"The next generation of Jedi has truly arrived."
Before there was Ben Solo, when Return of the Jedi was still the “new Star Wars movie,” the Expanded Universe ran wild with filling the galaxy with new heroes to carry on the Skywalker/Solo legacy.
Beloved by many as some of the greatest characters ever to generate from the pages of the EU, Jacen and Jaina Solo were the bastion of next-generation Star Wars stories. After all, how many times can Han Solo narrowly escape by the skin of his teeth by smooth-talking his way out of trouble? Sooner or later, more stories demanded new characters.
And what a better way to do so than by having Leia Organa Solo bear not one but two Jedi younglings right out of the gate? Timothy Zahn’s groundbreaking original Thrawn Trilogy not only introduced iconic characters like Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn, but also planted the seed for future stories by telling of Leia’s pregnancy. Jacen and Jaina's stories represent the depth that was decades of Legends storytelling—seeing the characters emerge as infants, be kidnapped by the Solos' enemies (over and over again—seriously, so many times), training at Jedi boarding school, making friends and enemies of their own, learning to pilot starfighters, construct lightsabers, get in over their heads in whirlwind romances, and even reckon with the dark side.
Although Jacen and Jaina were twins, they were as different as night and day, light and dark. Jaina was the compulsive, hot-headed mechanic and pilot. Her raw talent led the way among the new generation of Jedi students, but her headstrong tendencies often landed her in hot water. Jacen, on the other hand, was more methodical. Contemplative. Introspective, even. He connected more easily with creatures than with people (something which comes into play in a BIG way in the New Jedi Order). His philosophical nature landed him reluctant to take up his Jedi legacy for much of his adolescence, something that brought him into conflict with his younger brother, Anakin. Regardless of their differences, however, the Solos were chosen by the Force to play a major role in galactic events. The fate of the galaxy pivoted around their decisions. And what a wild ride it was.
Although not exhaustive (we couldn’t include all 19 New Jedi Order books on this list, could we?), this collection presents a thorough reading guide to the major events in the lives of two of the greatest Jedi to ever grace the pages of a galaxy far, far away. The Young Jedi Knights are the first books to give the Solo kids the spotlight as leading characters as they train in the Jedi ways at Luke’s temple on Yavin IV. If you find the entire series is a bit long, the first six books form a complete story arc that lands them as tried-and-true Jedi, ready to step up to the plate in saving the galaxy.
Overall, though, the New Jedi Order took their character development into much deeper territory, as is to be expected. Vector Prime got this all started with an excellent re-introduction to all three of the young Solos. From there, Jaina took up the mantle among the greatest starfighter pilots in the galaxy by joining the ranks of none other than Rogue Squadron itself in Mike Stackpole’s Dark Tide duology. Jacen was forced to overcome his philosophical hypotheticals in Balance Point. After the cataclysmic upheaval in Star by Star, Jaina got a character-focused semi-romance novel in Dark Journey, while the legendary Matthew Stover (Revenge of the Sith) wrote one of the most mind-bending Star Wars books ever as Jacen Solo was broken and remade in Traitor. Destiny’s Way saw the new cast of Jedi becoming full-fledged Knights, while Unifying Force brought the series, and the Solo twins' part in the fate of the galaxy, to a shocking conclusion.
Following the New Jedi Order, Troy Denning's Swarm War trilogy was as hard sci-fi as it gets in Star Wars. What's not to love when Jaina melds with the hive-mind of an insectoid species and Jacen learns to time-travel? In a radical change of pace, Legacy of the Force saw both Jacen and Jaina as battle-hardened war veterans. This time, instead of a war against intergalactic invaders, Jacen and Jaina were pitted against each other in a classic Star Wars story of Jedi vs Sith. In Legacy, Jaina took on a whole new set of skills, making her an even more formidable fighter.
Not to give too much away, but let’s just say her journey took her to a planet whose warriors were known for possessing armor impenetrable by the blade of a lightsaber. . .
If you’re new to Legends and want to have an understanding of some of its greatest characters, Jacen and Jaina are a good place to start! Prepare to be inspired, entertained, and emotionally devastated in the way that Star Wars does best.
This novel serves as the springboard for the rest of the New Jedi Order series by introducing the Yuuzhan Vong, an invading alien race bent on conquering the galaxy. Luke, Mara Jade, Han, Leia, Chewie, and the Solo children must familiarize themselves with their new adversaries and their strange technology. However, everything comes to a cataclysmic conclusion when the Yuuzhan Vong threaten to demonstrate their very own planet-destroying capabilities.
This novel is required reading for those looking to learn about the most important stories in the EU. It is the start of a long series, and for fans of the EU, Luke, or the Solo family, Vector Prime and the rest of the NJO series are highly recommended.
As the fourth book in nine book series, this novel continues to build on the plot lines of books 1-3. Exile also brings back Wedge, Lando, and Booster to help aid the main characters and their plot points. The story is told from multiple character perspectives and is packed with steady action.
We begin with Han and Leia in exile, Jacen Solo continues to struggle, while the tensions between the Alliance and the Confederation are at an all time high, and Ben Skywalker embarks on a solo mission that seems key to his character's development.