BBY/ABY is used to position items along the Star Wars Timeline. BBY refers to Before the Battle of Yavin. ABY refers to After the Battle of Yavin. The Battle of Yavin in Episode IV: A New Hope occured in 0 BBY/ABY.
The Youtini Expanded Universe Ranking system is a 1-5 scale that ranks EU book quality, difficulty, and importance. Books closer to Level 1 are easier to read and understand, more important, and of higher quality.
Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? It's a sprawling tale that establishes several important origin stories for characters fans know well. Readers learn how Plagueis seduced Palpatine to the dark side and how their alliance led to the Sith apprentice’s ultimate betrayal of his master. This is how darkness truly began to rise.
Darth Plagueis: Like all Sith Lords before him, he craves absolute power. But like no Sith Lord ever, he possesses the ultimate power—over life and death.
Darth Sidious: In secret he masters the power of the dark side, while publicly climbing to the highest government office.
One desires to rule supreme; the other dreams of living forever. Together, they will destroy the Jedi and rule the galaxy. Unless merciless Sith tradition becomes their undoing. . . .
Reading Darth Plagueis is a "crossing the threshold" moment for any Star Wars EU fan. It is an absolutely astonishing story that weaves elements from all across the saga together, answering questions you never realized you had. That being said, it's dense. Don't pick this book up for some light reading on the beach. However, those who make it to the end will be rewarded will one of the richest stories the EU has to offer.
While Darth Plagueis brilliantly expands the legend of Palpatine and immense power of his Muun master, the plot and flow of the novel sometimes suffers in favor of overly complex plot and overwhelming density. I love discovering the machinations of the Force as much as the next person, but Plagueis seems to cover an intense amount of fascinating myth exploration beneath an exorbitant amount of political power play that ultimately leaves me mentally exhausted after maybe fifteen pages. This book is a worthwhile marathon, but it takes quite a while to reach that finish line.
Darth Plagueis is known to be the most dense Star Wars novel of all time, but don't let that steer you away from a fantastic lore-filled story. This book could be renamed "The Sith Bible" and it would totally fit as it is filled with Sith philosophy and history dating back to the Darth Bane era. It also solves the mystery of Plagueis' demise as well as Sidious' rise in the Senate. This novel also calls out to other Expanded Universe content like that in The Clone Wars show and, although this novel is categorized as Legends, many elements of this story has been re-purposed in the Canon universe. It might take you a few days to get through this one, but the payoff is incredibly rewarding.
This book was dense. It was intricate. It was heavy. And it was fantastic. Luceno accomplished something with this book that I didn't think was possible. He made Palpatine an interesting character and pieced together some of the more head-scratching information gaps in the prequels, all while crafting a uniquely sinister Sith Lord from scratch. While I wouldn't recommend this book to someone just getting started in the EU, I consider it to be a must-read for all EU veterans.
Darth Plagueis is essential reading for any Star Wars Expanded Universe fan. Luceno molds Palpatine into a deep and complex character while also building Sith and Force lore in a significant way. That said, this book probably shouldn't be your introduction to the EU -- it is heavy reading and full of lore. It is a rewarding experience, though, and definitely recommended for anyone looking to dive deeper into the EU.