1. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Which Star Wars Book to Begin With?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Thomas Kitchen, Feb 8, 2014.

    Okay...

    So I've wanted to begin reading the Star Wars books for a while, because I both love science-fiction and long-running series (and I'm quite keen on the films as well, believe it or not!). The thing is, there are so many of them, I don't know where exactly to begin: different timelines, certain books veering away from the films, and books before and after the period of the films. Long question short: where do I begin? If anyone has even a little bit of knowledge, then I'll be able to make a more informed decision when it comes to choosing the first book to read. Also, if there are any mini-series or trilogies in this universe you'd suggest I or anyone else steer clear of, please let me know.

    While I'm at it, does anyone know of some long-running science-fiction and fantasy series I can sink my teeth into? I much prefer them to stand-alones, since I love being in different universes, and this way I get to be in them for longer. Here are a few I have read/am currently reading/ am about to read:

    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
    The Middle-Earth stories (LotR, The Hobbit, etc.)
    Pern
    A Song of Ice and Fire
    Discworld
    The Oz novels (only the ones by Frank. L Baum)
    The Expanse (by James S. A. Corey)
    The Ender series (by Orson Scott Card)
    The Kingkiller Chronicle (by Patrick Rothfuss)
    Many of the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 novels, so don't bother mentioning any of them


    That's everything I can think of right now. I tried to get into The Wheel of Time, but couldn't manage it. Maybe I'll try again in a few years.

    I love overarching themes, and things which are of seemingly no importance until later books (the most obvious example I can think of is J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series). If anyone has a series to suggest that has that, then please mention them. In fact, even if it's not sci-fi or fantasy, I'd probably check it out anyway, because I just love that sort of stuff!

    I also don't mind people suggesting film novelizations and spin-offs to films, but only if they're of good quality writing wise.

    Thanks, and sorry for the long post! :)
     
  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Honestly I would not read all the books. A lot of the novels that chronicle the universe after the fall of the empire have been rendered non-canonical after Attack of the Clones came out. Timothy Zahn's books in particular only had the stating point of one line from Obi Wan in A New Hope.
    "I fought in the clone wars with your father"
    All we know about the clone wars from that is that there was a war, and it involved clones.

    I would start out with the Adventures of Han Solo which were actually written before the Episode IV was finished.
    Then go with
    Then
    The First Jedi Academy are okay
    By that time you're up against a continuity wall. It's best to skip all the X-wing novels, the don't have much to do with the meta story arc.

    You have to read
    Because they introduce Mara Jade, but after that you can just skip around. I didn't read the New Jedi Order so I don't know which books are important.

    But at the bottom we have
    The Legacy of the Force series
    You should be warned, the quality of these books is all over the chart. Some are incredibly bad, and some are just a little bit awful. You know what they say about sex, that the worst you can have is still excellent. It's like that, only in reverse.
     
  3. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Splinter of the Minds Eye" by Alan Dean Foster was the first to come out. I remember being really excited when it did.
     
  4. Caeben
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    Caeben Member

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    I have to disagree with Jack Asher and suggest only the Thrawn trilogy by Zahn (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command). The rest is either complete garbage or just plain old rubbish, and there's the plus that Disney plans on invalidating most of the books of their canon-ness. The Thrawn trilogy will likely be included in this, but should be read regardless as it, IMO, represents the best written Star Wars material out there.

    As for other series recommendations, I can toss out a few. I've started getting into Iain Banks' Culture series, which I find to be pretty good. Don't start with Banks' Use of Weapons though...it has a difficult ending and I think it would have helped me if I started with a different book. You can always try the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. There's ten titles in the series. Some are good, some are misses, and if you like long-running themes, there is plenty around. If you just want some plain old fashion sci-fi, I'd also recommend David Weber's Honor Harrington series. There are thirteen books and a bunch of anthologies and short stories.
     
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  5. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    VETOED The Han Solo trilogy was writin as the first movie was being shot, based on Lucas' notes. It didn't have the movies to stand on, so the does a real good job. If you're only going to read one series (which you clearly are not), it should be that one.

    And Shadows of the Empire. (Which should really be consumed at the original comic books. You can find them still on TPB.)
     
  6. wade-newb
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    wade-newb Member

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    Darth Plagueis is great for its familiar setting and characters, as a lot of readers find the sudden departure from the film storylines off-putting and irrelevant. As a bridge between the prequels (if you, like me, enjoy the prequels) and the OT, Darth Plagueis does a great job.
     
  7. fmmarcy
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    fmmarcy Member

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    I'm going to have to back up Caeben and say start with the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command). These books are *huge* for the Expanded Universe, really being the foundation for what we know it as today (even if, as has been noted, they weren't the first EU books to be written). The stories themselves are fantastic, imitating the tone of the original trilogy down to the smallest detail, just some good old galactic adventure, while also introducing the best villain of the EU (and one of my favorite villains in literature period, I will sheepishly admit) Grand Admiral Thrawn.
    To grasp their importance (and simple enjoyability), I offer up the fact that in NPR's picks for 100 best science fiction and fantasy books, the Thrawn Trilogy is the only Star Wars literature to make the list, and if I remember right the only franchise spin-off literature to make it as well.
     
  8. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Hi all, thanks for your suggestions. I think I'll start off with both the Thrawn trilogy and the Han Solo trilogy, and see if I want to carry on with a few others after that.

    @wade-newb - maybe I'm just being ultra stupid, but isn't Darth Plagueis the one Palpatine talked about? I can't decide if I'm curious or confused, as you said the book is a bridge between the prequels and the original trilogy. :p Still, I suppose I'll check it out, as I've always wanted to learn more about the character. Cheers!

    Thanks, everyone! But don't feel that the thread is over, if you want to chuck in a suggestion or two. :)
     
  9. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    It was? I remember reading "Star Wars" not too long after the movie, but I can't be sure if Splinter was there first.
     
  10. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Nevermind. It's a non-issue. Not sure why I responded this way, only posted as a procrastination.
     
  11. wade-newb
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    wade-newb Member

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    It actually is, yes! But Darth Plagueis/Hego Damask plays a surprisingly large role in the formation of the republic -- but always in the background events, manipulating people to further the Grand Plan of the Sith. It covers events both in the OT and PT, and tells the story of Palpatine's career in politics from the time he was a youth in university, and his fall to the dark side.
     
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  12. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I'll definitely be picking that up, then! In fact, I think I'll go onto Amazon now. ;)
     
  13. eleutheria
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    eleutheria Member

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    Oh my goodness! How can anyone say NOT to read the X-Wing books?! They may not have much to do with the Force or Jedi (though they do a little bit, eventually), but they are superbly written and very entertaining. The original X-Wing series is good (with Rogue Squadron), but the Wraith Squadron books are also very, very good. :)
     
  14. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I've actually heard that the best was to experience a dog fight is to read about it. No, wait. That the second worst way to experience it.

    (The worst way would be through smell)
     
  15. vera2014
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    I really enjoyed reading "Choices of One," by Timothy Zahn. The events in this book are supposed to happen between the movie "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back" so if you like that era it might be a good read.
     
  16. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    I don't know about Star Wars novels, I loved the films but never read any of the books.
    If you are looking for some classic sci-fi I suggest Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War" series.

    By the way, it's nice to see there's a fellow Warhammer enthusiast out there.
     
  17. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    Pretty sure you've got some solid reading material with Discworld and ASOIAF. There's 40 Disc ones, and ASOIAF is very long.
     

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