Star Wars Readers: Are You Ready for May the Fourth?

May the FourthApril showers bring May...the Fourth!

Hopefully the new trailer for The Last Jedi has reenergized essential conversations in your household about whether "Jedi" is singular or plural in the context of the film title, how the films are going to handle the death of Carrie Fisher, and who Rey's parents are. But if you need some alone-time for you and your Star Wars passion, here are a handful of new novels and graphic novels that will immerse you in our favorite galaxy far, far away.


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Thrawn by Timothy Zahn - One of the most popular and strategically brilliant characters from the now-"Legends" extended Star Wars universe, Thrawn was the only Imperial officer to really give Luke, Leia, Han, and the rest of the rebels a run for their money in the years after Return of the Jedi. Zahn's new novel sends readers back to when Thrawn first joined the Empire at the moment when barely-there rumors are starting to surface of the creation of a massive weapon. Bouncing between Thrawn, his aide, and a woman determined to rise through the political ranks to get vengeance, the story line stretches over years as the characters maneuver into more powerful positions. Unfortunately, the Thrawn POV chapters are the weakest as they try to show how Sherlock Holmesian the enigmatic Thrawn is. But, like Watson's, the aide's chapters provide the most insight and entertainment. A solid addition to the new official Star Wars novels.

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Star Wars: Rebel Rising by Beth Revis - This YA novels plumbs more deeply the events that shaped Jyn Erso into her role of reluctant rebel in the Rogue One film. The novelization of Rogue One that released late last year does a better job, I think, than the film did of expressing just how angry Jyn is at her father and at Saw Gerrera for abandoning her, and I’m looking forward to seeing how bestselling sci-fi author Beth Revis handles Jyn during those formative times. [May 2, 2017]

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Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills by Greg Rucka - In this graphic novel, Greg Rucka, storyteller extraordinaire, tackles the question of what happened on Jedha after the Kyber Temple was destroyed by the Empire and before Jyn and Cassian arrived at Jedha City. Rogue One favorites Baze and Chirrut need to figure out what their purpose is when their roles of Guardians of the Whills have been erased along with the temple. Should they align with the notorious Saw Gerrera? Work directly with the citizens of Jedha, who are slowly being crushed under the boot of the Empire? Or wait for another opportunity? [May 2, 2017]

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Star Wars: Han Solo by Marjorie Liu - Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, this graphic novel puts Han Solo and Chewbacca back in the cockpit as they dodge and weave through the Dragon Void, a space race in which species compete from all over the galaxy and finishing—or, for that matter, surviving—the race is unlikely. But Han has other things on his mind too, like his mission to pick up a few Rebels at the behest of Leia. Energetic and lithe, this between-film adventure is perfect for Solo fans. (And who isn’t one?) [January 2017]

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Empire's End: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig - The overall response from readers is that this trilogy finale is better than the first two books and provides some—though of course not all—answers to the New Republic’s activities between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Prepare yourself for an electrifying battle of Jakku…but no spoilers about the origins of Rey or Snoke. My sense is that if you like your Star Wars novels like you like your martini—classic, bold, no frills—this series might be a pass for you. Those who don’t mind Star Wars stories with a playful, did-you-see-what-I-did-there? tone will find this trilogy more satisfying. [February 2017]
Looking ahead deeper into the year, there are a handful (if you're Yoda) of new Star Wars titles I find intriguing. Claudia Gray returns with a YA novel about 16-year-old Leia, called Leia, Princess of Alderaan [September 1], that should have readers of Gray's 2015 Lost Stars hitting their preorder buttons right now. Filmgoers who wanted to know more about chrome-suited stormtrooper Captain Phasma from The Force Awakens will have their wishes fulfilled by Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson [September 1]. And on July 25, Christie Golden, author of the extremely popular novel Star Wars: Dark Disciple, returns with Battlefront II: Inferno Squad.


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