Lit New to Star Wars Literature? What to Read?Where to Start? What's That Mean? Questions Answered Here!

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Master_Keralys, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. Master_Keralys Sometime Technical Aide and Erstwhile Lit Mod

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    Welcome to the Star Wars Expanded Universe! If you're just jumping in, you might have a lot of questions - who the important characters are, what books or comics to start with, and so on. This is the thread to ask them. Right here in this post we have recommendations for you on where to start and a guide to comic-buying, and as users ask questions, the most common questions and answers will be gathered into a resource that is also a part of this thread. For more detailed info (but also spoilers, so beware!) you can find a lot of useful information on the Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki. At the bottom of this post are a list of commonly used abbreviations that you may find useful. Have fun!


    With such a plethora of titles available for Star Wars literature, it can often be a daunting task to determine where a good place to begin is. There really are a number of great places to begin, but where and what these are can vary from person to person, since everyone has their own opinions (you're bound to find at least one person or loves or hates any particular title).

    In this thread you'll find a summary of the most commonly given suggestions and approaches for exploring the Expanded Universe:

    1) General Introduction
    2) Choose an Era
    3) Chronological Order

    -General Introduction

    There are a handful of titles that are usually the first to be recommended by other fans as good starting places- this is, besides the actual quality of the work, most likely because these titles are either standalone stories or they are more connected to the films/ do not rely heavily on characters & events from other books.

    These titles are:
    • -The "Thrawn Trilogy": a series set 5 years after Return of the Jedi and basically was the launching point of the modern publishing material. Probably the most often-recommended starting point in the EU. Stars the heroes of the Classic Trilogy. (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising & The Last Command)

    • -The X-Wing series: A fan favorite, this time following the exploits of Wedge Antilles and his fighter pilots shortly after Return of the Jedi through 9 years after Endor. (Series I: Rogue Squadron, Wedge's Gamble, The Krytos Trap & The Bacta War; Series II: Wraith Squadron, Iron Fist & Solo Command; Series III: Isard's Revenge; Series IV: Starfighters of Adumar)

    • -Shadows of the Empire: This "bridge novel" covers the timespan and events between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Features Vader, Luke, Leia, Lando and more.

    • -Cloak of Deception: This political thriller sets the stage for the events of The Phantom Menace. Stars Qui-Gon and Obi-wan.

    • -Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter: A more action oriented story also set just prior to The Phantom Menace.

    • -Outbound Flight: Set between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones and featuring (though not starring) Obi-wan & Anakin in a prequel to the various Thrawn-related books.

    • -Shatterpoint: The first Clone Wars novel written, focusing on Mace Windu and the horrors of war.

    • -Labyrinth of Evil: The official lead-in to Revenge of the Sith! Also available (alongside the ROTS Novelization and Dark Lord) in a "Dark Lord Trilogy" collection)

    • -Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader: Set in the aftermath of ROTS as Darth Vader obsessess over Order 66 survivors while adjusting to his new body. Also available (alongside the ROTS Novelization and Labyrinth of Evil) in a "Dark Lord Trilogy" collection)

    • -The Tales of the Jedi series: This comic series is set some 4,000 years before the films, and, with it's primary story arc (which starts with Knights of the Old Republic-not to be confused with the game or actual comic series of the same name), delves into the ancient Jedi and Sith conflicts. This fan-favorite series also acts as backstory to the popular Knights of the Old Republic video games. (K
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  2. Kyptastic VIP

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2005
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    Nice work, looks quite good =D=.

    Actually, Path of Destruction and Rule of Two take that honour ;).
  3. Master_Keralys Sometime Technical Aide and Erstwhile Lit Mod

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    Good catch. I'll fix it. Tomorrow. (I've already spent many hours working on this project, though not so much this thread. :p )

    - Keralys
  4. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    You could insert a list of abbreviations here as well. Prehaps the general abbreviation for a book across from its title and a short list other goodies like: Whats a Jino? Who's this Iwod guy, etc...:)
  5. Kyp Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2003
    star 4
    Which books were published by Del Rey and which ones by Bantam?

    I have read almost all the EU novels published but I've never paid attention to it, but recently more and more people refer to "The books under the Del Rey era.." and so forth.

  6. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    I don't know what a Jino and Iwod is, but even trade. Spliced areas of the forum don't transliterate me well either.

    Could use some trimming, but this is a good idea.
  7. Master_Keralys Sometime Technical Aide and Erstwhile Lit Mod

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    Kyp - this list doesn't really break down well, but essentially anything published between 1991 and 1999 was on the Bantam contract. Del Rey published everything that came out 1999 and after, as well as the very earliest EU (the Brian Daley Han Solo trilogy and so on).

    The abbreviations are a good idea. Why don't you guys just start suggesting them and I'll add them in as we go?

    - Keralys
  8. JediHobbit Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 2, 2002
    star 5
    nice job with the thread Keralys. I liked the inclusion of the acronyms for some of the newer people.

    and now I finally know exactly what JINO stands for. :p
  9. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    That's a relic of that document being made prior to the Darth Bane novels being released- I'll go ahead and edit that bit out. Once I get the NJO/LOTF starter guides assembled, I hope to update that document a little.

    I'm going to edit in a few abbreviations as well.
    Jarren_Lee-Saber likes this.
  10. Lord_Hydronium Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 11, 2002
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    The X-wing comics might be a good starting point to recommend, particularly with the convenience of the Omnibuses.
  11. Manisphere Force Ghost

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    Aug 25, 2007
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  12. Master_Keralys Sometime Technical Aide and Erstwhile Lit Mod

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    Hydro - good suggestion. I'll take care of that a bit later.

    Manisphere - which ones? Thanks!

    - Keralys
  13. Havac Former Moderator

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    Sep 29, 2005
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  14. spicewood Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 26, 2007
    star 1
    Great thread, Master Keralys. I have had absolutely no idea what IIRC meant for the past year.

    Now I am not new to the EU, but I have a question about Legacy comics. Is there something I should read prior? I have read the entire NJO and LoTF as well as most of the Bantam stuff. This would be the first comic series I got into. Am I missing something important?

    Again, thanks for this thread. I really didn't want to throw this question as an aside in another thread and possibly derail the discussion.
  15. Robimus Force Ghost

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    Jul 6, 2007
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  16. spicewood Jedi Grand Master

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    Jun 26, 2007
    star 1
  17. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    Legacy is meant to throw you in the middle of the action, and then it slowly reveals it's own backstory, so definitely go ahead and pick it up- it's not reliant on any other titles (though a few cameos have more meaning if you've read, say, some of the Clone Wars comics, they still will usually explain connections relevant to the plot.).



    I also want to note that I have never even heard of TBT (the acronym or the entity) before. [face_laugh]
  18. rikajaina Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Great list. =D= Very detailed!

    The Truce at Bakura would also be a good starting book. I usually tell people to start on TTT or Shadows of the Empire but Truce wouldn't be a bad start either. It jumps off while our heroes are still on Endor. And for the ladies (or men) of the fandom: the Courtship of Princess Leia is also a good starting read. It gives background information before reading TTT and reading about the Nightsisters is always fun. [face_love]

    Oh- and I actually started off on KJA's Jedi Academy trilogy. I was pretty confused about Thrawn...and Jorus C'baoth... and Luke turning to the Dark Side- but once you get past initial confusion it's a great read that incorporates a ton of fun stuff from OT. It kept me interested and wanting more! I'm re-reading Jedi Search right now and it's definitely apparent how the style of EU writing has changed over the years. I much prefer the Bantam Era...
  19. Handmaiden Yané Manager Emeritus

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    Jul 15, 2002
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    So I just finished LotF. :p what now?
  20. TypoCelchu Force Ghost

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    Feb 1, 2005
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    Depends on what you want. If you're looking for the next story (in the novels), chronologically, you're going to be waiting until December, when Millennium Falcon comes out. Otherwise, I'd strongly suggest picking up the first and second trade paperbacks of the Legacy Comic series, which happens to be well after LotF, and also happens to be awesome.
  21. AdmirableAckbar Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2008
    star 2
    You should probably also recommend the third omnibus in particular, because the first two, while decent, weren't up to the same standard and seem disconnected from the main EU, and you don't need to have read the first two omnibuses to enjoy the third. :)
  22. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    It's not an easy making a suggestion considering we don't know what else you've already read outside of LOTF or if you even liked LOTF. I would concur of course that Legacy Comics is a great way to go. But comics weren't my thing until a year ago. So speaking strickly of novels, have you read The NJO? I have a handfull of books to recomend there. Prequel books that rock: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, Labyrinth of Evil, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader.

    Also there is the Darth Bane duology that takes place 1000 years before Luke and the gang. They're a fun and very quick read.

    What's next? What do you like, Handmaiden?
  23. JediRaanic Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 23, 2001
    star 4
    I just finished up the LotF series and now I want to move on to the past. I would like to read something in the star wars past, but I am having a hard time finding reviews/rating for these books series. I am going to list the books series I haven't read that seem interesting and I would appreciate any feedback on which I would most enjoy. Thanks!

    In chronological order:

    Outbound Flight

    The Thrawn Trilogy (HtoE, Dark Force Rising, Last Command)

    The Black Fleet Crisis (Before the Storm, Shield of Lies, Tyrant's Test)

    The Hand of Thrawn Duology (Spector of the Past, Vision of the Future)

    Survivor's Quest

    I have read prettymuch every other Star Wars book with the exception of those. Thanks ahead of time for any help!!
  24. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    Jan 27, 2000
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    Well, OBF, TTT, HOT & SQ are sort of Zahn's saga-within-the-saga, and is definitely worth checking out. I'd suggest starting with either TTT (as it was produced first and stands on it's own well, plus is still surprisingly excellent after all this time) or OBF (as it's the first book set chronologically. thoguh the most recent to be produced).

    I wouldn't read HOT without reading TTT first, and I wouldn't reccomend reading SQ before any of the others, except for OBF.

    SQ & OBF are sort of a strange case. They are essentially a duology, but both are standalones- you don't have to read one to enjoy the other. Also, you can read the two books in any order, depending on your preference.

    For example- SQ was released first, dealing with the aftermath of the OBF incident. reading SQ first makes SQ more of a mystery novel, with some things left unanswered due to the fog of time elapsed, but things are slowly pieced together. Reading OBF next then fills in the blanks and shows how it all played out.

    But, reading the two in chronological order, with OBF first, follwoed by SQ, you get a different experience, with SQ now being about the characters discovering what you already know.

    But definitely at least check out TTT- it's one of the best, and key, series in the whole EU. The others elaborate and co0ntinue plotlines established in it and flesh out a larger history.


    BFC is good trilogy also, though it basically breaks down into 3 plotlines. The main plot with Leia is pretty well liked heavily in general, the secondary plot with Lando is generally enjoyed though it's relevance to the other plotlines is minimal, and the third plot with Luke (though not without it's merits) isn't thought that highly of, but is generally overshadowed by the other two plotlines.
  25. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    Oh, I didn't even see that you hadn't read TTT before I recommended Outbound and HOT. Yeah, listen to Quest. Do read TTT as soon as possible. It's kind of crazy that you've read every EU book but missed TTT. Get it pronto.[face_peace]