Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, the official task participants were given were to list their ten most recent reads. While I rather liked this official topic, I have instead done something very different. Rather than come up with one list, I am instead going to do two separate, but similar lists that revolve around May the Fourth.
As most of you are probably aware, May the Fourth has officially been designated Star Wars day (May the Fourth be with you!), which is something I am rather passionate about. I absolutely love Star Wars, and you only need to check out my Star Wars tab on the right of this page (go on, you won’t regret it), to see how much I deeply enjoy the franchise’s novels and comic books. There is an impressive and rich collection of Star Wars tie-in fiction out there, and I have had a wonderful time over the last couple of years reading and reviewing many amazing examples. As a result, I thought that May the Fourth would be the perfect opportunity to highlight what I consider to be the best Star Wars novels and comics out there. This is a bit of a continuation of a list I put up last Star Wars day, which was a combined list of novels and comics. While I think that my last list came up pretty well, I decided that this year I would be better served featuring two lists, this one for novels and another for comics.
In order to fill this list, I had a thorough look through all the Star Wars novels I have read in recent years to choose the absolute best ones. This proved to be a fun and enlightening experience, although I did have a hard time deciding on my favourites from an amazing collection of books. In the end, I was able to come up with a good Top Ten list with my usual generous Honourable Mentions section. I cheated a little by combining some trilogies together into one entry. However, as these books are supposed to be read together, I think that this was the best way to feature them. This ended up being a varied and intriguing list, featuring a great range of very different authors and Star Wars settings. While most of the featured novels are from the current Disney canon, I have also included a couple of Star Wars: Legends books which have some great stories. So let us see which awesome books made the Top Ten List.
A fun and fantastically crazy Star Wars: Legends novel that sees Han Solo and Chewie go up against a load of deadly zombies aboard an abandoned Star Destroyer. A wild and scary ride, this was a great Star Wars novel and one of my favourite horror books.
A compelling and fast-paced novel that follows the adventures of Ahsoka Tano, one of the best characters introduced in the animated television series, between the events of The Clone Wars and Rebels. This is easily my favourite Star Wars novel from E. K. Johnston (Queen’s Shadow and Queen’s Peril are also pretty good), and I loved how the audiobook was narrated by the voice of Ahsoka, Ashley Eckstein.
An impressive retelling of the early life of Count Dooku, showing some of the events that led up to him becoming a Sith Lord. This is best enjoyed in its audio drama format, which features an epic voice cast of Star Wars audiobook narrators.
Another great audio drama, Doctor Aphra is an amazingly funny and clever story, featuring a unique and memorable protagonist. While I really enjoyed this great book, I left it off my main list as it does not contain an original story; instead it is a retelling of several comics (such as Vader, Shadows and Secrets and Vader Down), which will be featured on my other Top Ten list.
Top Ten List:
Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn
The first entry on this list is the deeply impressive and clever Thrawn trilogy from one of the leading authors of Star Wars tie-in fiction, Timothy Zahn. This series retells the origin story of one of my favourite characters in the entire Star Wars canon, Grand Admiral Thrawn. This series contains three epic novels, Thrawn, Alliances and Treason, all of which are pretty damn amazing (especially the first novel, Thrawn). This entire series comes together extremely well, and I love the in-depth look at this outstanding character, as well as the focus on his awesome tactical brilliance.
Alphabet Squadron trilogy by Alexander Freed
The other trilogy that I needed to include on this list is the intense and powerful Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed. Made up of Alphabet Squadron, Shadow Fall and Victory’s Price, these books follow a group of damaged pilots fighting in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi. This is a complex and captivating character-driven series with some amazing examples of space fighter combat, and I love Freed’s compelling and emotionally rich narrative. All three books in this series are really impressive, but I really have to praise the final entry in the series, Victory’s Price, which did an amazing job wrapping up this superb trilogy.
Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising by Timothy Zahn
In addition to his Thrawn trilogy above, Zahn has also written a fantastic prequel series, known as the Thrawn Ascendancy books. These novels follow a young Thrawn as he fights to preserve his species in the unexplored spaced outside of the Republic/Empire. Featuring a narrative rich in fascinating lore, this is a great story for the hardcore Star Wars fan, who will love this dive into an awesome character’s background. I loved Chaos Rising, and I am looking forward to enjoying the next two entries in this series, Greater Good (which has just been released) and Lesser Evil (out in November 2021).
Next up on this list is the first entry in the compelling High Republic multimedia storyline, Light of the Jedi, by bestselling author Charles Soule. Set 200 years before the events of the Skywalker Saga, the High Republic novels follow the Jedi at the height of their power as they fight against a dangerous and insidious new opponent. Light of the Jedi was a fantastic first book in this storyline, perfectly introducing the setting and key events of the High Republic, while also containing a compelling and action-packed story. A highly recommended book and a must-read for anyone interested in checking out the other entries in the High Republic range (such as Into the Dark by Claudia Gray).
If you love the two Jedi protagonists in The Phantom Menace, than you have to check out Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray. Gray has crafted together an exciting and emotionally powerful novel that follows Qui-gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi on one of their early adventures. This was an outstanding and incredible Star Wars novel that is really worth checking out.
The extraordinary Dark Disciple, by master tie-in author Christie Golden, utilises the scripts of several unproduced The Clone Wars episodes, showing the fates of fan-favourite characters Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos during the Clone Wars. This is another touching and captivating character-driven novel, and readers will quickly become engrossed in this unique tale of love, betrayal and inner darkness.
Timothy Zahn strikes again, and I have no choice but to feature yet another one of his books on this list. Scoundrels, which is set in the Legends canon, is an excellent and wildly entertaining heist novel which follows Han, Chewie, Lando and several of their friends as they try to pull off an impossible theft. I loved this amazing blend of Star Wars and crime fiction elements, and this was a very fun book to read.
Two of the best villains of all time, Darth Vader and the Emperor, team up for the next entry on this list, the action-packed thrill ride, Lords of the Sith. Paul S. Kemp created a really fun and exciting book which follows these two outstanding characters when they are stranded on a hostile planet and find themselves under constant attack by rebels, monsters and traitors. While the focus is in the cool action, Kemp also takes the time to explore the complex relationship between dark master and apprentice, and readers are in for an excellent time with this great book.
The next book is actually the latest Star Wars novel I have read, Maul: Lockdown. Set in the Legends canon years before The Phantom Menace, Lockdown follows the always awesome Darth Maul as he finds himself trapped in a dangerous prison and forced to fight in a series of death matches. This is a dark and captivating read, and I loved the fantastic and clever narrative that Schreiber came up with for this amazing book. A highly recommended read that has convinced me to check out even more entries in the Legends range.
The final entry on this list was the excellent Tarkin by James Luceno. Tarkin is an intriguing book that examines amazing Imperial antagonist, Grand Moth Tarkin. Featuring a great split narrative that explores the character’s younger exploits while also following an adult Tarkin as he hunts for rebels with Darth Vader, Tarkin is an outstanding read, and I deeply enjoyed this clever dive into this complex Star Wars character.
Well, that is this latest Top Ten Tuesday list done. I had an outstanding time pulling this article together and it was fun trying to determine which Star Wars novels were my absolute favourite. All of the above novels come very highly recommended and are a lot of fun to read, especially in their audiobook format. I am planning to make this top ten list an annual occurrence every Star Wars day. I imagine this list will look very different next time, as not only are there several great new Star Wars books coming out soon but I am also planning to go back and explore some other awesome-sounding entries in both the current canon and the Legends range. Make sure to come back in a year to see which Star Wars books I recommend then, and in the meantime, check out at my other Top Ten Tuesday list of favourite Star Wars comics. And May the Fourth be with you!!!