here’s been an awakening. Have you felt it?
The Skywalker Saga may have concluded with Episode IX, but in some ways the Star Wars Canonical timeline is just beginning. Since 2014, a plethora of Star Wars novels, young adult books, and comics have been filling the galaxy far, far away with new Canon adventures. But with so much content to enjoy, it can be hard to decide what to read next.
That’s where Youtini comes in.
Whether you’re a seasoned reader looking for your next Canon pick or a newcomer wondering what the heck Canon even means, we’ve got your back. With this handy guide, you’ll be enjoying your next Star Wars Expanded Universe book in no time.
What is the Star Wars Expanded Universe?
Believe it or not, there was once a time where Star Wars existed as a single film. No sequels, TV shows, books, or comics. George Lucas wasn’t even sure the movie would be a success before its release, so he commissioned Alan Dean Foster to write the novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye as the framework for a low-budget sequel should the original prove less than stellar.
Of course, Star Wars turned out to be a smash hit, negating the need for a failsafe. Nevertheless, Foster’s novel ushered in what would become known as the Expanded Universe or EU: the collection of content comprising stories outside the Original Trilogy of films. In the years following, Star Wars novels and comics built the EU into a living, breathing galaxy for fans to explore.
What are Canon Star Wars Books?
Remember in 2012 when Disney acquired Lucasfilm and announced a new Star Wars trilogy? As fans geared up for the first Skywalker Saga film in a decade, Lucasfilm chose to clean up the Star Wars timeline and more clearly define what content aligned with the films. This led to the formation of Canon content; the stories that officially happen in the same continuity as the films.
In general, books released after April 2014 are now considered Canon. Those hundreds of books and comics that came before? They now reside under the Legends banner. Think of these stories as sort of myths and fables and, well, legends about your favorite characters.
So how do you tell the difference between Canon and Legends? Great question.
Take a peek at the cover. If there’s a gold Legends banner at the top, you can be sure it’s not a Canon novel, and therefore not part of the official continuity. But what if you’re shopping for used books that don’t have the banner? We’ve got you covered! Check out the Youtini Bookshelf to tab between Legends and Canon lists and see where your book belongs.
(By the way, Legends content makes up some of our favorite books ever. Head over to our list of Best Legends Star Wars Books of All Time to check out the very best Legends has to offer).
Where Should I Start With Canon Books?
Quick note here: this list comprises the best Canon books of all time, not necessarily the best Star Wars books to read first. For that, check out our Getting Started Guide, which goes over our picks for the five best Star Wars books to get you started on your EU journey.
The books in this guide, however, represent the highest quality and most critically acclaimed in Star Wars Canon. Thus, they are the Best Star Wars Canon Books of All Time.
How We Review Books
A search for the best Star Wars books will net you lists from big-name websites that have nothing to do with Star Wars.
Not at Youtini.
It’s our job to scavenge the galaxy and find the best Star Wars content for you. No Jedi mind tricks or click-baity articles here. Just honest reviews from Star Wars experts who are fans like you.
Sure, reviewing any kind of fandom is a subjective experience, but this is our mission. It’s why we developed an entire Youtini Review System. Our reviewers rate books on a scale of 1-10 based on plot, characters, originality, writing, and entertainment categories.
Make sense? Okay, prepare for the jump to hyperspace! Let’s get to the list!
Best Canon Star Wars Novel Overall
Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
From the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire, Claudia Gray immerses readers in some of the Original Trilogy’s most important moments, all through the eyes of two original characters, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree.
Bonding over their love of flying, Thane and Ciena befriend each other at an early age. When they enroll in the Imperial Academy, it seems their dreams have finally come true. But as their relationship progresses from friends to perhaps something more, Thane finds himself increasingly disillusioned with the Empire as he witnesses first-hand the horrific tactics used to maintain its ironclad rule.
Set to the backdrop of the OT’s most memorable battles, Thane and Ciena begin to realize their political and ideological differences, and their choices lead to drastic consequences that threaten to destroy their bond.
The epic scale and story of star-crossed lovers who find themselves on opposite sides of a war not only makes Lost Stars our pick for Best Star Wars Canon Novel but one of the Foundational Five Books we recommend every Star Wars fan read first.
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.
Best Canon Adult Star Wars Novel
Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray
Get used to Claudia Gray appearing on this list. In this book, the Master of Canon herself examines the complex bond between Jedi and apprentice, following Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, as they struggle to work together.
On a mission to resolve a political dispute on the planet Pijal, the two Jedi’s already tumultuous relationship is put to the test when Qui-Gon receives an offer that would allow him to part ways with Obi-Wan forever. Terrorist attacks against Pijal’s government and an unfolding conspiracy push their connection to the breaking point, and each will have to decide if they can remain Master and Apprentice.
Readers gain insight into Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s contrasting personalities, learning what makes them tick, how their differences threaten to split them apart, and ultimately why Obi-Wan chooses to train a newly-freed slave named Anakin Skywalker.
Gray sets these interpersonal conflicts to great Star Wars action sequences, at the same time offering fascinating glimpses into some unseen aspects of the Force.
For more info about Master and 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.
Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse
Reeling from the Battle of Crait, Poe, Leia, Rey, and Finn work to recruit allies from across the galaxy to continue the fight against the First Order.
Rebecca Roanhorse flexes some serious Star Wars muscle in her debut EU novel, and she absolutely nails it. Resistance Reborn is everything a lead up to Episode IX should be: engaging action, great moments with characters we love, and an exciting build up to the end of the Skywalker Saga. Plus, Roanhorse tips her hat to veteran readers by peppering the pages with Canon references even as she delivers a solid story newcomers will find easy to follow.
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.
Best Canon Star Wars Young Adult Novel
We already gave Lost Stars the title of Best Overall Canon Novel, so which other books make our list for best Young Adult reads?
Most Wanted by Rae Carson
Acting as a prequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story, Most Wanted drops readers into the dark alleyways of Coronet City to run alongside Han and Q’ra in their early days as White Worm gang members. When a job goes terribly wrong, the two find themselves on the run from every crime syndicate on Corellia--including their own. But in order to pull off the heist that might save their skins, they’ll have to learn to trust each other or risk dying as nobodies on the streets.
Rae Carson manages to capture everything we love about Han, offering glimpses of the future smuggler’s golden heart as he runs from Imperial troops, barrels through the streets in a speeder chase, and smooth-talks his way out of dicey situations. In addition, Qi’ra benefits from added depth and a window into her past, all of which enriches her scenes in Solo and her fateful decision aboard Dryden Vos’s yacht.
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
Leia remains one of the strongest and most beloved characters of the Original Trilogy and beyond. In this Canon novel, we get to journey through the young princess’s formative moments, watching how she refines her courage, tactical ability, and political savviness as she undertakes the challenges of body, mind, and heart to prove she’s worthy of Alderaan’s throne. And when she starts to uncover her adoptive parents’ long-kept secrets, she begins down a dangerous path that takes her under the shadow of the Empire.
In Leia: Princess of Alderaan, Gray is doing what she does best: intimately connecting with characters during grand moments on a galactic scale. Amid challenges, political intrigue, and the excitement of first romance, Leia learns first-hand how complicated the galaxy can be. But despite heartbreaks and setbacks, she discovers something deep within herself. Something that will shape her into a future Rebel warrior and leader of the Resistance.
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 Canon Star Wars Audiobook
Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott
Star Wars audiobooks have long boasted high production values and great narration, but nothing tops Dooku: Jedi Lost. With a full voice cast set to John William’s thrilling music, this audio original fully immerses listeners in one of the most engaging stories in the EU.
When Dooku charges his new assassin, Asajj Ventress, to locate his missing sister, she uncovers records detailing her master’s former life as a rising star in the Jedi Order. Taken at a young age to be trained in the Force, Dooku leaves behind a privileged life and a father who wants nothing to do with him. He grows in power and eventually takes on an apprentice, Qui-Gon Jinn, before a threat to his homeworld forces him to decide where his loyalty lies. Increasingly disenchanted with the Jedi and with a growing interest in ancient Sith relics, Dooku begins down a path to the Dark Side, one Asajj will have to decide if she should follow.
Scott adds such depth and nuance to Dooku’s character that you might find yourself rewatching Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith with a greater appreciation for the Count of Serenno. Plus, the whole production is so entertaining, you’ll end up driving around the block just to listen for another five minutes.
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.
Queen’s Shadow by E. K. Johnston
Life as a teenage queen is tough. But Padmé Naberrie, “Queen Amidala” of Naboo, managed her tenure just fine. Heck, she even saved her people from an invasion by the Trade Federation. But now that she’s stepping down from the throne, she’ll have to forge a new identity out from under the queen’s shadow.
Johnston fills in the gap between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, following Padme as she adjusts to life after the throne. The book gives fans an intricate look at the social, political, and cultural aspects of Naboo, saturating an already lush world with even more rich details. In addition, Johnston does a great job of adding EU references throughout the pages so that the book really lives and breathes in the Star Wars galaxy.
As an added bonus, the audio version of Queen’s Shadow features narration by Catherine Tabor, the voice of Padmé in The Clone Wars, making this Canon Star Wars audiobook feel even more connected to the rest of the EU.
For more info about Queen’s Shadow, 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 Canon Star Wars Standalone Novel
Dark Disciple by Christie Golden
The original cancellation of The Clone Wars left a few narrative threads untied including the fate of Count Dooku’s former servant, Asajj Ventress. In fact, an entire multi-episode arc centering on the assassin turned bounty hunter went unproduced. Dark Disciple brings that story to light, offering fans the chance to learn what happened after Dooku turned on his pupil.
After Dooku orders the heartless massacre of a refugee ship, the Jedi Council decides it must take drastic measures to eliminate the Count of Serenno. They risk calling on Asajj Ventress to assassinate her former master, pairing her with Jedi Master Quinlon Vos to get the job done. But when feelings emerge between the pair, Asajj must strengthen her resolve to carry out her vendetta and finally let go of her Sith past.
Golden does a great job shining a light on Ventress’s tortured past and casting shades of moral ambiguity on her former deeds. Adding romantic undertones brings on another layer of complexity as readers begin to hope her broken heart is capable of loving another. Overall, Dark Disciple offers a satisfying story for fans who demanded more Ventress.
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.
Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson
Another character fans demanded to see more: Phasma. The chrome-plated First Order officer received little screen time when she debuted in The Force Awakens, leaving her character largely a mystery.
Dawson hits on a brilliant premise by turning Phasma’s unknown past into the primary MacGuffin of the story. Readers follow a mysterious crimson-armored stormtrooper known as Cardinal as he tortures a Resistance fighter for information regarding Phasma’s history. Each revelation leads him closer to discovering whatever secret Phasma closely guards, and the more he learns, the more danger he finds in piecing together her story.
Readers are in for a thrilling time as Dawson paints Phasma’s character stroke by stroke into the portrait of a truly formidable villain. In addition, this novel is a must-read before checking out Dawson’s next Star Wars book, Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire.
For more info about Phasma, 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 Canon Star Wars Film Novelization
While we consider Revenge of the Sith one of the greatest Star Wars books of all time and include it in our Five Foundational Books for EU reading, its murky legitimacy in the Canon forces us to classify it as a Legends novel. Therefore, our pick here represents a film novelization that’s Canon through-and-through.
Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition by Mur Lafferty
It’s no secret Solo: A Star Wars story suffered a troubled production before its release. With the firing of the film’s original directors, last-minute revisions to the script, and multiple scenes reshot to accommodate an altered on-screen tone, many fans couldn’t help but wonder if some things in Han’s origin story got lost in the shuffle. Fortunately, Lafferty gets to expand on the film’s foundational ideas by exploring additional scenes and character moments that ended up on the cutting room floor.
Serving as a sort of “director’s cut,” readers are treated to sequences that flesh out Han’s time in the military, bridge the gap in Qi’ra’s story from her space port capture to Dryden Vos’s yacht, and offer a better glimpse into L3’s fate. In addition, Tobias and Val’s more fully realized relationship serves up an even stronger gut punch during the train heist on Vandor-1.
Solo is everything a film novelization should be: it stays true to the movie even as it enhances and adds to what we experience on screen. If you left the theater wanting more Han and Qi’ra, this is the book for you.
For more info about Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition, 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.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed
With the shadow of the Empire growing larger, rumors circulate through the galaxy of a terrifying new Imperial weapon capable of destroying entire planets. The nascent Rebel Alliance knows if this threat is allowed to exist, it could spell doom for any chance at freedom. But with such dark tidings comes a glimmer of hope: a fatal flaw in the Empire’s new Death Star might prove the key to destroying it. Jyn Erso, a scrappy young woman full of rebellion and vengeance, leads a ragtag group of freedom fighters on a mission to steal the Death Star plans, giving the Rebels the hope they need to turn the tides of war.
The first Star Wars standalone film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, released to widespread critical acclaim, raking in over $1 billion at the global box office. Alexander Freed’s novelization rides that swell of success and manages to deliver a solid story while texturing the film’s much-loved characters with welcome insight and depth.
For more info about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, 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.
Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed
Freed excels at putting the “Wars” in “Star Wars,” offering up exciting space battles, plenty of dog fights, and countless explosions. His particular talent is in fine form with Alphabet Squadron, which sees a team of New Republic pilots cobbled together from former Rebel and Imperial service to pursue the formidable Shadow Wing, a deadly TIE fighter force exacting revenge in the wake of the Empire’s defeat at Endor. Comprising five classes of personal fighters including the X, Y, A, B, and U-wing, the aptly-named Alphabet Squadron makes a uniquely versatile strike force, but its individual members will have to learn to work together if they are to locate and destroy Shadow Wing.
We loved the first Alphabet Squadron novel and can’t wait for the rest of the series to find out what happens to our newest favorite characters.
For more info about Alphabet Squadron, 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.
Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno
From Director Krennic’s unwelcome arrival on Galen Erso’s farm in the tense opening moments of Rogue One, it’s clear the two men have history. Catalyst chronicles the years leading up to that fateful meeting, shedding light on Krennic’s involvement in the Ersos’ lives as well as the debt Galen owes the Director for saving his family including his unborn daughter, Jyn. Now serving the newly-formed Empire, Galen continues his energy research regarding kyber crystals under the impression his designs will soon power entire worlds. But as Krennic’s suffocating grip tightens around his family, Galen begins to suspect he’s involved in the manufacture of something much more sinister.
With a solid story that stretches from the Republic’s final days through the Empire’s early years, Luceno lays a great foundation for Rogue One, enriching its characters and giving fans a look into the development of the iconic Death Star.
For more info about Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, 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.
Bloodline by Claudia Gray
Two decades after the destruction of the second Death Star, the New Republic government nominates Leia Organa for the office of First Senator, an official who would wield considerable authority over the military and economy. As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia knows better than most the danger inherent in any one person holding such a powerful position. But with attacks against the New Republic and whispers of the First Order mounting in strength, Leia’s intended retirement seems out of the question, and her return to service will form the beginnings of a new Resistance.
Gray continues her reign as queen of the Canon EU, this time immersing readers in Leia’s world of political intrigue, scandals, and backstabbing power grabs. In Bloodline, we witness the galaxy’s restless state in the years leading up to The Force Awakens and Leia’s many struggles that inform her character in the Sequel Trilogy.
For more info about Bloodline, 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.
Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston
Since her first appearance as Anakin Skywalker’s padawan in The Clone Wars film, Ahsoka Tano quickly grew into one of the most beloved characters in the Star Wars universe. But not much was known about her life after Order 66 and before her return as a Rebel operative in Star Wars: Rebels. E. K. Johnston’s Canon novel dives into those silent years.
Ahsoka’s reflections provide insight into how she’s dealt with the fallout of Order 66 as well as her decision to leave the Jedi Order. And when the plot throws the throttle open onto an exciting third act, her daring heroics and big heart are on full display, reminding us why we fell in love with the character to begin with. And bonus! The audiobook features narration by the voice of Ahsoka herself, Ashley Eckstein!
For more info about Ahsoka, 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.
Always in Motion, the Future is...
As much as we’d like to think these picks are the final word on Canon books, the truth is we have a virtually endless supply of Canon material coming our way. This guide, however, will remain your definitive resource for the best Canon novels the EU has to offer, so check back here for updates as more books release. In the meantime, head over to our Release Schedule to see what’s coming down the pipeline.
Now that you’re a Canon expert, be sure to check out our other reading guides. Then head over to our Discord to hang out with the friendliest Star Wars community in the galaxy and let us know what you’re reading!