: too much exposition, too many characters, and too few plot points that are actually revealed. Also, Han spends too much time as a captive in this book; he’s supposed to be a smuggler, not a prisoner.
On the upside, Allen does a good job with Leia and Anakin. She’s a sympathetic and inspiring figure, and she gets to show off her Jedi skills at some key moments. Her twins, Jacen and Jaina, are also well-written. They feel like heirs of Solo rather than clones of Luke. Also, Belinda Kalenda is a cool character who deserves more attention than she usually gets. And the droids are fun, too.
‘A New Dawn‘ by John Jackson Miller
The first book in the new era of Star Wars novels and a solid tie-in to the ‘Rebels’ animated series, ‘A New Dawn’ is a rollicking good time. Miller, who previously wrote the Zayne Carrick and Kerra Holt novels and comics, and Kenobi, has a deft touch when it comes to diverse characters and action-packed stories.
‘A New Dawn’ is a bit slow to start, but it improves as it progresses. The story is mostly set on Gorse and its neighboring moon, a small mining planet that has grown accustomed to life under the Empire and doesn’t quite understand what is happening around it. Miller does a great job showing how those on the ground feel the oppressive Imperial presence, and the high body count makes for a brutal and realistic read.
Several new faces populate ‘A New Dawn,’ including Rae Sloane. As the interim captain of a Star Destroyer, she’s defined by her ambition within the Empire and is keen on using her position to further her own aims. She’s a good foil to Kanan, who is more concerned with surviving as a Jedi, and the tension between their conflicting urges to help and lie low works well.
‘A New Dawn’ also introduces Hera, whose badass attitude and confidence are what make her the standout character from the book.