Love it or hate it, when Lucasfilm decided to rebrand many of its previous stories as Legends and start a whole new canon, it started a brave new era in Star Wars literature. No longer were the books riddled with as many plot holes or inconsistencies among themselves. The books now have a unity like no other fictional universe currently in existence, and that’s not really an exaggeration.
But that’s not to say that the Star Wars canon is free of both good and bad writing. Many of the books were just as bad as many of the old Legends books. But many are as good as the best of Legends. And we can probably expect a lot of really good Star Wars books in the future. But for now, here is our ranking for the best Star Wars canon books.
7) Aftermath, by Chuck Wendig
While there are plenty of canon books that ended up worse (we didn’t bother to list those), Star Wars: Aftermath comes in at number seven. While it struggles with some confusing language, and a convoluted plot, it’s still one of the funnest reads for a fan of Star Wars. In fact, if you’re looking for a book that doubles as a scavenger hunt for clues relating to upcoming Lucasfilm projects, this one is probably your best bet. At the very least it contains a lot interesting lore. And it’s also a good story.
6) Servants of the Empire, by Jason Fry
This one is technically a series, but it’s also the most underappreciated part of the canon so far. Servants of the Empire was a series of 4 junior novels. They delve into the life of Zare Leonis, a young Imperial cadet who briefly appears in the animated show Star Wars Rebels. While it is a series intended for a younger audience, these books do not dumb anything down. The series is just as enjoyable for adults as for children, and we highly recommend it.
5) Before the Awakening, by Greg Rucka
Did you think that The Force Awakens didn’t explain enough? Well Before the Awakening will help with some of that. The book is more like three short stories stuck together, one focusing on each of the three main characters from the film: Finn, Rey, and Poe Dameron. The book gives their backstory shortly before the events of The Force Awakens. It is also beautifully written and one of the best stories in the new canon.
4) Dark Disciple, by Christie Golden
If you loved the animated show, The Clone Wars, you will love Dark Disciple. This book was based on 8, unfinished episodes of the show, and it’s just as good. If you’re not familiar with characters from The Clone Wars, you might have some catching up to do. But it’s still one of the best canon books so far, so we highly recommend it.
3) A New Dawn, by John Jackson Miller
John Jackson Miller has long been known to write great Star Wars stories. A New Dawn is no exception. It was the first canon novel to come out Lucasfilm, and it was a really good start. The story sees a younger Kanan and Hera from Star Wars Rebels, before the events of the animated show. Of all the books we’ve mentioned so far, this one is perhaps the best at delving into the human character.
2) Lost Stars, by Claudia Gray
Coming in at second place is Lost Stars. This book was originally described as Romeo and Juliet in a galaxy far, far away. It’s two main characters find themselves on opposite sites of the conflict between the Rebellion and the Empire. But they also find themselves hopelessly in love. The story has heart, it has great characters, and a plot that will give you all the feels.
1) Bloodline, by Claudia Gray
Yep, Claudia Gray has both of the top spots. Bloodline takes place 6 years before The Force Awakens. It focuses on Leia as she deals with an inefficient New Republic government and shows us the beginning of the Resistance seen in the film. Aside from being full of interesting tidbits for fans of the new films, it’s also just a really well-written story. It’s also our go-to book for anyone looking for a good place to start reading the Star Wars canon. If all you’ve seen are the films, this is still a great place to start.