Ranking the Star Wars books released this year (so far)

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!

High Republic Wednesday: My Ranking of the HR Books

It’s no secret that I LOVE the High Republic era of Star Wars. My favorite aspect of Star Wars has always been the Jedi, and the High Republic focuses on the Jedi of this time period–who they are and what makes them tick. It’s awesome.

Having said that, I do have favorites out of all the adult and young adult novels of Phase One that have come out this past year, and in this post I’m going to rank them and give my reasons for their position on the list.

I thought it would be fun to show the alternate covers of each book (if there are any), instead of the usual, often dorky, covers of Jedi holding lightsabers. Let’s get started!

  1. The Fallen Star, by Claudia Gray (Third adult novel)
The Fallen Star alternate cover. This is such a powerful image.

The Fallen Star is the third and final adult novel of Phase One, and it’s my favorite because 1. Claudia Gray is a fantastic storyteller, and 2. it’s a nail-biting, heartbreaking finale where the Jedi obviously lose in a big way, leaving you wondering where they’ll go from here. There are some painful deaths, a terrifying threat (to the Jedi themselves), some very sticky situations to get out of, and some really wonderful relationships that are explored. It’s truly a satisfying culmination to Phase One, while still leaving you breathless for more.

2. Into the Dark, by Claudia Gray (First YA novel)

I haven’t seen any alternate covers for Into the Dark.

Again, Claudia Gray is at the top of my list, because she just handles the characters and the story so well. It’s hard to impress me with a YA book, but she does so here. Maybe it’s because Reath Silas is my favorite Padawan, and he is heavily involved in the storyline in this book. It’s also the only book that deals directly with the Drengir (a threat that is mostly dealt with in the comics). The Drengir are carnivorous, evil tree-beings, and have the potential to be very silly (and hence work best in the comics), but she handles them well here, at least as well as they can be handled. She also introduces the Vessel crew in this book, and Leox and Geode are some of my favorite minor characters in the whole era.

3. Light of the Jedi, by Charles Soule (First adult novel)

Light of the Jedi alternate cover. I love how Ember is front and center.

The very first adult novel, and first High Republic book to come out, is a great read and does a fantastic job at introducing this new era and its Jedi. It’s clear we’re in a very different time period here, and have Jedi who are very different from the prequel Jedi; Soule does a wonderful job bringing them to life in this story. The book begins with the Great Disaster and the fallout from that event, as well as introduces the new villains, the Nihil.

4. The Rising Storm, by Cavan Scott (Second adult novel)

The Rising Storm alternate cover. Striking, but busy.

For some reason, it was hard for me to get into this book on my first read; but on my second read, I loved it. This book deals with the Nihil attack on the Republic Fair on the planet Valo. It’s executed quite well, and I love Elzar Mann’s story arc. There’s a lot going on here, with multiple points of view, but it all comes together wonderfully.

5. Midnight Horizon, by Daniel Jose Older (Third YA novel)

Midnight Horizon alternate cover. Not bad, but I think the original is way cooler.

I was excited for this book, as it starred Reath Silas again (among others), but I found it to be a slow start. It was well into the third act before it suddenly got very, very good. I suppose you could call it a slow burn leading up to the explosion, lol. It concerns Reath and his master, Cohmac Vitus, along with Jedi Master Kantam Sy and Padawan Ram Jomoram going to Corellia to investigate a possible Nihil threat there. One thing Older did very well is characterization, and the relationships between the characters. As throughout all of the High Republic stories, this one’s central theme is how the Jedi should deal with attachment and love, and their struggle with their emotions. Oh yeah, and the Nihil threat, lol. (Check out my review of the book here).

6. Out of the Shadows, by Justina Ireland (Second YA novel)

Out of the Shadows alternate cover, which shows some Nihil, in particular Lourna Dee, instead of the usual Jedi.

I had a hard time with this one. I’m guessing it’s because it didn’t mainly concern the Jedi; rather, it was about a young woman named Sylvestri Yarrow, a cargo pilot who lost her ship to the Nihil and who goes to Coruscant, first to tell the Republic about the Nihil activity, and second, to try to get her ship back. She gets pulled into a scheme involving a wealthy young man from the Graf family, a Nihil plot to create some kind of gravity weapon, and how her missing and presumed dead mother is involved in it all. The only interesting part was when she and Vernestra Rwoh run into Mari San Tekka, and the old woman gives Vernestra some coordinates that are still a mystery.

I’ve read the middle-grade books of Phase One–A Test of Courage, Race to Crashpoint Tower, and Mission to Disaster. They’re all quite good, but I don’t really have a favorite out of them. I’d rank them equally.

By the way, here’s a few more alternate covers I found:

The Rising Storm additional alternate cover. Again, I love Ember up on the rock! (But it’s still kind of dorky, lol).
Out of the Shadows additional alternate cover. More Nihil.

I can’t wait for Phase Two, which reportedly takes place 150 years before the events of this phase. It kind of threw me at first, but I’m confident the creators know what they’re doing and there’s a very good reason for this. I believe Phase Two starts in October of this year.

Thanks for reading. For light and life!

The Next Wave of High Republic Books

I was thrilled to see recently some revealed covers for the next wave of High Republic books that will be coming out starting in January 2022, and thought I’d share them here. To recap, here are the first two waves of Phase One (Called the Light of the Jedi):

Phase One, Wave One:

  • Light of the Jedi (Adult), by Charles Soule
  • Into the Dark (YA), by Claudia Gray
  • A Test of Courage (Middle Grade), by Justina Ireland

Phase One, Wave Two:

  • The Rising Storm (Adult), by Cavan Scott
  • Out of the Shadows (YA), by Justina Ireland
  • Race to Crashpoint Tower (Middle Grade), by Daniel Jose Older

I’ve read all of the Adult and YA books, but only one of the Middle Grade books, A Test of Courage, and only because I accidentally ordered it on Kindle, lol. It was actually pretty good! Here’s the next upcoming wave:

Phase One, Wave Three

This is the Adult novel. Looks like Stellan Gios, Orla Jareni, Bell Zettifar, Burryaga and Indeera Stokes.
May be an image of 2 people and text that says 'STAR WARS THE HIGH REPUBLIC MIDNIGHT HORIZON NEW YORK TIMES BEST SE SELL ING AL THOR DANIEL JOSÉ OLDER'
Young Adult novel. I believe that’s Padawan Reath Silas and his master, Cohmac Vitus.
May be a cartoon of text that says 'STAR WARS THE HIGH REPUBLIC MISSION TO DISASTER NE NEW YORK TIMESBEST SE ING AU THOR JUSTINA IRELAND'
Middle Grade novel. Vernestra Rwoh and her Padawan Imri.

There’s a ton of High Republic comics out there, too, but I don’t read those. I try to keep up with the events in them, but I can’t always do that. One I’d love to read, however, is this upcoming comic with Marchion Ro in it. He’s a fascinating character, and I’d love to know more about him.

May be an anime-style image of text that says 'MARVEL 1 STARWARS THE HIGH REPUBLIC EYE OF THE STORM RATED $3.99US STIVG RYAN'
That’s Loden Greatstorm’s lightsaber, by the way. Thief!

The three Phases of the High Republic are:

  • Phase One: Light of the Jedi
  • Phase Two: Quest of the Jedi
  • Phase Three: Trial of the Jedi

Each Phase has three waves, I’m assuming, so that means a lot more High Republic books, and a lot more great stories! What I really love about the High Republic is that it focuses on the Jedi, for the most part, which is my favorite part of Star Wars. Anything Jedi, and I’m on board, lol.

What do you think of these covers? Do you like the High Republic books? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!