The Best Star Wars Books Reading Order for Newbies

To help expand your galactic historical knowledge, here’s the best Star Wars books reading order for newbies. The list includes adult and young-adult novels, but to keep things manageable, we left out audio dramas and comics. Most books in the list are canon novels – parts of the official storyline – so it shouldn’t be too challenging to follow if you’ve watched the three trilogies (original, prequel, and sequel). One book is labeled “Legends” because a true fan knows more than what the films say.

1. Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray (Canon)

Timeline: 40 BBY (40 years before the Battle of Yavin in Episode IV: A New Hope)

The Phantom Menace is Episode I of all nine Star Wars films. Events in “Master & Apprentice” by Claudia Gray takes place eight years before the first episode, making it an excellent starting point. The book reminds readers again about how Obi-Wan Kenobi trains the way of the Jedi under the guidance of Master Qui-Gon Jinn. At times, the relationship between the master and the apprentice can be tumultuous. During the training, Obi-Wan Kenobi cannot help but wonder why his master tends to put aside practical concerns in favor of ancient prophecies. In the face of imminent danger, they must forget their differences and neutralize the threat together.

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Star Wars Book Reading Order: catalyst

2. Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno (Canon)

Timeline: 21 BBY

Even with nine films since 1977, there’s just not enough time to tell all the stories. Disney bought the franchise in 2012, and the company has since introduced a lot of new live action anthologies and series. Among them is Rogue One, which chronicles a series of events prior to A New Hope. That said, Rogue One also needs some explaining, and this is where Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel comes in. The background story mainly revolves around the creation of the first Death Star and the people involved in the project. 

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3. A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller (Canon)

Timeline: 11 BBY

The Star Wars period between the end of the prequel trilogy (Revenge of the Sith) and the beginning of the original (A New Hope) is a dark time. Disney fills the gap with at least two movies including Solo and Rogue One. Since the two films are not enough to cover everything, the novel “A New Dawn” can give a more thorough and interesting look at the period. The Emperor reigns supreme as the Resistance offers weak opposition to his power. It shows how the galaxy is under authoritarian government and how the regime affects everyone.

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4. Thrawn Series by Timothy Zahn (Canon)

Timeline: 16 BBY to 0 BBY

Legends-turn-canon “Thrawn” series is set in a timeline spanning also from Revenge of the Sith to A New Hope. It consists of three books:

  • Thrawn is about how an alien strategist (Thrawn) pitches his tactical skills to the Empire (16 BBY to 2 BBY).
  • Thrawn: Alliances chronicles his adventure with Darth Vader. There are flashbacks to Anakin Skywalker, too (19 BBY to 1 BBY).
  • Thrawn: Treason is set at 0 BBY, during the construction of the first Death Star.

Considering the timeline, some events in the series should run parallel to Solo and Rogue One

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Star Wars Book Reading Order: lost stars

5. Lost Stars by Claudia Gray (Canon)

Timeline: 11 BBY to 5 ABY

The fall of the Old Republic makes way for the Galactic Empire to rule the known galaxy. Many worlds along the edge of the Outer Rim have been defeated. There is barely anyone who openly challenges the supremacy of Emperor Palpatine except for a few brave leaders. Among them is Bail Organa of Alderaan. Lost Stars tells the story of two childhood friends, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree. As they grow up, a twist of fate sends them on separate paths. Ciena stays with the Galactic Empire, while Thane defects to Rebel Alliance. Despite the differences, a romance blossoms between them. 

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Star Wars Book Reading Order: leia

6. Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray (Canon)

Timeline: 3 BBY

Released in September 2017 as part of Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Claudia Gray’s Leia, Princess of Alderaan gives a background story about Leia Organa, especially during her teenage years, prior to A New Hope. She witnesses the devastation on Calderos Station from an Imperial attack and realizes the Empire covers up the incident. Leia also learns that her parents, Viceroy Bail Organa and Queen Breha, are parts of an organized underground movement to rebel against the Empire.

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Star Wars Book Reading Order: aftermath

7. Aftermath by Chuck Wendig (Canon)

Timeline: 4 ABY to 5 ABY

The Galactic Empire is finally defeated in Return on the Jedi. Most of the imperial droids and high-ranking officials are no longer a threat, but some manage to escape and survive the civil war. Much of the story is in the period after the end of the original trilogy yet occurs before the sequel. Political struggles between the Empire and the New Republic ensue in the aftermath of the war. Rae Sloane, a devoted naval officer for the Galactic Empire, begins to pick up the pieces in her effort to build a new power, which eventually becomes the First Order. Although the New Republic is now the highest authority in the galaxy, the remnant of the Empire remains a formidable opponent. 

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Star Wars Book Reading Order: bloodline

8. Bloodline by Claudia Gray (Canon)

Timeline: 28 ABY

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is the climax of the Galactic Civil War. Where Aftermath establishes a formal victory of the New Republic against the remnants of the Empire, the story after the war focuses on what the characters decide to do to make things better. In Bloodline, Leia is ready to take on a new role as the New Republic’s First Senator. The book helps prepare you for the questions that may arise in the next episode, The Force Awakens.  

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9. The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster (Legends)

Timeline: 34 ABY

A novelization of the film of the same name, The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster gives a more comprehensive look at Rey, from her time as a scavenger on Planet Jakku to her role as a Jedi under the guidance of Luke Skywalker. The same treatment is given to Finn, specifically pertaining to his transformation from a stormtrooper into a valuable member of the Resistance. In fact, the book gives you an in-depth insider’s knowledge about everything that happens in both Episode VII and Episode VIII. It’s the best way to prepare for The Rise of Skywalker.

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10. The Last Jedi by Jason Fry (Canon)

Timeline: 34 ABY

In the sequel trilogy, The Last Jedi picks up almost immediately after The Force Awakens and before The Rise of Skywalker. In the novelization of the film by Jason Fry, readers take a deep dive into the underlying mechanisms of the First Order, the Resistance, and the Force in general. Dynamics between Luke Skywalker, Rey, and Kylo Ren are presented in a more elaborate manner too. 

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11. Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse (Canon)

Timeline: present Star Wars era

There are three books you should read in preparation for Episode IX including The Force Awakens (novelization), The Last Jedi (novelization), and Resistance Reborn. Think of the last entry as the official literary prequel. Following a narrow escape from Crait, the Resistance is nothing but a handful of wounded warriors. All they have left are well-known names like Finn, Rey, Poe, and Rose in addition to old-school heroes including Leia Organa and Chewbacca.

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Aren’t you glad you read this article? If you really want to become an ultimate Star Wars fan, then you need to read every title on this list in the correct order. Then you can watch the movies and shows with the authority and foreknowledge of an expert.

Have you already read the books? Let us know what you think of them, we’d love to hear from you.

Other things you may want to know:

Who are the most beloved Star Wars characters?

According to Siam Cheeda from here are the top ten characters.

10. Grogu
9. Chewbacca 
8. R2-D2
7. The Mandalorian
6. Han Solo
5. Ashoka Tano
4. Luke Skywalker
3. Yoda
2. Obi-Wan Kenobi
1. Darth Vader

What are different orders to watch the Star Wars saga?

According to (Maggie Tillman) you can watch in different ways. Check out the website for a lengthier explanation. 

Best Star Wars order with spoilers

Chronological movie order-spoiler free

Machete and Rinster orders-spoiler free

Best Star Wars order-spoiler free

Theatrical movie order-spoiler free

Complete Star Wars saga order-spoiler free