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Topic: Star Wars.... Where should I start?

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Subject: Star Wars.... Where should I start?
Date Posted: 6/23/2009 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2009
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I've been toying around with starting this series (genre?) and I was wondering if anyone had any good titles I should start with.
I know there are so many different arcs and authors that write under this umbrella and I'm hopeless as to where to look.
Can I get some tips?

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 6/23/2009 8:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I've about had it with Star Wars books, though at one point I read as many as I could find.  Timothy Zahn is the only one I respect, and his original trilogy starting with Heir to the Empire is the logical place to start anyway.

Date Posted: 6/23/2009 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2009
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I think I actually read a Timothy Zahn book once... I think it was Dragon and Theif.  I'll have to give HttE a looksee.  Thanks.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 6/24/2009 9:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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Dragon and Thief is YA, and is quite a bit different than most of his other books.  Zahn also wrote The Icarus Hunt, and the Conqueror's trilogy, which are some of my favorite SF books.  I think I read the first six of his Star Wars books, but I read so many of them all in one summer that they all blur together.  I know Kevin J. Anderson has written a bunch, but I can't stand him and he's on my permanent black list.  I can't remember who else...Barbara Hambley, maybe.

Last Edited on: 6/24/09 9:26 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/24/2009 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2009
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"I know Kevin J. Anderson has written a bunch, but I can't stand him..."... LOL!
okay... I'll keep those names in mind.

Date Posted: 6/24/2009 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2006
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Brian Daley's trilogy of Han Solo Adventures from the late 1970s are awesome, but don't read them expecting "Star Wars" novels.

Last Edited on: 6/24/09 1:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/26/2009 4:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2009
Posts: 360
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That will give you a rough Chrono guideline to go by. However, that is several years out of date, so there are a several more books, but most of them aren't worth reading anyway, so you're not missing anything :-)

Thrawn Trilogy is THE place to start.

then I'd recommend the X-Wing series by Stackpole and Alston.

Then the Jedi Academy trilogy by Anderson [not my fave author either, but his books tend to have some plot lines used in the newest series]

Corellian Trilogy by Roger Allen MacBride

then the 3 prequels. The novelizations were WAY better than the actual movies. And Revenge of the Sith? Left me crying.

Darth Bane Duology

Republic Commando series by Karen Traviss.


and after that, you'll have enough open ended stuff so you can decide where to go from there. Just be aware, several of the star wars book released right after [in real time, not Star Wars chronology]  Zahn's trilogy are complete crap :-)

Date Posted: 6/26/2009 4:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2009
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Thanks Derrick... this helps too.


Paul H. (PaulH) - ,
Date Posted: 6/27/2009 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
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Zahn's Star Wars books are definitely a good starting point.  And I also agree about Kevin J. Anderson... he comes up with interesting story ideas, but his characters always seem two-dimensional to me - people always seem to do something that's not quite in character and there's no real rationale for it other than attempting to (artifically) inflate the dramtaic tension of the story. 

A question I would ask is are you only looking for adventures of the main characters from the films, or would you be interested in stories about other secondary characters?  The X-Wing books previously mentioned follow Wedge Antilles and other Rebel pilots and really are good, but Luke, Han and Leia only make rare appearances.  Then there's stories about characters that never appeared in the movies - those Darth Bane books take place 1,000 years before the movies, and the Republic Commando books are about a squad of clone troopers during the Clone Wars.

One other warning... lately (say over the past decade) the trend has been to produce multi-book "epics" - The New Jedi Order (around 20 books), Legacy of the Force (9 books), and the current Fate of the Jedi (will be 9 books) series have lots of good things in them, but also not-quite-so-good, but to get the full story you really need to be prepared to read it all.


Date Posted: 8/9/2009 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2009
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I have a bunch on my shelf, but I would start with The Truce at Bakura and work forward by the timeline.  I am assuming you want to read them due to the main characters from the movies and The Truce at Bakura starts right after the end of ROJ. 


Good Luck... They are good books, but I did grew tired of them after a while.  I mean they are so many and once the main characters were getting phased out... I stopped reading them.


Subject: I started with Darth Bane...
Date Posted: 8/12/2009 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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I jumped into the novels starting with the first Darth Bane book, and that was great! I followed it up with the sequel and just finished reading Zahn's Heir to the Empire last night.

I found the Bane books compelling because they're told from the Dark Side/Sith point of view. Of course we all want to root for Luke, Han and Leia, but I was kind of interested in the whole Sith thing.


Subject: Order to Read at Wikipedia!
Date Posted: 10/7/2009 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/24/2005
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FYI - I am currently reading the star wars books sequentially in chronological order.  I highly recommend reading them in timeline order!  You can get the order at this location on Wikipedia-



I started with "Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter" and only skipped the E (electronic only) and Y (youth) books.  When I realized all the youth books were cannon and had a bunch of additional plotline, I went back and got them all also, and I would say read them in-line with the other books without skipping.   After I went back and got the youth books, the earliest in the timeline for starting is "Legacy of the Jedi", which has Count Dooku as a youngling/padawan.

Read all the Jude Watson, Ryder Windham, and Alex Wheeler youth books - they are the equivalent of a few excellent books for adults, just like regular books written in groups of chapters with cliffhanger endings.  The Jude Watson books have a bunch of additional stories of life as padawans during the Old Republic, Clone Wars, and Empire eras with young Obi-Wan with master Qui-gon and young Anakin with master Obi-wan and older Obi-wan after the purge.  The Wheeler ones are still being published and one came out this month, covering the time period between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back with a young Luke/Leia/Han/Chewie/etc.

There are a bunch of books related to the commandos - some of these are more fleshed out versions of the stores from the animated movie and tv series, pretty good reads.  There are also some excellent books that fill in events that transpired between the movies episodes 1-3 such as "Cestus Deception", "Labyrinth of Evil" and "Death Star" (partly a retelling of A New Hope from the viewpoint on the deathstar).

Any books published since about 2000 has a lot more tie-in between books by various authors. So you start seeing more reuse of subcharacters, more consistency of details on planets and aliens etc.  For that reason, if you run across older published books, they tend to have less plot development as they didn't want to contradict what was taking place in the movies or go in a strong direction. The newer published books have characters like Anakin's padawan Ashoka, stronger sidekick characters in the clone and jedi characters, senators, etc. 

I would also recommend reading the book versions of the movies, as they have some of the cut scenes from the screenplay.  The separatist droids are portrayed differently in the books - they are NOT funny, but the clones have more personality and are funnier in the books.

So far, I've read 84 books that take place prior to Return of the Jedi, with all but about 2 of those good enough to recommend or highly recommend.  (I skipped the Darth Bane stuff to get back to it later, Boba Fett young adult books, the Han Solo trilogy, and the Adventures of Lando Calrissian.)

I've got about 100 more books to go that are set in newer time periods... I heard that the newer books that take place later are excellent, so working my way up there, hope they continue to be good. :-)

Date Posted: 10/23/2009 2:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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Last Edited on: 2/11/15 7:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1