To celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, throughout the entire month of December AiPT! will be covering all the latest news and updates, reviewing the latest comics, teaching you how to build your very own lightsaber on our YouTube channel, breaking down all the best theories on our podcast, showcasing the best cosplay, ranking the best Sith/Jedi and so much more.

Fairly recently Star Wars was purchased by Disney and became incorporated within their juggernaut of a system. Shortly after that the old universe of novels and comics (known as the Expanded Universe, or EU) was wiped away for a new canon, where this time everything will be equal and all the stories will matter. If you want to get yourself up to date on how we got to where we are today, I wrote a three part history on this very topic:

Star Wars: ‘Legends’ Vs. ‘Canon’ Part 1: Where Did The Break Begin?

Star Wars: ‘Legends’ Vs. ‘Canon’ Part 2: An Overview Of The Legends Universe

Star Wars: ‘Legends’ Vs. ‘Canon’ Part 3: Enter The Canon Universe

Since the break from the old EU, the novels of the Star Wars universe have been going strong and steady. For those interested in reading up what has been going on in the Galaxy Far Far Away, I present here a primer of the novels, presented in chronological order (but since many of the novels progress over a long period of time, the placements will be estimates based on when a good chunk of the action takes place). The movies are listed so that you can understand their placement. In addition to the novels I am going to provide a short take on the book and a link to the review if I had done one for AiPT!.


There are no novels currently that are set primarily before Ep. I

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

There are no novels currently that are set primarily between Eps I and II.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

The Clone Wars (movie)

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

The Clone Wars (TV series)

Dark Disciple – This is a novelization of eight episode scripts from cancelled episodes of The Clone Wars TV series, which were written but never fully fleshed out before the show was canceled. It “stars” Quinlan Vos (a major Legends character who was briefly in The Clone Wars series) and Asajj Ventress (a major character from both Legends and The Clone Wars). Considered a high point of the new canon novels at that point, the story is a romance novel set during the trials of war.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

Ahsoka – This is a YA novel that tells part of Ahsoka’s tale between her time on The Clone Wars and her appearance on Rebels. I enjoyed it but it was a bit of a shorter time span than I was expecting.

Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel (Read full review) – A prequel to Rogue One, this story tells the backstory of Krennic and Galen Erso, not so much paying attention to Jyn for the majority of the story. Overall, the story isn’t bad. If you were to sit down you could chug through it pretty quickly. But I just felt the story itself was kind of ‘meh’ and I could have done better spending my time reading something else. It also felt like half of a book with the Rogue One novelization taking the place of the other half. Perhaps I’ll like the sequel better.

Lords of the Sith – This is a “buddy comedy” (of sorts?) between Palpatine and Vader as they are stranded on the planet Ryloth, featuring Cham Syndulla, a returning character from The Clone Wars and Rebels.

Tarkin – This story provides background for Grand Moff Tarkin, seen in A New Hope, as well as appearances in The Clone Wars, Revenge of the Sith, and Rebels. This was actually really well constructed, giving us good reasons on why he’s such a dick in the original movie.

Rebel Rising (Read full review) – Presented as a YA novel, this novel definitely did not feel like one. This follows Jyn’s trail during the gap in the beginning of Rogue One until we see her again when Rogue One picks up after the prelude. Overall, the story was alright. A bit dull at times, but I think that is more a result of the format issue than any problems with the writing. How else do you fill in every second of Jyn’s life? She goes from Catalyst, where she is born, directly into Rebel Rising, which leads directly into Rogue One. Pretty much every second of her life is covered, which is rather remarkable figuring she was a completely new character in the Star Wars canon as of late last year. The writing itself was solid and I did find myself engaged by the end of the novel so I can give this a pretty competent rating.

Thrawn (Read full review) – A beloved Legends character gets brought into the new canon, how could it go wrong? Well, in this instance, it didn’t. This is by far the fastest I have read a Star Wars book in a very long time and I absolutely loved it. The story is fast paced and the characters generally are fantastic. I got into caring for almost everyone and the portrayal of characters that we already know and love (i.e. Tarkin) were spot on. The only thing that was a drawback for the story was Price’s storyline. It often felt like she was ancillary to the story, and no matter how hard Zahn tried to wedge her in there, she was a square peg in a round hole.

Leia: Princess of Alderaan – Another YA novel released by author Claudia Grey. This one follows the early life of Princess Leia. I haven’t read it yet since it just came out in September but it’s on my short list.

A New Dawn – The first new canon novel released is a backstory for some of the major characters (Kanan and Hera) from the Rebels TV Series. An entertaining story delving into the backgrounds of two of the main characters of the show.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Rebels (TV Series)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Movie Novelization (Read full review) – Typically movie novelizations, especially Star Wars movie novelizations are pretty “meh”. This one was something different though. This novelization is amazingly awesome. The storyline of the Death Star is carried through these two novels and while Catalyst felt rather rote at times, Rogue One has the benefit of being polished over by many writers before being transformed into a major blockbuster movie and THEN being converted into a novel. The story has had a lot of hands on it, and it shows. Not in how muddled it is, which it isn’t, but by how polished it feels. The novelization is able to convey all of the aspects of the story that the movie wasn’t, or couldn’t, portray and Freed does it remarkably well.

Episode IV: A New Hope

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

From a Certain Point of View – A compilation of 40 short stories by more than 40 authors that retell A New Hope from characters across the movie even extending into the other movies who wasn’t seen onscreen for Ep. IV. I have just started to read this and hope to have it completed within December but so far things are entertaining and I’ve heard good things about the story.

Battlefront II: Inferno Squad (Read full review) – This is another video game tie in novel, this time with the current *Battlefront II*. And I know that a LOT of people absolutely adore this book. I felt that the novel is extremely well written with characters I could usually get behind. I felt invested in the main characters’ lives, including the main Dreamers, and their nuanced psychologies had me believing in them as characters. However, there were several problems I had with the story. But in the end, the problems weren’t big enough to take away from my overall enjoyment of the story.

Heir to the Jedi – A slower, self-contained Luke Skywalker story set shortly after A New Hope as he is trying to get a handle on his Force abilities. Not everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoyed it. It’s more of a character study than anything else.

Battlefront: Twilight CompanyAlthough this is a video game tie-in novel, I found it incredibly interesting, following a Rebellion squad through various conflicts during the Original Trilogy. One of my favorites actually in the new canon.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

Lost Stars – A YA novel that is astoundingly long, yet it is one of the best canon novels to date regardless of publishing category. The novel focuses on a pair of “star-crossed lovers” as they traverse through the Original Trilogy.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Movie novelization – The movie novelization was written before the Legends / Canon split and carried over to the new canon, so it is only “canon” as far as it doesn’t contradict the rest of canon, meaning that only the parts seen onscreen are considered valid anymore.

Aftermath (Read full review) – The first post-Return of the Jedi novel released that introduced a whole host of new characters that proceed on through the trilogy. Generally panned from what I could tell due to the writing style and other issues with the story, I actually generally enjoyed it. The characters were intriguing and I could stand to see more of them.  The writing style didn’t bother me in the least — it added something different to the mix, something that I can get behind. It also sped up the feel of the novel and got the action scenes really moving.

Life Debt: Aftermath (Read full review) – The follow up to Aftermath, Life Debt is a fun, in-depth view of the Star Wars galaxy post-Return of the Jedi, and at 430 pages, also one of the longest Star Wars novels to date. But don’t fret about the length, it’s far from a trudge to get through. I much preferred the writing style in the first Aftermath book but I think this story was much tighter and flowed a hell of a lot better.

Empire’s End: Aftermath (Read full review) – The final book in the Aftermath trilogy and what a fantastic addition it was. Easily the best of the three and one of my favorite books of the new canon. Out of the 100+ books in the entire Star Wars pantheon, which includes all of the Legends Universe, I only recall tearing up a handful of times and it definitely happened here. I cared about these characters. I liked them for the most part. And I wanted various characters to “win” regardless of which side they were on. 

Phasma – Backstory on everyone’s favorite (maybe?) shiny stormtrooper leader. I haven’t had a chance to read this one yet, since it just came out in September but it’s on my to read soon list.

Bloodline – A Leia-centric story written by the same author ofLost Stars, Claudia Grey. It takes place six years before The Force Awakens and is partially about the formation of the Resistance. Not too bad. The first half felt useless to me and I wondered why the author went through so much pains to describe it until we get to the second half and everything starts making sense.

Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens – Volume 1 – This rather interesting entry is not really a novel but a collection of short stories based on the aliens seen in Maz Kanata’s castle during The Force Awakens. This book harkens back to the story collections in the Legends Universe like Tales of the Empire, Tales of the New Republic, and Tales of the Bounty Hunters. Fun little stories but often having no impact on anything. If you missed this one, you didn’t miss much.

Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Movie novelization – Pretty much a straight up retelling of the movie. Nothing overly special.

The Legends of Luke Skywalker – A novel that tells the tales of Luke Skywalker, where many of them may be legends and many of them may be true. I don’t know. I haven’t read it yet. I actually don’t even know where it should go in the timeline.

Canto Bight – A novel that has just been released about the denizens seen in The Last Jedi in the gambling hall called Canto Bight.

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Episode IX (Release Date: December 2019)