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What Star Wars novels have you read? Liked?
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Whill
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:49 am    Post subject: What Star Wars novels have you read? Liked? Reply with quote

Let's discuss adult Star Wars novels! Which ones have you read? Which ones do you like? Feel free to just make lists or to also give your own commentary about them.


EDIT: Novel Fatigue? (2018)
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:50 am    Post subject: Re: What Star Wars novels have you read? Which do you like? Reply with quote

My favorite EU author is James Luceno.

It is easiest for me to list the novels in chronological order, not the order they were released or I read them in. I also like to break it down to novels in my personal canon and not. I listed the films in the color blue just to indicate where they take place in the chronology, again mostly to make it easier on me.


Novels I liked that are currently part of my personal canon (with perhaps some minor continuity tweaks in some cases)

Darth Bane: Path of Destruction (good book, the anti-hero's epic villain quest, plausible set-up of Sith order seen in films)
Darth Plagueis (great book by Luceno, shows the two Sith Masters before Palpatine, but Palpatine is actually the main character, novel details periods of his life from his teen years and into behind the scenes of TPM)
Cloak of Deception (great book by Luceno, prequel to TPM featuring Qui-Gon as main protagonist, answered about all my questions about TPM, explained trade federation, galactic politics and scandal around Valorum, Tarkin involved in plot)
Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter (good book, action-packed and philosophical, picks up where Cloak of Darkness leaves off and leads directly into TPM)
The Phantom Menace

Attack of the Clones


Labyrinth of Evil (great book by Luceno, prologue to RotS deals with the Jedi hunt for Darth Sidious, explains Sifo-Dyas and how Dooku became Sith, action-packed final third of book is first half of the film's Battle of Coruscant; Mon Mothma, Bail Organa and Padme's part in battle shown)
Revenge of the Sith
Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader (great book by Luceno, worthy follow-up to RotS, Tarkin and Chewbacca involved in plot)
The Paradise Snare (see Rebel Dawn below)
The Hutt Gambit (see Rebel Dawn below)
Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu (see below)
Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon (see below)
Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka (Been a long time since I read these but I remember enjoying them, maybe a little wacky)
Han Solo at Stars' End (see below)
Han Solo's Revenge (see below)
Han Solo and the Lost Legacy (Been a long time since I read these original Han Solo Adventures but I remember enjoying them)
Rebel Dawn (I enjoyed this Han Solo Trilogy, they explain what Lando has against Han, and make it very clear why Han feels religions are hokey and says "I ain't in this for your revolution. I'm not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money.")
A New Hope

The Empire Strikes Back

Shadows of the Empire (great book, love how it connects a lot of the dots between TESB and RotJ, love the soundtrack too)
Return of the Jedi


Novels that are not part of my personal canon

The Phantom Menace

Rogue Planet (long boring middle, growing living starships, Anakin kills in rage before AotC, if I had known this book was a pointless prequel-era tie-in to NJO I wouldn't have read it)
Outbound Flight (prequel-era Zahn, a few film characters are not much more than cameos, Jorus C'Boath was way too much of a dill-hole before crossing over to ever be a Jedi Master, future grand admiral Thrawn is the protagonist of this story)
The Approaching Storm (boring, should be retitled When Animals Attack Jedi: The Approaching Drizzle)
Attack of the Clones

Yoda: Dark Rendezvous (ok but not that engaging, title is bait-and-switch, a couple of padawans are the main characters not Yoda, second and final confrontation of Yoda and Dooku is brief and disappointing just like the original one in AotC, Obi-Wan and Anakin only cameo)

Revenge of the Sith

A New Hope

Allegiance (classic-era Zahn, the main protagonist is the ultrapowerful teenage Imperial superhero Mara Sue Jade who even defeats Vader in a duel, the unbrainwashed renegade stormtoopers go AWOL the very first time they were ordered to do something immoral, the classic trinity are minor characters and completely absent from the climax. When will I stop reading Zahn?!)
Splinter of the Mind's Eye (meh, Leia can't swim but Luke from a dessert planet can??, Luke and Leia's lightsaber skills amplified by a crystal as they fight Vader in an encounter ignored by TESB)

The Empire Strikes Back

Return of the Jedi
The Truce at Bakura (ok but not a worthy follow-up to RotJ, entechment seems too non-SW)
Rogue Squadron (see below)
Wedge's Gamble (see below)
The Krytos Trap (see below)
The Bacta War (I enjoyed these novels, but have my own ideas for the New Republic capture of Coruscant)
Wraith Squadron (I enjoyed the novel and really liked the idea of wraith squadron (even though it created a discontinuity with The Thrawn Trilogy regarding the character of Wedge) - I have the next 3 X-Wing books but haven't read them yet)
The Courtship of Princess Leia (Solo's bachelor party, entertaining until they get to Dathomir when it quickly goes downhill with primitive spellwork Force magic and sentient rancor steeds)

Heir to the Empire (loved it)
Dark Force Rising (loved it)
The Last Command (loved it all the way until the bait-and-switch climax in which the author's own Mara Sue Jade dramatically usurps the classic trinity and becomes the galactic savior, which ruins the whole Thrawn Trilogy for me dramatically)

Jedi Search (see below)
Dark Apprentice (see below)
Champions of the Force (silly trilogy, Jedi baby saves Luke, superweapon that destroys stars fits in a small ship, author's character crosses over and returns but no one cares, I can't believe I read all three of these books but I did)
The Crystal Star (horrible, based on rejected Star Trek: DS9 script)
Ambush at Corellia (see below)
Assault at Selonia (see below)
Showdown at Centerpoint (ok trilogy)

I also read about half of Children of the Jedi and Spectre of the Past before dropping them out of boredom.

I'm sure many of you disagree with some of this. Anyway, hopefully all this will get the ball rolling.


EDITS: Tried to make this more coherent!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anything by Zahn, the X-Wing novels, the Black Fleet Crisis, and I, Jedi. Those are the ones to which I keep coming back. Everything else was mediocre at best.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since i have quite a few, i will go in chronological order only listing the ones i HAVE.. (though some i have yet to read)..
For note, i never bothered getting the Original trilogy novelizations)

Cloak of deception ,started reading on a plane, but for some reason i never finished it, iirc i only got 4 chapters in.
Phantom Menace novelization If i had read this first, i think i might have liked the film better than i did. Still i did like the film.
Rogue planet. I liked this one, but was not one of the better prequel era novels.
Outbound flight, can't remember off the top of my head if i read it yet.
The Approaching storm, was going to read this after i got done with cloak of deception but never got around to it since i failed to finish CoD.
Attack of the Clones novelization Only part i really liked about this one, was the whole Anakin going off on the sand people, and Qui-gon's voice crying out. Worst of the trio imo.
Revenge of the Sith novelization Loved it.
Han solo trilogy: Paradise snare, Hutt's gambit and Rebel dawn. Loved them all, though the first and last were my fave of the trilogy.
Tales from Mos Eisley, not bad, some of the stories were hard to get into.
Alliegance, can't remember if i read it yet or not.
Splinter of the Minds eye. Not bad, but definitely not one of the better novels out there.
Shadows of the Empire, i not only loved it, but i loved how it tied in ESB and RotJ with showing how Lando got into Jabba's palace before the others, and for showing how bad @$$ a Thermal detonator IS!
Tales from the empire/new republic/jabba's palace. Like TfME, some stories were hard to get into, but i loved how some seemed to tie in.
The bounty hunter wars trilogy: mandalorian armor, slave ship, hard merchandise, decent. Not one of my fave trilogies.
Truce at Bakura. I liked it best for showing the immediate aftermath of Endor, and for the Ssi-ruvi.
Xwing: rogue squadron, Wedge's gambit, Krytos trap, Bacta war. Loved all 4! Stackpole rocked with these.
Wraith squadron: Wraith, Iron fist, solo command. Allston did great work here.
Courtship of Leia. I liked it more for the stuff on Dathomir than with the Hapans, but i did like the battle descriptions when the Battle dragons showed up to fight the imps.
Thrawn Trilogy: Heir to the empire, Dark force rising, Last command. As the first real novels to come after the long hiatus after RotJ, these imo set the bar for the others. Still holds up well imo.
Xwing: Isards revenge. I loved how they got to play imps, and got back at Isard!!! Guess Piggy's idea in the Wraith novels that she faked her death were on point!
Jedi Academy trilogy: Jedi search, dark apprentice, champions of the force. Unlike a lot of people, i actually liked this series. More for showcasing the status of Luke really becoming Master, than for some of the stuff, though i did like the Sun crusher (unlike many). Could have done with out Dalla though.
I, Jedi. Great novel, though imo took a while to get good.
Children of the Jedi. Not a bad novel, but definitely not one of the better ones. Still i loved the concept of the Eye of Palpaltine, and always felt that since Palps' had 2 eyes for real, why couldn't there have been a 2nd ship/asteroid out there!
Darksaber. Meh. One of the poorer ones.
Planet of twilight. Like darksaber, this one imo was a big letdown.
Xwing: Starfighters of Adumar. Though not as good as the prior Xwing novels, still a good read. Loved the blast saber duels though.
Crystal Star. Boy was this one a big let down.
Black fleet crisis trilogy: before the storm, shield of lies, tyrants test. Boy was this good starting out, but got suckier through out. Though i liked how it ended.
The New rebellion. Not a great novel, in anyway, but not as sucky as crystal star or planet of twilight. Kueller's plan was actually novel!
The Corellian trilogy: Ambush at Corellia, Assault on Selonia, Showdown at centerpoint station. Overall a decent trilogy, but how powerful they seemed to make the kids, especially with how young they are made my head scream! I loved the idea behind the planetary repulsors and centerpoint station, but they seemed to turn it into another "superweapon of the week" mistake. Best part of it imo was the Lando seeking love angle!
Hand of thrawn Duology Spectre of the past, Visions of the Future Not as good as Zhan's prior trilogy, but still better than KJA's trilogy.
Survivor's quest Only read it once, and have forgotten about it since. One of these days i will have to do a massive read through so i can hit all the novels again...!!

Next post will hit the NJO and beyond.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK. Now onto the New Jedi order (and beyond) time frame.
Unlike quite a few fans, i actually really got into the NJO novels, and was NOT peeved off at Stackpole or "the flanneled shirt one" for authorizing the killing off of Chewbacca.

That said, i have all of the books for the NJO time frame, minus the 3 E-books.

Of the Hardbacks, Vector prime, star by star and Unifying force were my top 3.
Of the duologue, i LOVED the 2 dark tides books, along with enemy lines. Of the Force heretic trilogy, it was ok...

The Darknest trilogy, was rather poor, but i did like some of the battle scenes..

I didn't mind the whole "legacy of the force" saga, what with Jacen turning full on sith and Jania having to learn from Boba fett. But i didn't like the outright genocidal 'nanites' they introduced.

I have not really kept up with the novels after that, but i do have 3 of the books in the next saga..
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The original Zahn trilogy has a special place in my life, as they were the first reasonably long novels I read as a teenager. In the fifth grade I had a college freshmen reading comprehension but didn't like to read the books I was given. About a year after picking up the RPG my parents took me to a book store (they had those back then) and told me to pick. After about an hour I found Heir to the Empire and took a few weeks to read it. It only took a week to read Dark Force Rising, and a weekend to read The Last Command. I read the Jedi Academy Trilogy, and a few Rogue Squadron books. But after those I stopped reading Star Wars novels because they started to lose the Star Wars feeling. Since the mid nineties I have only read three Star Wars novels, a Lando adventure, the Choices Of One, and the zombie novel. Those were okay.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, guys. It is interesting for to know the Star Wars "literary" background of others. There is such diversity among us.

garhkal wrote:
For note, i never bothered getting the Original trilogy novelizations)
Phantom Menace novelization If i had read this first, i think i might have liked the film better than i did. Still i did like the film.
Attack of the Clones novelization Only part i really liked about this one, was the whole Anakin going off on the sand people, and Qui-gon's voice crying out. Worst of the trio imo.
Revenge of the Sith novelization Loved it.

I read all of the movie novelizations too but I was thinking along the lines of orginal novels in my post. I didn't read the classic trilogy novelizations until 1987 or '88. For the prequels, I started reading them right after seeing each film while the movie was still in the theater so I could go back and see the film again after reading the book for maximum perspective. As far as the prequel novelizations, I'm thinking that I liked each one better than the one before it but I can't really remember what that was based on.

garhkal wrote:
Tales from Mos Eisley, not bad, some of the stories were hard to get into.
Tales from the empire/new republic/jabba's palace. Like TfME, some stories were hard to get into, but i loved how some seemed to tie in.

I read the Mos Eisley Cantina, Bounty Hunters and Jabba's Palace short story compilations too and I remember liking some, but I guess not enough for me to keep the books. I thought the others were just compilations of Adventure Journal stories and I have the whole series, so I never got those.

I've also read a couple of the young reader novels too.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've read quite a few. There are few that I've spoken well of.

I'd let Star Wars lie fallow on my list of interests for several years, but in 1991 I became newly interested in the trilogy. Though there really wasn't much in the way of new material for my interest. Though when the summer rolled around I heard that Star Wars was rising on the best seller list. Unable to find a copy of the novelization of the movie, I decided it was worth going over to Waldenbooks that very day and picking up a copy. Much to my surprise there was a strange robed figure -- definitely not Obi-Wan -- on the cover. I had no idea what this was, and so I was delighted to read the cover slip to see that this was a brand new Star Wars story. I bought it, devoured it, and loved it. I still have fond memories of reading Heir to the Empire that summer.

I still love Zahn's Trilogy. Now, having read them each multiple times, and having heard the unabridged audiobook several more times on top of that, I can see the flaws of the books, but I still enjoy them nonetheless.

As soon as Truce at Bakura had come out, I bought a copy of that too, and I enjoyed it, though not quite as much.

In the mean time I was reading the old novelizations, Splinter of the Mind's Eye (which I found to be non-canonical pulpy fun), the Lando Calrisian novels, and whatever comics I could get my hands on.

JKA came out with his trilogy and I excitedly bought a copy, and became less and less enthused as I read each one.

I fell behind in my reading, but I still owned copies of the Courtship of Leia and Children of the Jedi. But I read my copy of the Crystal Star.

That was it. I was done. I had a handful of books I didn't have much desire to read. I decided that I wasn't going to read another Star Wars book unless there was a nigh-universal praise of the thing.

Then there was pretty high praise of Shadows of the Empire. And while I thought it was okay, it didn't thrill me. So, I was done for a while.

The next Star Wars book I read was while I was stranded in Bucharest, Romania. I was stuck in the capital with one friend, a place to sleep, just enough money for food, and some spare change to buy a deck of cards and a novel. Since I only spoke Romanian so-so, and read it poorly, and I only had a very few English novels to choose from, I selected the first X-Wing novel.

In the intervening years I picked up a few abridged Star Wars audio novels. Nothing struck me as particularly good or particularly bad. I'd been introduced to the Vong invasion, and decided I didn't really much need to read the books, and I was happy listening to the audio novels on road trips. Call me a literary snob if you'd like, but it wasn't quite what I thought was worth reading, but it reasonable audio entertainment.

I liked it. I really enjoyed reading the book. It reminded me of playing X-Wing, and that was a good thing. But still I didn't pick up any new Star Wars novels for a while. But encouraged by my experience with the X-Wing novel my rpg group suggested that I pick up I Jedi. Though that may have had more to do with the uncanny parallels between our game and the novel.

That warmed me up to reading some of my older books like the Courtship of Leia and the Children of the Jedi. By that time I'd seen all of the prequels and the obvious inconsistencies were pretty overwhelming, but it didn't matter. They were easy reads that were mental breaks from work. But I'd kind of gotten out of the loop in terms of what was going on with the Star Wars continuity. So many novels had come and gone and I knew I couldn't keep up, and I didn't care to anymore. (With the exception of Alliance, which really didn't require me to keep up with the continuity.) I wasn't opposed to picking things up, but nothing caught my interest either.

Then something got my interest. I saw The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance. I loved the idea of being immersed in an Old Republic setting. So I snatched it up. There's a bookmark in page 267. I don't have any desire to even finish the book.

I'm sure that something will come up again, but probably when I'm not so overwhelmed with work reading. Either that or when I'm so overwhelmed that I need a mental break.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those who do the "audio books" vice the written books. Do they give the same 'feeling'?
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
For those who do the "audio books" vice the written books. Do they give the same 'feeling'?


If it's abridged, then you always lose something in the edits. Also, the feel depends on who is reading them. Right now Random House favors Mark Thompson. He does a decent job, but his personal tone as a narrator has its own feel as a layer on top of what is written. You're never going to have the same sort of emphasis and inflection than what is in your head.

Well... that is unless the book was written for the ear rather than to look good on the page. For example, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy always has a great feel when put in the hands of a competent speaker.

So, yes, the audiobooks have a different feel from reading them yourself.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When the first books were coming out I gobbled them up and read them eagerly (Splinter of the Mind's Eye, the Han Solo books, the first movie novelization, etc.).

I've started Heir to the Empire before (and I think I have the entire first trilogy), but I've never finished it (I do very much like the story, though, and greatly enjoyed the comic adaptation).

Likewise I've started Tales from Jabba's Palace, but am only part-way through.

So I own a few of the novels, but have not found them to be that great. One book I did very much enjoy is the Anotated Screenplays (as it shows all of the changes made to the stories of the OT along the way).
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DougRed4 wrote:
One book I did very much enjoy is the Anotated Screenplays (as it shows all of the changes made to the stories of the OT along the way).


Oh, I always meant to pick that up. It sounds fantastic.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheshire wrote:
DougRed4 wrote:
One book I did very much enjoy is the Anotated Screenplays (as it shows all of the changes made to the stories of the OT along the way).


Oh, I always meant to pick that up. It sounds fantastic.

Yes, it is a fantastic little book. One of my favorite Star Wars books, and it discusses most of the story permutations of the classic trilogy, in addition to the screenplays. Perhaps I should make a new thread for non-novel SW books.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For my money, I have read all of the Han Solo and Lando novels, Splinter of the Minds eye (I use Kyber Crystals in my game...), The Thrawn trilogy and duology, Courtship of Princess Leia, the Jedi Academy series, Black Fleet Crisis, Shadows of Mindor...

As to what I use in my game from the novels...Very little other than characters and a few items...I liked the Hapen Cluster, Luke's marriage to Mara, the idea of the Emperor's hand, Grand Admiral Thrawn (who survived in my game and quoted Mark Twain by saying reports of his death were greatly exaggerated...), Admiral Dala, the new Jedi order...although I had it based on Tatooine out of the old Lars farmstead...The Solo-organa children...but beyond that little else, I did get a fair amount of use out of Durga and Prince Xizor.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Durga! I loved Darksaber.
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