Where Did I Start? | Stacey
By: Stacey White
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, Stacey White takes us through her personal awakening that took her from the cinema seat to the pages of the EU.
I’m not proud of it, but I’ll admit it.
I didn't always love Star Wars. Heck, I didn't always like Star Wars.
*cue audible gasp and mounds of judgment.*
Furthermore, I thought that the Star Wars books were lame and that I, on my high horse, would never read something like that.
Now, before you go making voodoo dolls in my likeness; I have seen the error of my ways. Obviously.
Once I found my way into the magical black hole that is Star Wars, I never wanted to find my way out. I’m sure you felt the same when you took your first steps. But once I found myself firmly on the side of the light, I still couldn't muster any interest in reading the books. This became especially evident after Disney made the decision to rebrand the original Canon as Legends. I was overwhelmed, scared, and a little discouraged.
Now let's fast forward to a few weeks after The Force Awakens hit theaters. After my second screening of the movie, I was reeling for more material. I needed more Star Wars and I needed it ten minutes ago! What had my favorite trio been doing all this time since their killer party on Endor?
Suddenly, it was so clear. The next step on my path was revealed to me just like Rey’s meditation with Luke on Ach-To. I had been deprived of the home I made in Star Wars for a decade, and I wanted to spend as much time there as possible, and there was only one solution.
I needed to read the books!
Dipping My Toes
How could I have put it off for so long? That epiphany led to hours and hours over the following months (no exaggeration) researching more Star Wars books than I can count. (Imagine how much time I could have saved if I had Youtini to help me out!) There were so many, and I had no idea where I wanted to start; sound familiar?
The analyst in me, who demands organization and clearly laid plans, made a list of criteria that would help define my search:
What and who did I want to read about? What time frame interested me most? Should I make my decision based on the author? Does the planet the story takes place on matter?
Playing it safe, I decided to go with a standalone novel that was centered around the infamous three in the New Republic era. After all, Han, Luke, & Leia had brought me into the fold in the first place, who better to lead me on this new adventure?
Even though I love the history of the Old Republic, and admittedly, the darkness & mystery of the Sith has always appealed to me, I knew that working my way to these areas after starting with something a bit more familiar would be best for my reading experience.
Looking back, the hardest part of this whole journey was jumping into the depths in the first place, so if you’re nervous about where to begin just like I was, here are my recommendations:
Daughters of Dathomir
I have mentioned this book in past articles plenty of times, I am constantly pushing this one on team members, and I’m not sorry about it. I speak, of course, of...
The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton
Wolverton knocked it out of the park with this one and created a story that is fast paced, fun, and surprising. There is enough old and new in this book to both satisfy a new reader, and also inspire them to read other books as well.
The original three along with Prince Isolder of Hapes end up on the planet Dathomir where they encounter the powerful, matriarchal societies known as the Nightsisters (shout out to fans of the Clone Wars who remember these fierce warriors) and the Singing Mountain Clan. You may already be aware that Count Dooku’s vicious assassin Asajj Ventress was born on Dathomir to the Nightsister clan, while Darth Maul was the son of Mother Talzin - leader of the Nightsisters.
This page turning exhibition from Corellia to Dathomir leaves the reader wanting more. There is a ton of new material out that correlates to parts of this novel, particularly the darker parts like Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple.
While this novel is technically labeled as Legends, most of its events have yet to be contradicted by new Canon content, so if you’re not too sure about what separates the Legends and Canon timelines, this is an excellent way to dip your toe. New reader or not, this is a must read.
Christie Golden has written some of the best Star Wars books and Inferno Squad (Amazon) is easily one of her greatest.
Set literally right as the first Death Star was blown up, Inferno Squad somehow makes you feel sympathy for the Imperials and root for their missions to succeed. Iden Versio, our protagonist, is a model soldier, the leader of the titular Inferno Squad and an endearing character to follow. The rest of Inferno Squad is comprised of Elite members of the Imperial armed forces who work together to hunt down Jedha’s surviving Partisans; both of which may sound familiar if you’ve watched Rogue One in the last few months.
You may already know that this story ties in with the Battlefront II video game, and though I have yet to sit down and play it, Inferno Squad makes me want to play hooky and dominate the campaign.
This was a suspenseful and addictive read, and the audiobook for this title (narrated by Iden, herself, Janina Gavankar) ranks among the top in the Star Wars universe.
The Grand Admiral's Will
Saying that the suns rise and set over this next trilogy is pretty accurate.
When searching online for the best Star Wars books, Heir to the Empire along with the rest of the Thrawn Trilogy will always be a staple, and this list is no exception.
Set 9 years ABY (After the Battle of Yavin), this trilogy introduces multiple characters seen in other Legends books (and even some Canon books now). We meet the legendary Grand Admiral Thrawn, who -thank the maker- was made Canon recently in Filoni’s Rebels and a new book series, also written by Zahn. Even though most of the happenings in this trilogy have been completely wiped from the possibility of existing in Canon, like Leia having twins and the beginning of Luke’s entanglement with Mara Jade, these are still some of the most popular and cherished Star Wars books available.
It’s tough navigating the galaxy.
Before Youtini, I felt like I was right in the middle of the scene where Han is traversing the asteroid belt. The enormous amount of options being the asteroids and my confused brain being the Falcon, herself.
Luckily, you have us to help you through the asteroids so you don't end up like those pesky TIEs. Whatever and however you decide to read your first or even you tenth Star Wars book, there is no wrong way to do it and certainly not a wrong book to start that adventure.
About Stacey White
Stacey lives in North Carolina and works in an office by day. She is a ‘round-the-clock Star Wars fan and enjoys discussing fan theories, movie tie-ins, and all sorts of Star Wars jargon with anyone who will listen. When she's not thinking about a galaxy far, far away Stacey can be found spending time with her family, enjoying a margarita on the rocks, or pretending to be a chef.
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