I thought I’d post my rankings of the Star Wars books that have released this year–so far, since there are some High Republic Phase 2 books coming out this fall. I’ve included mostly adult and YA novels; the only middle grade book I’ve included is the short story collection Stories of Jedi and Sith. Obviously, I’ve only included books that I’ve read, and so the High Republic audio drama Tempest Runner is not included.
So here we go, from least favorite to best:
8. The High Republic: Midnight Horizon, by Daniel Jose Older (YA). This book occurs concurrently with The Fallen Star, but I consider it the last book of Phase 1 of the High Republic. Older is not one of my favorite Star Wars authors. This story is fine, but it’s one of my least favorite of the High Republic novels (Out of the Shadows takes the least favorite spot), and the least favorite of the books that came out this year. It has Reath Silas in it, though, so that makes up for it, and an awesome cameo by Yoda in the last few pages.
7. Stories of Jedi and Sith, by various authors (Middle-grade). These short stories are fun and showcase some great characters like Asajj Ventress, Maul, Luke, Rey and Poe. They don’t add anything significant to the canon, but they’re fun and interesting. I particularly liked the Asajj story, and the Maul story.
6. Queen’s Hope, by E.K. Johnston (YA). I’ve always been a fan of the Padme books, and this one is no exception. It’s the third in a trilogy, and takes place at the start of the Clone Wars and Padme and Anakin’s marriage. As soon as they’re married, they a get a few blissful days on Naboo, but are soon separated on their own missions. I was kind of hoping it was more of a The Princess and the Scoundrel sort of thing, where they get to go on a mission together. They do at the very beginning, but it’s one little chapter, not a whole book. Of course, their marriage is a secret, and Padme must deal with all that entails. It’s still good, and I especially enjoy the Sabe scenes.
5. Padawan, by Kiersten White (YA). This is a young Obi-Wan adventure, and it was quite fun. It shows a very unsure Obi-Wan Kenobi shortly after he is taken on by Qui Gon Jinn as a Padawan. He’s full of doubt and worries, and trying to figure out his relationship with both his Master and the Force. He ends up going alone to a planet where he finds young people with strange Force-like abilities. As he tries to unravel the mysteries of the planet and help these parent-less teens, he comes to understand himself, and the Force, better.
4. Brotherhood, by Mike Chen. This is an Anakin and Obi-Wan adventure, just as the Clone Wars are beginning, and taking place just after Queen’s Hope. Obi-Wan is sent to Cato Neimoidia after the planet suffers a terrible disaster, to investigate the bombing and figure out who is responsible–the Republic or the Separatists. Anakin has just been made a Jedi Knight, and is sent on his own mission, but the two aren’t used to being without the other, and must come to terms with their new relationship–not master and apprentice, but brothers. Anakin shows up, of course, with a youngling in tow, which presages his taking on an apprentice of his own. This is a great book that explores more of Neimoidian culture, separate from the Trade Federation, and how the Republic–as well as Obi-Wan and Anakin–have to overcome certain prejudices against these people. Asajj Ventress is in the book, too, “investigating” on behalf of the Separatists, and you can bet she causes trouble.
3. Shadow of the Sith, by Adam Christopher. This book takes place about fifteen years after Return of the Jedi. Luke and Lando are on a mission to help a young family–six-year old Rey and her parents, Dathan and Miramir–escape the Sith and Ochi of Bestoon. Lando is involved because he feels it will help him deal with his grief over losing his own daughter when she was two; he asks Luke for help, who is currently running his new Jedi Temple on Ossus. We get to see a young Ben Solo a couple of times, and he’s kind of sweet and eager to please his uncle Luke :(. Anyway, Luke gets drawn into a mystery involving an ancient Sith mask possessed by the spirit of a Sith Lord from long ago. It’s a big book, with a lot going on, and it ties together a lot of loose ends from the sequel trilogy. I was a bit disappointed with the portrayal of Luke, who seemed like a robot through the entire book. Otherwise, it’s a great read.
2. The Princess and the Scoundrel, by Beth Revis. I had doubts about this one, and certainly didn’t think it would be so high on my list. But I loved it! If you live for Han and Leia banter and romance (me, it’s me), this one delivers. We see their lovely wedding on Endor, and then Mon Mothma convinces them to take a honeymoon on the Halcyon, a space cruise ship based on Mothma’s homeworld of Chandrila. It’s somewhat for PR purposes, but she truly wants them to have a nice honeymoon, too. But of course they caught up in some intrigue on a troubled moon, all the while figuring each other out and how this marriage thing works. It’s a very satisfying book, at least to me.
1. The High Republic: The Fallen Star, by Claudia Gray. This is the adult finale of the first phase of The High Republic, and it’s fantastic. Claudia Gray is my favorite Star Wars author (Bloodline, Leia: Princess of Alderaan, Into the Dark, and Lost Stars are all exceptional), and she doesn’t disappoint here. Told mostly from the points of view of Stellan Gios, Elzar Mann, and Bell Zettifar (among several others), it takes place mostly on Starlight Beacon, a new space station that is the pride and joy of the Republic. Naturally, Marchion Ro, the main villain of the High Republic novels, has it in his sights. Since it takes place mostly on the station, and there’s a Jedi-killing monster on board, it’s got some Alien-like vibes. But the character work with Stellan and Elzar, especially, is great. It’s wonderful and heartbreaking, and I can’t wait to get back to these (surviving) characters in Phase 3.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!