Where Did I Start? | Ethan
By: Ethan Hunter
Youtini's Where Did I Start series will highlight the personal stories of a number of Youtini team members all focused on the all important question: Where Do I Start Reading Star Wars Books?
Along the way, we'll discover what books got us started as well as which ones have kept us going. If you're having trouble jumping into Star Wars books, we hope these stories will help light the way!
This week, Ethan Hunter shows us how a galaxy far, far away transformed the way he saw reading forever.
The Books that Helped Me Read
Star Wars has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My first memories of the galaxy far, far away was watching A New Hope on TBS’s “Dinner and a Movie,” and I had nightmares of Darth Vader and stormtroopers for weeks! After I watched Empire, I would play the Battle of Hoth over and over again on the swing set in my backyard with my older brother and neighbors.
And after Jedi...well, you get the picture.
But what did we do in between being able to watch Star Wars movies?!
We didn’t have DVDs or VHSes; there wasn’t Youtube, Netflix, or any Disney streaming service to simply watch content on demand, so my mom took us to the library. I browsed the kids section and eventually found it, the holy grail of book sections: the Star Wars book section! My local library had an entire shelf devoted to Star Wars. It was filled with different series and books all based on the thing I loved.
Needless to say, I was amazed.
But where could I begin? I actually couldn’t read very well until I was about 13 years old, but that didn’t stop me. I initially blew right over the more advanced novels, and, I found some Star Wars books that I could enjoy just as much: the Star Wars Essential Guide series by Bill Smith, Doug Chiang, and Troy Vigil. The ones I liked best were about Vehicles and Vessels, Planets and Moons, Characters, and Alien Species (basically all of them!).
I liked them because as a non-reader, they had tons of pictures, facts and interesting bits of the expanded universe to dig into. I couldn’t get enough of the Star Charts and facts about characters and aliens and the planets-an obsession that obviously follows me to this day!
For a closer look at these guides or to order them for yourself, click on any of the pictures below!
The Admiral & The Commander
Once I was a bit older, it was actually Star Wars books that helped turn me into a better reader. I read all of the young reader books written by Jude Watson such as The Last Jedi series which bridged the gap between Episode III and IV, and when I was older, I read the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn which became my episodes VII, VIII and IX way before I knew that Disney was going to make them (albeit with quite a bit less Thrawn...so far).
A lot of fans look to those Zahn books (Amazon) as the holy grail of Star Wars books, but they were just the beginning of a journey that was slowly turning me into not only an even bigger Star Wars fan, but a fan of reading as a whole!
After Disney took over, Star Wars books changed, and it took a bit for me to jump back into the world that I had loved so much as a younger reader.
Luckily, I found Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden.
Those of you who recognize the name “Inferno Squad” will automatically know that it’s about Iden Versio, an Imperial who is part of a secret imperial super squad and the lead of the campaign in the video game, Star Wars: Battlefront II. The book’s time period is also cool because it helps bridge the gap between Episodes IV and V which is one of my favorite timeilnes in all of Star Wars.
This book is fantastic on a number of levels, and I love the behind the scenes view that you get of the Imperials as well as just the characters in general. Inferno Squad (Amazon) is additionally awesome because you don’t need much backstory to know what is going on, and as I discovered, any reader can pick it up and jump in to enjoy the story.
After remembering how I started this quest, it's time for me to look forward to the next adventure. I think that the next series that I am going to read is maybe the old X-Wing series because that’s what my big brother was reading when I was still flipping through Essential Guides, and his recommendation continues all these years later.
Or maybe I'll try a new series like Join the Resistance! Yes, those are technically “Young Adult” but here at Youtini, we know that sticker isn't anything to shy away from!
Just ask our staff writer, Stacey, who recently told us all about her favorite young adult novels in the galaxy!
To me, Star Wars books have always been some of the easiest to simply pick up and read. After all, I already know the universe, the characters, the vehicles, and the lore! But I also love meeting new characters that are only in the books, and I feel an awesome twinge of excitement when book characters expand outward to become part of the visual universe like Thrawn via Rebels.
If you want to share this sense of wonder with me...don’t be scared about where you should start. Take a character, a time period, or even look at the cover art and simply start there. I have found books that I love, and books that are not as great to me, but they are all about the galaxy that I love.
Star Wars is part of me, still, and it always will be.
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