May The 4th Be With You

May the 4th Happenings at the Library

May the 4th Events       Free Comic Book Day

Dive into Star Wars Books and Lore!

I was at the grocery store with my mom, looking through the books rack for anything interesting, when I saw my first Star Wars novel. It was Ambush at Corellia by Roger MacBride Allen, which wasn't something I recalled from the movies. I read the back of the book...wait, Han Solo and Leia Organa have kids?! When did this happen? It was new Star Wars, something besides the three movies (plus two other movies focused on Ewoks). I had to get it and thankfully my mom agreed to add it to the cart...on the condition she got to read it too.

My mother is also a Star Wars fan, so over the years we read a ton of the novels. They…were not all good. But it was more Star Wars, and it…expanded the universe (Expanded Universe is often shortened to EU)! Each face in the movies had their own story, their own struggles. Life went on after the destruction of the Second Death Star. Palpatine survived…as a clone. Grand Admiral Thrawn appeared to oppose the heroes. Boba Fett…had a different backstory. There was a new rebellion, vestiges of the Empire floating around, and new foes attacking from beyond the Rim. Not everyone survived these battles. 

With the new movies and Disney’s purchase of the franchise a lot of the old stuff was declared “non-canon”. Which means that it is no longer considered part of the official Star Wars universe. Some ideas did carry over into the new canon, and some of the new canon has already been declared non-canon. Being a Star Wars fan can get confusing and there’s endless debates about it.  Whether a book "counts" as canon or not, the books will always have a special place in my heart as the medium that kept the stories going. Here's a few from the library that I highly recommend, but please check out the catalog to see everything SJPL has to offer:

Cover of Star Wars Bloodline by Claudia Gray

I, for one, liked the politics in The Phantom Menace. The entire movie starts because of a trade dispute (and Sith manipulation). Many of my favorite books show how people, individual action, and all the little choices we make in our lives shape events.

Bloodline explores politics in the New Republic and the coming rise of The First Order. It's set 25 years after The Return of the Jedi and six years before The Force Awakens. Leia is frustrated with the constant infighting and partisan politics in the New Republic Senate. Leia also has to deal with crime lords, mercenaries, and a young politician who idealizes the Empire she helped bring down. Plus, there's hints of a threat brewing in the outer reaches of the known galaxy...

Who here watched The Book of Boba Fett? You remember that Wookie, Black Krrsantan? He was introduced in Marvel's Darth Vader comic along with rogue archaeologist Doctor Aphra and homicidal droids 0-0-0 and BT-1. Doc Aphra encounters rebels and imperials, trying to make her way in the galaxy while chasing lost weapons artifacts. "Santy" has already appeared in a show, I'm holding out hope that more of Aphra's friends make an appearance.

Vader also features, and the writing for him is superb. The series starts right after the fall of the first Death Star. Vader tries to find out more about that rebel pilot. Along the way he recruits Aphra, survives Imperial power struggles, and hunts down any who stand in his way. Following the Marvel comics can be a challenge, there's quite a few different series published focusing on different characters. Plus there's the newer comics that are based in the time between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. But they are definitely worth reading!

Cover of book Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed

There was an older series about Rogue Squadron, the ace pilots of the Rebellion. It's no longer canon, sadly. But in one of my new favorite trilogies, the Alphabet Squadron explores themes like war, trauma, and moving on from your past. The story takes place a couple years before The Force Awakens and features the battle of Jakku (remember Rey salvaging from a crashed Star Destroyer?). The main characters fly the iconic: X, Y, A, B, and U Wings from the movies and there's some great LGBTQ+ representation.

In the aftermath of the Rebellion's victory, Yrica Quell is a former TIE pilot in a POW camp. She's selected to join a ragtag group known as Alphabet Squadron. They are tasked by New Republic general Hera Syndulla to track down and destroy Shadow Wing, an ace TIE fighter squad that has not surrendered. The books give the readers a look into how the Republic and Empire's finest pilots operate and are full of great descriptions of space battles.

Cover of book Star Wars Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

Another great trilogy features mostly new characters along with movie character Wedge Antilles (the guy that flew an X-Wing alongside Luke) and starts just after the destruction of the second Death Star. Its sequel even takes the reader to Chewbacca's homeworld!

Former rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world of Akiva to reunite with her estranged son and eager to build a new life. But Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’s urgent distress call and soon she, her son, and his pet battle droid Mr. Bones need to rescue him. They are quickly joined by a bounty hunter and an Imperial defector.  Meanwhile, the empire is trying to consolidate the remainder of its forces and kill the New Republic in its infancy.

Cover of book Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule

One of the newer series is the High Republic novels. These take place well before the movies in a time when the Jedi were more powerful and idealistic. 

When a shocking catastrophe in hyperspace tears a ship to pieces, the flurry of shrapnel emerging from the disaster threatens an entire system. No sooner does the call for help go out than the Jedi race to the scene. The scope of the emergence, however, is enough to push even Jedi to their limit. As the sky breaks open and destruction rains down upon the peaceful alliance they helped to build, the Jedi must trust in the Force to see them through a day in which a single mistake could cost billions of lives.

Even as the Jedi battle valiantly against calamity, something truly deadly grows beyond the boundary of the Republic. The hyperspace disaster is far more sinister than the Jedi could ever suspect. A threat hides in the darkness, far from the light of the age, and harbors a secret that could strike fear into even a Jedi’s heart.

Book Cover From A Certain Point of View by various authors

There were several collections of short stories when I was younger and thankfully they've kept the tradition going. If there's a face in the movies, they probably have a name and a backstory somewhere. The short stories added depth and richness to the setting. If you like reading short fiction give the From a Certain Point of View trilogy and Canto Bight (about space Las Vegas) a shot.

A collection of short stories by various authors featuring perspectives of the events around the time of Return of the Jedi. You'll read stories about droids, villains, people that might have had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment during the film. Some of the characters you'll read about include: Emperor Palpatine, the Rancor Keeper, Wicket the Ewok, and the Sarlacc (yes, really). 

There are more books out there than I can list here, and I encourage anyone curious about the novels to visit our catalog or their local branch to check them out. Please share some of the titles you love in the comments!