Lit Preparing for NJO

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Orman Tagge, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. Orman Tagge Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2014
    star 3
    Hey guys, I've been meaning to for a while, but I've finally decided to start reading NJO. What I'm wondering though, is which books/games/comics/whatever are necessary to understand what's happening? I don't want to miss too much.

    I've read the vast majority of the Dark Horse comics (excluding the Rogue Squadron series - I really ought to do that) and a good chunk of the books. However, the only post-ROTJ books I've read are the Thrawn Trilogy ones.

    What do I read next? I want to be able to enjoy NJO as much as possible after all :) thanks for any help!
  2. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    I envy you.

    I'd recommend Hand of Thrawn for sure, as well as I, Jedi. And Rogue Planet.

    Rogue Planet is the most directly important.
  3. Orman Tagge Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2014
    star 3
    Envy me? Might I ask why?

    And thanks! I'm assuming those go chronologically?

    Is the whole Young Jedi Knights thing necessary? Seemed a bit silly to me...
  4. DarthJenari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2011
    star 4
    As someone who started the series having read barely anything, and who skipped around the entire thing, I can say it's more than possible to not read much and still enjoy it, and understand it. In terms of preparation for it, just so you can understand most of the characters and events, besides the Thrawn Trilogy, i'd also suggest:

    Rogue Planet
    The Hand of Thrawn Duology (I suppose you could read Survivor's Quest as well, though i'd then also suggest you read Outbound Flight too, just to be thorough.)
    The Young Jedi Knights Series

    If you have the money and time go ahead and read the X-Wing Series, along with I, Jedi.
  5. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Because the NJO is the best literary experience that the Expanded Universe has to offer.
  6. stung4ever Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2002
    star 2
    To get the most out of the series, add in Truce at Bakura, Courtship of Princess Leia, the X-Wing series, The Corellian trilogy, the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy, and the Han Solo Trilogy (though it's not post-ROTJ).
  7. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    My own recommendation would be nothing!

    The story will likely work much better for you without looking at what preceded it.
  8. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1999
    star 6
    The best thing about the NJO is how much it drew from all the preceding material--I would say that very little is necessary to understand what's happening, but the more you've read, the more you appreciate it.
    Riv_Shiel, anguirus2003 and Rew like this.
  9. Protectorate Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2013
    star 1
    You mentioned reading most of the Dark Horse comics, so I assume you've read Crimson Empire II, but that's another story that has some ties into the NJO. If you can get your hands on it, and you're really eager to just get into the NJO without reading about a dozen books, I would recommend skimming the original The Essential Chronology. It was written before the NJO was released, so it's guarded from spoilers, if you're into that sort of thing.

    The only books I would really recommend reading are the Brian Daley Han Solo novels, since James Luceno's Agents of Chaos duology draws heavily from their style and serve as something of a tribute to those books. I only say that because when I first read those two books, the style really turned me off, mostly due to not recognizing what Luceno was doing. On a reread, after having read Daley's work, I could appreciate those books a lot more.

    Also, keep in mind that this storyline was conceived as a jumping off point for new readers that were getting into Star Wars due to the release of the prequels, so it's catered to readers who may have not picked up another Star Wars book.
  10. Orman Tagge Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2014
    star 3
    Really? I wasn't aware of that, but that actually makes sense now that I think of it.

    And yes, I'm vaguely aware that the mysterious alien in Crimson Empire (Nom Anor?) is important and a Vong.
  11. BoromirsFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2010
    star 4
    When reading NJO should you read Invasion after TUF? I know invasion isn't after TUF, but it seems like the stories don't fit together well because of how different they are.
  12. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    I don't think it matters when you read Invasion. Isn't it entirely set before Onslaught? Or after Dark Tide.

    It won't do much to enhance the novels or vice versa.
    CT-867-5309 likes this.
  13. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 5
    First two take place before Onslaught, third is after (or during Ruin).
  14. Darth_Garak Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2005
    star 4
    The only downside of the Invasion comics is that they aren't finished and now will probably remain that way.
  15. aleja2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2005
    star 2
    No.

    Do not read the Hand of Thrawn duology. Especially do not read Survivor's Quest (and since SQ was written long after the NJO concluded, it contains no set up for the series.)

    Unless you want to be bitterly, bitterly disappointed in the horrible waste of opportunity and egregious lack of consistent characterization from the earlier books, of course.

    It's better to just go into the NJO cold and accept its version of the SW universe as given, without anything with which to compare. In fact, if you can wipe the films - especially the OT - out of your memory, that would probably enhance any possible enjoyment of the NJO as well. The NJO was definitely created as a jumping on point for new readers. In practice, it served as the perfect jumping OFF point for quite a few more.

    As for "best literary experience in the EU" - that is definitely in the eyes of the reader. IMO, compared to Vector Prime, "Fun with Dick and Jane" is more sophisticated in its use of language, has a better grasp of character, and demonstrates more plot logic. But then, Vector Prime is pretty much the nadir of all the EU, writing wise. Most of the NJO novels fall squarely in the "eh" camp, from a craft POV.
  16. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 5
    I admit HOT had a fair bit of bashing at the previous works, especially DE and anything that Anderson did, but I don't know that it's that bad. And I loved SQ; I don't see how any of the characters lack consistent characterization.

    I'll agree that VP wasn't as good as the rest of the series, but I don't see how you can drop any of the later books (except maybe the Force Heretic trilogy) in the "Eh" camp. They're all, every one of them, amazing–especially Traitor. Of course, that's just the opinion that I hold–you're free to have your own, of course.
    JediKnight75 likes this.
  17. Orman Tagge Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2014
    star 3
    Ok, here's what I'm thinking. Let me know if this sounds alright to you guys, and thanks for all the help!

    Rogue Planet
    Jedi Academy Trilogy and I, Jedi
    The New Rebellion, and then the first six Young Jedi Knight books ("Rise of the Shadow Academy arc) so I get a feel for who each of the original three's children are, and so on.
    Hand of Thrawn Duology
    VECTOR PRIME BABY
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  18. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 5
    That sounds about perfect. Do it! [face_peace]
  19. CT-867-5309 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    I think you should just start with Vector Prime and forget the set up, because the NJO really is rather self-contained and easy to get into, but if you're set on doing some background reading...


    I strongly suggest skipping JAT, I, Jedi, and The New Rebellion.

    Seriously, The New Rebellion is hilariously terrible and adds absolutely nothing to the NJO. Ditto JAT, it really has no connection and it's terrible. You can read TNR and JAT later if you want. (I'm trying to cut down on your workload here)

    I, Jedi does give you some Corran Horn, who has a major role in a few NJO books, but honestly I don't think it connects at all. I'd skip it and come back to it later.

    Go ahead with Rogue Planet and the YJK.

    I think HoT really can be skipped, I don't think it's quite necessary, but if you're gonna do any of the post-ROTJ era above (which is all excluding Rogue Planet, which takes place after TPM but well before AOTC), you might as well do HoT to cap it off.
    Last edited by CT-867-5309, Jul 2, 2014
  20. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I read the NJO last year with no real set-up. I had read TTT and Courtship of Princess Leia in the 90s and therefore knew who the characters were but that's all I really remembered.

    I'm glad I hadn't read any Corran Horn material before then because I'd rather judge him in the Stackpole NJO books on their own merits. In the X-Wing books I'm just...over him, and I have no interest in I, Jedi.

    Rogue Planet helps with the last few books but I wouldn't say it was necessary.

    Enjoy. I liked most of the 24 books.
    Revanfan1 likes this.
  21. aleja2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2005
    star 2
    Oops! That's not what I meant at ALL.

    My bad!

    It's the NJO that falls down horribly, not the HoT or SQ (which I, too, loved). The characterization in those books is spot on.

    I meant don't read those books because they make the NJO even that much worse by comparison. HoT ends with a note of so much...promise. SQ - although that book will leave my bookshelf only when pried out of my cold, dead hands - makes me weep because it is a much too short a glimpse of what the EU coulda been but will never be.

    Thank the Maker for Disney wiping it all clean.


    So, really, better not to read them if you are planning to read the NJO. Or risk an inchoate rage. IMO.

    Yeah, you and I are just going to have to disagree. :) They are, indeed, far from amazing, craftwise IMO. Even Stackpole and Tyers, who I normally appreciate, fell down hard because they had to adhere to preset plot points.

    Traitor is a terrific piece of writing. Amazing.

    I don't find it to be thematically or tonally appropriate for Star Wars, however. Appropriate for the NJO, sure. But the NJO is not tonally or thematically appropriate for Star Wars. Again, IMO.

    And Traitor firmly ushered in the torture porn era of SW EU. Denning loved it in Star by Star, but Traitor established it into a thing. Gee, thanks. :rolleyes:

    Yes, I am fully aware that others completely and totally disagree with me. :)
    Last edited by aleja2, Jul 2, 2014
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  22. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Star by Star came out before Traitor.
  23. JediKnight75 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2011
    star 3
    I'd second the reccomendation of Hand of Thrawn and I, Jedi. Also, you should read the X-Wing series, not only does Corran Horn (who is very important) get introduced there, but so does Gavin Darklighter and the Wraiths -- they make a brief appearance in the NJO and these books will make you appreciate them more. Also, even though they are bad, you should consider giving the Jedi Academy Trilogy a try. Honestly I, Jedi will give you the most important part of the plot and is far better, I think JAT gives a broader view which is still important -- well kind of, the books are pretty bad. In addition, JAT's main plot shows up in I, Jedi, but you won't see its resolution outside of JAT. Lastly, JAT introduces Kyp Durron who is a vital character later. So I do recommend suffering through the trilogy.
  24. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Probably the best choice is to go in BLIND (for post-ROTJ). And either read Rogue Planet before the series, or after Traitor.

    I mean, you could justify pretty much the entire Bantam catalog with all the references that are used, but it's not something that is necessary. They're mostly easter eggs.

    If you want to read the NJO, just read the NJO. The only book that is directly connected is Rogue Planet, and even that isn't necessary.

    I mean, I mostly justified the choices I gave simply to provide context for a geopolitical entity in the Empire of the Hand with regard to HoT, but then again Williams and Dix completely destroyed it through bad continuity and put Fel with the Chiss anyway so I guess that doesn't matter.

    And I named I, Jedi because of Corran Horn and it's sort of an unofficial trilogy with HoT because Zahn and Stackpole collaborated so they both have cortosis and Corran is in HoT.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Jul 2, 2014
  25. JediKnight75 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2011
    star 3
    You have a point, but I feel that many of the Bantam books enchance the experience by increasing the reader's appreciation of the setting and characters. Also, the easter eggs are so much fun when you know what they're referencing. Although you are right, you don't need to read them. Outside of a few going reader novels, Darth Bane 1 and the Han Solo Trilogy that was my first EU experience and I understood and enjoyed it