Star Wars books are a fantastic way to read about the ever-expanding Star Wars Universe. You’ll be introduced to new characters and welcomed by familiar faces with this list of the best Star Wars books according to Goodreads data.
While the movies, TV shows, and comics are incredible, there are characters in the Universe that fans didn’t get enough of, and that’s where the books come in!
Some of the best books on our list are series all their own, introducing new characters set in times between Episodes. Others feature favorite characters like Ahsoka and Thrawn. A few novels focus on the formation of the New Republic, while others force you to watch the dark side grow strong.
How many Star Wars books are there in total?
There are more than 200 Star Wars books, which is a bit overwhelming. That’s even before considering the confusion that can come with differentiating between the Canon and Legend books.
If you want to learn more about every Star Wars book, we have the ultimate guide with three ways to read the books in this universe.
However, if you just want to know what thousands of readers consider to be the best Star Wars books, then keep reading.
13 Best Star Wars Books
Now it’s time to take a look at the best Star Wars books that every Star Wars fan should have on their reading list. This list was compiled using Goodreads ratings to judge which books readers enjoyed the most.
Some are standalone books, while others belong within a larger series. Our list features the books in in descending order, which saves the best for last.
13. Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
Kicking off our list of the best Star Wars books, we have the Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno. It has a 3.74 average on Goodreads with nearly 18,000 ratings.
War is tearing the galaxy apart. The Republic and the Separatists have battled for years, each eager to win the war. Orson Krennic wants to develop a superweapon for Chancellor Palpatine before their enemies can and his old friend Galen Erso could be the key.
Galen’s energy-focused research has caught the attention of both sides, making him a crucial pawn. But when Krennic rescues his family from Separatist kidnappers, the Erso family is in Krennic’s debt. Then Krennic offers Galen the opportunity to continue his research with every resource at his disposal.
Galen and his wife Lyra believe that the findings will be used in purely altruistic ways, but Krennic harbors other plans that will see the top secret Death Star project become a reality. Galen and Lyra must untangle the web of deception ensnaring them to save themselves and the galaxy.
12. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Next we have the third book in the Star Wars: Novelizations. Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Woodring Stover is the only novelization on our list of the best Star Wars books. It has an average rating of 4.25 from more than 19,000 ratings.
Combat is escalating across the galaxy as the stage is set for an explosive conclusion. Obi-Wan undertakes a dangerous mission to destroy the Separatist military leader General Grievous. While Palpatine subtly influences public opinion to turn against the Jedi and secure greater control for himself.
All the while, Anakin Skywalker is consumed by a fear that his secret love, Senator Padmé Amidala, will die. He edges dangerously closer to the brink of a galaxy-shaping decision. Darth Sidious’s shadow looms larger as he prepares for the final strike that will ordain a new Sith Lord: Darth Vader.
11. Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn Duology
The first book in The Hand of Thrawn duology by Timothy Zahn is entitled Specter of the Past, with an average 4.01 rating from more than 20,000 ratings on Goodreads.
The Empire’s reign of terror is seemingly coming to an end…but they have saved their most desperate and evil plan for last. Genocide and civil war could destroy the New Republic, but with Grand Admiral Thrawn rising from the dead to lead the Empire, their long-prophesied victory may come true.
Han and Leia race to fight against a threat from inside the New Republic and one from outside forces. Meanwhile, Luke and Mara Jade use the Force to track down a crew of clones. But will it be enough?
With the Empire and the New Republic distracted, a new and dangerous threat looms, ready to destroy them both.
10. Master and Apprentice
Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray has a 4.18 rating on Goodreads with more than 17,500 ratings.
A Jedi must be many things, but a Jedi’s most essential duty may just be to pass on what they know. Nothing has ever scared Qui-Gon Jinn like the possibility of failing his apprentice.
Meanwhile, Obi-Wan Kenobi respects his master, but does not understand him. He also fears that he has failed his Master.
Then Jedi Rael Averross requests their assistance with a political dispute, and Jinn and Kenobi travel to the royal court of Pijal. But what should have been a simple assignment becomes clouded by deceit. Qui-Gon’s mind becomes engulfed with visions of violent disaster and Obi-Wan’s faith in him is tested.
9. Darth Plagueis
Next on our list of best Star Wars book is Darth Plagueis. The book by James Luceno has a 4.15 average across more than 26,000 readers on Goodreads.
Darth Plagueis is one of the most brilliant Sith Lords ever. He has all the power he desires and only fears losing. When the time is right he destroys his Master, but vows to never suffer the same fate.
Darth Sidious is his chosen apprentice. He secretly studies the way of the Sith under his master while publicly rising to power as Senator, then Chancellor, then finally as Emperor.
Together the Master and acolyte target the galaxy for domination and the Jedi Order for annihilation. But will their desires sow the seeds of their destruction?
8. Dark Disciple
Dark Disciple by Christie Golden has a 4.06 rating on Goodreads with nearly 21,000 ratings. It’s based on the unproduced scripts from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Sith Lord Count Dooku’s efforts have grown more brutal in the war that rages across the galaxy. With casualties piling up and an order to massacre helpless refugees, the Jedi Council decide they must go after Dooku.
But Dooku is dangerous, so the Jedi Council pair Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress, bringing both sides of the Force together against the Sith Lord. While the Jedi do not trust the former assassin, Ventress’s deep hatred for her former master, Count Dooku, makes her willing to assist Von.
Ventress is determined to have her revenge, but as she and Von grow closer, worries begin to spread about whether their feelings for each other could compromise the mission.
7. Star Wars: Darth Bane Trilogy
The next series on our list of best Star Wars books is the Star Wars: Darth Bane trilogy by Drew Karpyshyn. The first book, Path of Destruction, has a 4.33 average with more than 29,000 ratings on Goodreads.
Dessel’s life revolves around the abuse from his father and the danger of being a cortosis miner. He dreams of escaping as he excavates the rare mineral on the desolate planet. But after a high-stakes card game turns deadly, Dessel becomes a wanted man.
To outrun the Republic forces, Dessel finds himself in the ranks of the Sith army, joining the war against the Jedi. His command of the Force, his cunning, and his brutality earn him the title of a warrior and a new name: Bane. But his Sith commanders have greater plans for him.
To prove he has given himself over to the dark side, he must complete the trial by fire. To reach his potential, Bane must navigate the treachery of the Sith, defy sacred traditions, and forge a new era of dark power.
6. Aftermath Trilogy
The next book on our list of best Star Wars books is Aftermath by Chuck Wendig, the first book in a trilogy. It has a 3.29 average rating across nearly 32,000 readers on Goodreads.
With the Empire in a critical state, the Rebel Alliance advances by hunting for the enemy’s scattered forces, who are beginning to strike back on the remote planet Akiva.
Pilot Wedge Antilles can only watch as Imperial Star Destroyers circle the planet. He is taken captive before he can alert the New Republic.
On the planet, rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to retire from fighting and reunite with her son. But when she intercepts Wedge’s distress call, she must return to battle.
The Imperial elite are converging to rally a counterstrike, but Norra and her allies will do what they must to end the Empire’s reign of terror and bring peace to the galaxy once more.
Bloodline by Claudia Gray is a Disney canon novel that focuses on the birth of the Resistance. It has a 4.07 average rating on Goodreads with more than 23,000 ratings.
After the Rebellion defeated the Empire, Leia Organa expected peace. But with so much infighting within the New Republic Senate, peace seems far off.
Senator Leia must do what she can to protect the fragile democracy from inside and outside forces. The galaxy is still in chaos, and the senators are requesting the election of a First Senator, a person who will project hope and leadership across a divided galaxy.
Leia is the daughter of Darth Vader, which breeds distrust for the idea of a single person in a powerful position. But when a new enemy surfaces, Leia may have to take this position of power and face the mysterious threat.
4. Lost Stars
Next on our list of the best Star Wars books, is Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. It has a 4.29 average on Goodreads from more than 27,000 readers.
Aristocrat Thane Kyrell and villager Ciena Ree both love to fly. As the Galactic Empire reaches the Outer Rim, they enroll at the Imperial Academy together to become fighter pilots. But as Thane witnesses the horrors of war, his dream of flying sours.
Angry at the sight of the horror the Empire inflicts, Thane joins the Rebellion. Ciena must then choose between her loyalty to the Empire and the man she loves.
On opposite sides of the battle, will Thane and Ciena find a way to be together, or will their duties turn them into enemies?
Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston has an average 4.08 rating from nearly 37,000 readers on Goodreads. This novel is perfect for fans of the dual-saber-wielding Jedi.
What happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order and before she reappeared as a Rebel operative Fulcrum?
After the devastation of Order 66 and her experience with the Order, Ahsoka is no longer interested in being part of a collective.
But her desire to fight and her desperation to protect those who cannot defend themselves is strong. This need leads her straight to Bail Organa and the Rebel Alliance.
2. Star Wars: Thrawn Trilogy
Thrawn is the first book in the Thrawn Trilogy, written by Timothy Zahn and published in 2017. It has an average 4.30 rating with over 45,000 ratings on Goodreads. It does not contradict with its predecessor published in 1991, as this trilogy unravels Thrawn’s origins.
After being rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, Thrawn quickly captures Emperor Palpatine’s attention. His ambition, cunning, and tactical abilities prove him to be irreplaceable. He is quick to rise through the ranks, as devoted to the cause as Darth Vader.
But in the mix of all the fighting, Thrawn must grasp the concept of politics as administrator Arihnda Pryce could either be a powerful ally or a ruthless enemy.
When Thrawn becomes admiral, he must use every tool in his arsenal against an uprising that threatens innocents and the Empire.
1. Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy
At the top of our list of the best Star Wars books is The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn. The first book is Heir to the Empire, published in 1991. It has a 4.16 average on Goodreads with more than 88,000 ratings.
Five years after the destruction of the Death Star and the end of Darth Vadr and the Empire, everything seems to be at peace. Leia and Han are married, expecting twins, and Luke is to be the first in a new line of Jedi Knights.
But then Luke Skywalker is sent a warning from a voice of the past.
On the outskirts of the galaxy, the last of the Emperor’s warlords have taken control of the Imperial fleet, and he has begun to enact a plan to destroy the New Republic.
What is considered the best Star Wars book?
By a substantial margin in terms of the number of reviews and readers, Heir to the Empire is safely considered the best book according to Goodreads data. Not only is Heir to the Empire at the top of the list, but it is followed by the second and third books in the original Thrawn trilogy.
Adding further weight to the argument, the original 1991 trilogy by Timothy Zahn is followed on the list of the best Star Wars books by the 2017 revisitation of the infamous character.
Who is the best Star Wars author?
There is a tie between two authors for who features on our list of the best Star Wars books the most, and therefore who arguably deserves the accolade of best Star Wars author.
The first is Timothy Zahn. Even after modifying the list to only include the first book in his series, Zahn appears three times on our list of 13 books. However, all three of his books that are included concern the captivating character of Thrawn.
The other author who features on our list three times is Claudia Gray. While each of the Zahn books on our list are the first book in a series, each of the Gray titles is a standalone novel. Zahn, however, does feature higher up on our list.
Here is a wrap-up of our list of the 13 best Star Wars books!
Whether new or returning characters, each author brings a fresh perspective to the galaxy far, far away. If you’re an avid Star Wars fan and are looking for books that expand the Universe, these books are for you.
- Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy – 1991) by Timothy Zahn
- Thrawn (Star Wars: Thrawn Trilogy – 2017) by Timothy Zahn
- Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston
- Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
- Bloodline by Claudia Gray
- Aftermath (Aftermath Trilogy) by Chuck Wendig
- Path of Destruction (Star Wars: Darth Bane Trilogy) by Drew Karpyshyn
- Dark Disciple by Christie Golden
- Darth Plagueis by James Luceno
- Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray
- Specter of the Past (The Hand of Thrawn Duology) by Timothy Zahn
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (Star Wars: Novelizations) by Matthew Woodring Stover
- Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno