Your basic Dwarf+Giant Overview is a comprehensive survey of an author or series. It is not an in-depth analysis, nor is it a summary. Think of it as a buying or reading guide, telling you what’s out there, what’s essential, what to avoid and so forth.
Editor’s intro: This is the eighth post in our Star Wars novels Overview. For brief introductory notes, please see Star Wars Overview: The Old Republic.
*** Indicates the Best.
** Indicates Good.
* Indicates not the best, but still Star Wars, so not bad either.
After a session with Bor Gullet, a little real talk is in order:
I recommend skipping from Isard’s Revenge to I, Jedi, and from that one to Starfighters of Adumar, then skipping again to the Black Fleet Crisis. After that, the next 5 books are good. (Note that in some listings, Isard’s Revenge is after Thrawn.) So, if you are not a completist, the ones you can skip:
Jedi Academy Trilogy
Children of the Jedi
Planet of Twilight
The Crystal Star
The Black Fleet Crisis – Before the Storm **
Admittedly, in the grand scheme of things, this book is just okay. But after the last 6 or so books, I can’t tell you what a relief this book was to read. I think we are finally heading out of the “Dark Ages.” There is still some treatment of the Force as a panacea to do whatever “magic” things the author wants. But, for once, no ancient weapons, or diseases, or anything else. There is an actual plot, and I was really wondering what was going to happen. We’ll see if the author can keep this up for two more books.
The Black Fleet Crisis – Shield of Lies **
This book is even a little better than the first! Again, overall, not bad, something to read if you want a fun ride, but adds nothing to the overall mythology.
This book continues the promise of the first book and kept me turning the pages. The intrigue is intriguing, the action is action packed, and the bad guys are truly worthy opponents. It also creates an interesting matchup of completely separate cultures that see each other as barbaric, similar to Japan and the West in WWII. This is a fun trilogy. It’s no Thrawn Trilogy; but it’s like a fun younger brother.
The Black Fleet Crisis – Tyrant’s Test **
Again, in the grand scheme of things, this book is a fun diversion, but I’m so glad it didn’t backslide into the drivel that marked the “Dark Ages.” There is an incredibly interesting twist I didn’t see coming, but provided a nice mirrored bookend to the beginning of the first book. And the twist I expected to come didn’t, and went in a different, but satisfying direction.
The New Rebellion **
Just a touch less interesting than the Black Fleet Crisis partly because it borrows several plot points from the other books, so while the main plot point feels new, overall the plot is too well worn. Really, you can skip this one if you want, but if you want to dig a little deeper into the Legends, this book is a pretty good read.
The Corellian Trilogy 1 – Ambush at Corellia ***
I have to say this is a promising start. I read through the book incredibly quickly, which is always a good sign, but am also holding back from too much enthusiasm because I’m starting to smell potential secret/ancient super weapon, but this book does a good job of having the main Star Wars cast split up into multiple adventures without it feeling like an “Adventures of Han, Luke, and Leia in Space”. At this point in the Legends timeline, we are far from canon, so reading it now is just for fun, and for that, this book delivers. I recommend this trilogy.
The Corellian Trilogy 2 – Assault at Selonia ***
This one also, I flew through. The plot is incredibly well done so far, intricate without being overly so, and the action, especially at the end, was not just exciting, but a chess match in and of itself. Close to the Thrawn trilogy for enjoyment, and far more complex, though again, not anywhere near canon. Some plot points from previous books are brought back up, but really, you can read this in isolation, so even if you skip the Dark Ages, this book loses nothing. I recommend this trilogy.
The Corellian Trilogy 3 – Showdown at Centerpoint ***
It’s official, I flew through all three of these books. One plot point bothered me, but not much, and definitely not enough to stop me from saying this is a great wrap up to the trilogy. It even adds yet another wrinkle to the plot, which is always appreciated.
To repeat, this whole trilogy is nowhere near canon, but it stands well on its own, so if you want to skip the Dark Ages and cut to this book, you won’t be losing anything from the experience. I recommend this trilogy. Enjoy!
The Hand of Thrawn Duology 1 – Spector of the Past **
Both less and more interesting than the Thrawn trilogy. Less because the entire story is based on a scam. It’s a literal long-con. But that’s also what makes it more interesting. There’s no super weapon; there’s no secret power from another dimension (how sad is it that I’m so grateful for that?). It’s a power hungry Moff trying one last gambit. This time, the intrigue and split is within the Empire, as factions battle for the future of its remnants. I would suggest reading this one. It’s good.
Addendum: After reading the second book, I still recommend it, but the duology is a lesser sibling to the Thrawn trilogy, so keep expectations in check.
The Hand of Thrawn Duology 2 – Vision of the Future **
A satisfying end to the first. Not a great ending, mind you; I think the first book sets up more potential than the series was able to deliver. Also, yet another Force “Sect” is discovered, but their use of the Force is more Harry Potter than Star Wars, which was an issue for me. If it weren’t for that and one other trope that has been so overused I actually groaned when they busted it out (which I won’t give away here for fear of spoilers), this would have been a great book. As such, it’s satisfying, and pretty fun, but in the end, this duology is a lesser sibling to the Thrawn trilogy.
A great noir-style tale. Involves none of the main heroes, instead a Jedi knight trained in Luke’s New Order is trying to track down the source of a new drug. There’s plenty of intrigue within a Hutt syndicate family, and the action and storyline are fast-paced and engaging. One of the best stand alone books after Return of the Jedi so far. If you liked the Coruscant Nights books, this one is for you.
If you didn’t, what’s wrong with you?
Fool’s Bargain *** (a novella)
Reminiscent of the Republic Commando books, this was a really fun read, and I flew through it. It’s also really intriguing to see the new “Empire of the Hand” and how it is run. I recommend reading this one before Survivor’s Quest – it provides excellent context for the Empire of the Hand in the latter.
Survivor’s Quest ***
This book sets the stage beautifully for the new dynamic going on in the Galaxy after the end of the Hand of Thrawn duology. There is some convenient “technology” that made me balk, but overall, I highly recommend the book. Lot’s of diplomatic maneuvering, and when the action gets started, it’s darn fun.
One thing – a new species is going to be introduced. Do NOT research them until after the book is over; all the descriptions of this species online ruin the ending of this book.
We are through the New Republic. The New Jedi Order era is upon us.