he best Star Wars books of all time.
Alright. Let’s do this.
At Youtini, we receive a truly fantastic amount of questions about Star Wars novels. “What Star Wars books are Canon?” “How many Star Wars books are there?” “What exactly does Legends mean?”
But one question rises above all the rest. “What are the BEST Star Wars books?” And why wouldn’t this be the most important question? At a point in history where we have access to every book, movie, and tv show ever made, we naturally want to make sure our time is being used in the most efficient way possible, right? So when you’re deciding what books to plop into that Amazon cart, you want to know what lives at the top of the list.
And that’s the exact purpose of this guide. Before diving into the best of the best, however, there are a few general terms that we want to outline as they will be used multiple times throughout this guide.
Canon: A piece of Star Wars media that takes place in the “official timeline.” This includes all of the theatrically released films, the television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels, and books, comics, and other pieces of media released after 2014.
Legends: A piece of Star Wars media that takes place outside the official timeline at this point in publishing history. This includes a number of novels and comics published in the decades leading up to the Disney acquisition of the Star Wars license, and every new edition of these materials is emblazoned with a golden LEGENDS banner at the top.
For further reading about the difference between Canon and Legends content, check out our full guide here.
Adult Novel: Star Wars novels written for an adult audience based on content, complexity, or general story elements.
Young Adult (YA) Novel: Star Wars novels written about teenage characters that can be enjoyed by teenage readers and adults, alike. Many of the best Star Wars books of all time fall into this category and are treated with equal respect to their Adult counterparts.
Throughout this guide, we will talk about the best Star Wars books that land in all of these categories, and you’ll notice that our love and respect for these stories is not dependent on any predetermined category.
How We Review
Now before we dive directly into our recommendations, let us address one last major question:
Why in the world should you trust us?
An extremely valid point! And I appreciate you being so blunt with your inquiry, disembodied voice. If we are bold enough to declare a list of the best Star Wars books of all time, then we better be able to back that up, shouldn’t we?
Well. We can. Because this is what we do.
Youtini is a team and community built up people from across the world who have found Star Wars at different times in their lives, read in different orders, and preferred different stories to others throughout their reading careers. For a full list of our Youtini staff members to explore who we are and where we come from, you can check out our staff page.
And when it comes to this list, we asked everyone for their input. Granted, the leadership staff made the final calls, but we didn’t create this list based on one person’s input...we made these decisions together.
That’s all well and good, but what was the criteria for choosing these books?
Ah, I see we had one more question that slipped in right at the deadline. Fair enough, disembodied voice, we’ll tackle this one as well.
For a full write up on how we review books at Youtini, you can check out our Youtini Review System article, but here’s a quick run down on our general process.
We rank books based on five categories:
- Plot: Rate the plot of the book. Consider plot development, story flow, pacing, cameos, and connection to other works.
- Characters: Rate the characters in this book. Consider character development, quality, importance to the EU, and decision making.
- Originality: Rate the originality of the book. Consider character originality, climatic story points, use of Star Wars technology, use of the Force, locations, factions, language, and similarity to previous works.
- Writing: Rate the writing style of the book. Consider writing density, complexity, flow, structure, and overall challenge.
- Entertainment: Rate the entertainment value of the book. Did you want to keep reading? Could you put it down? Did it have major implications for the EU?
Every book on this list was vetted through these categories, and because we don’t give extra weight to any one specific category, we can guarantee that every book on this list will present the best overall reading experience regardless of your reading preferences.
Now that’s enough talk about logistics, isn’t it? Let’s get down to the real reason that you’re here. What better way to start than with the Best Star Wars Book of All Time.
Best Star Wars Novel
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover
There are two eras of life when it comes to being a reader of Star Wars books:
Before Reading Revenge of the Sith and After Reading Revenge of the Sith.
Matthew Stover’s groundbreaking novelization of the final film in the Prequel Trilogy takes our top spot in the pantheon of Star Wars literature for a number of reasons. Chief among them? This book is simply the best written Star Wars novel of all time.
Stover’s writing style in this book had never been seen before its publication nor has it been seen since -- even in Stover’s other Star Wars books. His descriptions of every character are epic to the level of Greek mythology, and when you’re describing possibly the most pivotal moments in the history of Star Wars, that level of reverence could not be more appropriate.
Additionally, this book has the unfortunate task of rendering almost all other film novelizations irrelevant. Stover doesn’t change major plot lines in Revenge of the Sith, but he enhances them beyond comprehension by altering stilted dialogue, adding mental gymnastics performed by the characters, and constantly referencing the gravity of the stakes at play in the larger galaxy.
This book is a masterclass in every conceivable way, and it earns the multitude of descriptors attached to it like epic, opus, and masterwork. Regardless of your feelings about the film Revenge of the Sith, your understanding and appreciation of Anakin Skywalker’s fall will be forever changed by this novel.
Because of its impact, artistry, and impeccable quality, the Youtini team is happy to proclaim Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover the Best Star Wars Novel.
For more info about Revenge of the Sith, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
For some extra fun, check out @rotsnovelbot on Twitter which posts some of the best quotes from the novel on a daily basis.
Best Star Wars Canon Novel
Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
When it came time to reestablish the Star Wars Canon timeline back in 2015, the Star Wars publishing world had quite a long road ahead of it. Del Rey and Lucasfilm needed to help ramp up excitement for the upcoming Episode VII while also letting the publishing fans know that they would be in good hands going forward out of the Legends timeline.
So they decided to publish the best Star Wars book possible.
And that’s how we got Lost Stars.
Lost Stars changed the scope of Star Wars books forever by introducing brand new characters within known settings that told an original story that towed the line between originality and familiarity.
Sounds easy, right?
But beyond that tagline lies the true beauty of Lost Stars: it’s actually just a really, really great book. Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree are two of the most beautifully fleshed out characters that somehow allow the reader to witness landmark events in the Star Wars story through entirely new eyes. They start as children wishing to fly amongst the stars as Imperial pilots and evolve into mature characters that attempt to deal with the fluctuating morality of a galaxy on the constant brink of destruction.
And then there’s Claudia Gray. Lost Stars welcomed author Claudia Gray into the highest pantheon of Star Wars writers, and she’s remained there ever since. Her ability to craft action, romance, spectacle, and intimacy seamlessly together is unparalleled in the Star Wars writing bullpen. Her characters breathe right along with the reader and allow the audience to connect with the material unlike any writer I’ve seen before or since.
Simply put...Lost Stars is a masterpiece. It introduced a number of readers to the Expanded Universe, and it remains the novel we recommend above all others.
For more info about Lost Stars, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray
As much as we wanted to spread the love around throughout this article, we couldn’t deny the impact that Master & Apprentice had on all of us when it was released in early 2019.
Without being too hyperbolic, Master & Apprentice was potentially the most hotly anticipated Star Wars novel release in the Canon. Claudia Gray was riding high on the success of Lost Stars, Bloodline, and Leia: Princess of Alderaan, and now she was going to tackle a story about Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan?!
Our expectations couldn’t have been higher, and still she found a way to exceed them.
Whereas Gray’s previous work focused a lot on the political and personal ramifications of love and war, Master & Apprentice took a brand new path by examining the mythology of the Force itself. Fans knew going in how attuned Qui-Gon was to the Living Force, but this novel expanded that knowledge a hundredfold.
This journey of our favorite Phantom Menace duo also shed some light on the rough spots in their partnership including moments of defiance, disappointment, and betrayal. Seeing beloved Jedi like Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan express such vulnerability was a treat that nobody was entirely prepared for, and the emotional rewards were immense.
Before the release of Master & Apprentice, Claudia Gray was already a household name in Star Wars due to the success of her previous titles, but this book solidified her as the most powerful name on any upcoming cover. For her mastery of character, action, stakes, and Force mythology, Master & Apprentice comfortably sits at our #2 spot in all of Canon.
For more info about Master & Apprentice, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Best Star Wars Young Adult Novel
Most Wanted by Rae Carson
Around the Youtini offices, there’s a general consensus that the Young Adult offerings in the Star Wars Canon are some of the best stories that we have. The moniker of YA can occasionally throw some older readers off, but as we proved with our choice of Lost Stars as the Best Canon Novel, we have nothing but love for books with teenage protagonists.
That leads us to the next entry in our Best Of Collection -- Most Wanted by Rae Carson.
Released just after the theatrical opening of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Most Wanted tells the story of a young Han Solo as he navigates the criminal underworld of Corellia. This remains the only book that I have ever read cover to cover in one sitting, because this book cemented Rae Carson as a MASTER of pacing in the Star Wars universe.
Carson’s success, however, is also tied to the fact that Most Wanted is secretly a Qi’ra novel. Most fans in the community left their exhilarating first viewing of Solo wanting to know more about Emilia Clarke’s phenomenal new character, and Most Wanted delivers in spades.
Qi’ra and Han’s adventure allows us to witness not only their personal growth, but also the evolution of their relationship. How do two White Worm scrumrats turn from professional rivals into backroom makeout partners? You’ll have to read Most Wanted to find out.
For more info about Most Wanted, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray
Did you really think we were done with Claudia Gray on this list?
Leia, Princess of Alderaan may be a lesser discussed Claudia Gray novel, but that’s simply because every Star Wars book that she writes drastically shifts the entire landscape of the universe.
The bar is high. It’s very high.
This novel takes us through the trials of a teenage Leia as she attempts to navigate the trials she must overcome to ascend through the ranks of Alderaanian royalty. Within these pages, she deals with the pressure of a royal title, the emergence of new friends, her first brush with romance, and a dwindling relationship with her parents who seem to be busy with secret meetings…
Not only does this book flesh out a number of familiar characters like Leia, Bail & Breha Organa, and the future Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, but it also expands on a character we lost far too soon...Alderaan itself. Gray introduces us to a culture so many of us have always known as nothing but space debris, and the next time you dive into the saga, you’ll be hard pressed not to carry the knowledge of Leia, Princess of Alderaan by your side.
For more info about Leia, Princess of Alderaan, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Best Star Wars Legends Novel
Kenobi by John Jackson Miller
Perhaps no Star Wars story has been asked for more than the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi during his time on Tatooine. From the time that he dropped off a young Luke Skywalker with the Lars family to the day he rescued the young man from an angry Tusken Raider, old Ben Kenobi must have had some adventures right?
Kenobi by John Jackson Miller fills in that gap beautifully.
Telling the story of a singular moment in the former Jedi’s life, Kenobi embodies the spirit of the classic Western by bringing the newly dubbed Ben into a quiet town on the brink of chaos. There’s a friendly shop owner, a selfish scam artist, fearful villains, wild creatures, and anything else you could ask for in a John Wayne movie.
Miller’s story of the young Old Ben also takes the title of the final Legends book as it was written just before the Disney merger. This recency allows it to take advantage of the evolutions in writing style and prose as opposed to some of the older Legends novels, and if you’re a Canon fan wondering why folks love that golden banner so much, you can’t go wrong with Kenobi.
For more info about Kenobi, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
Let’s go back to the beginning, shall we? While it may not be the first Star Wars novel, it cannot be denied that Heir to the Empire cemented the legacy of Star Wars books as legitimate additions to the mythology, and with good reason:
Zahn’s initial entry into a galaxy far, far away expands beyond the original trilogy and introduces fans to fan favorite characters like Mara Jade, Captain Pellaeon, and of course, Grand Admiral Thrawn.Heir to the Empire’s legacy as the first novel to expand beyond Return of the Jedi is undoubtedly part of its appeal, but its staying power and its position on this list are purely due to its quality. Heir combines incredible action with intimate character moments all surrounded by a blend of new and original characters to create an experience that truly feels like a fully realized Star Wars film.
As one of the only books to receive a Special Anniversary Edition 20 years after its release, it’s no wonder that Heir to the Empire will continuously fall under the “Best Books” category for years to come.
For more info about Heir to the Empire, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process
Best Star Wars Graphic Novel
Star Wars: Darth Vader - Dark Lord of the Sith, Vol. 1: Imperial Machine by Charles Soule and Jim Cheung
While Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca admirably launched Darth Vader back into the world of Marvel comics with Darth Vader #1 in 2015, Darth Vader - Dark Lord of the Sith brought us the emotional journey of the fabled Sith Lord we never knew that we needed.
Charles Soule’s expansion of Vader’s mythology in this series in unparalleled in the comics community, and if you want to know how Vader got his own lightsaber, the lengths he was willing to go to find his wife again, and the history of his castle on Mustafar, you need look no farther than this series.
Additionally, Jim Cheung’s art takes all of Soule’s story input and sprawls it onto the page in a way that is simultaneously visceral and emotionally chilling. Two masters at work weaving a tale of the most tortured character in Star Wars? You can’t say no.
For more info about Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule and Will Sliney
“From Ben to Ren.”
With a single tweet, heralded Star Wars writer Charles Soule set the world on fire in anticipation of Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren. This comic series tells the harrowing story of a young Ben Solo as he suffers the corruption and manipulation of outside forces and impulses as he transitions from an eager Padawan to the dark leader of the Knights of Ren.
Not only do Soule and Sliney paint a picture of young Ben’s evolution throughout this limited series, but they also introduce us to all of the Knights of Ren seen in The Rise of Skywalker, Ben’s fellow Padawans-in-training, and Jedi Master Luke Skywalker in a way that we’ve never seen him before.
Soule’s task in writing this book was monumental. When you consider the amount of pressure that was put on the pen behind the origin of one of the Sequel Trilogy’s dual protagonists, the task is almost unbearable...but he undeniably delivered.
If you loved Ben before this book, then just you wait until you flip that last page.
For more info about Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Not everyone can get a medal, right? But that doesn’t mean they’re not fantastic!
Here are a few additional entries that may not have made it onto the legendary Youtini podium but definitely belong on your bookshelf nonetheless.
Darth Bane Trilogy by Drew Karpyshyn
Taking readers back a thousand years before the Clone Wars, Karpyshyn relates the story of Darth Bane during the time of the Old Republic. In a time where a Sith multitude vie for power, Bane rises to revolt against their Order. Ever wonder where the Sith’s Rule of Two came from? Bane establishes it within these very pages.
Beginning with Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, readers get to see the world of the first dark side users, explore the Sith Academy on Korriban, and witness Bane’s influence on later villains in the series. With such an epic scope and rich Sith history, this line remains a standout among Star Wars Legends novels.
For more info about Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin.
Your favorite smuggler stars in his own trilogy by A.C. Crispin.
From his humble beginnings on Corellia in The Paradise Snare to saving a certain beloved Wookiee from Imperial slavers in The Hutt Gambit to making his famous Kessel Run in Rebel Dawn, Crispin expertly weaves Han Solo’s narrative in this exciting series.
These plot points even received a few direct nods from 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, highlighting how important these books were to Han’s backstory.
For more info about Han Solo: The Paradise Snare, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott
Few know much about Count Dooku or his past that led him from the highest ranks of the Jedi Order to the knee of Darth Sidious. But when he charges his new assassin, Asajj Ventress, with her first mission, he also opens a window into his past. That past, riddled with dark prophecies and broken relationships is the key to Ventress understanding her new master…and his weaknesses.
Cavan Scott, bolstered by a whole host of voice actors, delivers one of the most engaging, immersive stories in all of the Expanded Universe with Dooku: Jedi Lost. This origin story enriches Dooku’s character so much that it even manages to elevate his on-screen appearances in the films.
For more info about Dooku: Jedi Lost, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Dark Disciple by Christie Golden
Asajj Ventress did not deserve the pain she endured as a child, but she endured it all the same. While most know her as the relentless, hardened Sith apprentice who will stop at nothing to please her master, there’s a much less sinister side to her -- one that may even be capable of falling in love.
There were many stories originally meant to complete The Clone Wars that never got their chance to be told. But Ventress’s journey deserved a proper ending, and it got exactly that in Dark Disciple. In this story of love, loss, and triumph, watch as the villain you thought you knew transforms into a celebrated hero of the Republic.
For more info about Dark Disciple, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse
Resistance Reborn is a striking initial entry from author Rebecca Roanhorse that is a crucial prequel to The Rise of Skywalker and a beautiful love letter to the Canon.
Featuring the main protagonists from the Sequel Trilogy alongside some of our favorites from the latest books and comics, Roanhorse follows the broken Resistance as they attempt to regroup after their decimation during the Battle of Crait.
General Leia Organa knows that the Resistance needs leaders and strategists if they have any chance of winning the war, and it's time for everyone to call in some favors. Leia enlists the help of allies new and old from every corner of the Star Wars Canon in an attempt to create the fearsome fighting force that will finally burn the First Order down.
For more info about Resistance Reborn, visit our Official Book Profile where you can find additional staff comments, user reviews, and affiliate links to order the book directly and help Youtini out in the process.
And there you have it! The Best Star Wars Books of All Time.
But where do we go from here? Perhaps you’ve read all of these books already, or perhaps you’re just diving in for the first time. Regardless of where you are on your path, you get to enjoy the same undeniable truth:
The journey is far from over.
Star Wars novels, comics, and audiobooks are being released at a marvelously accelerated rate, and we’ll be covering every single one of them on Youtini. And you better believe that the next book that knocks our socks off will be added to the list, so keep your eyes peeled!
In the meantime, head over to our Discord channels where you can discuss your favorite books on this list or your favorites that didn’t make the cut alongside a community of positive, like-minded fans.
We can’t wait to hear all about your reading journey, and we hope these books helped you go straight to the top of the pile.
May the Force be with you.