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What Bantam Books are most important to the ongoing EU Story
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 PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:14 am Reply with quote  
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  Crash Override
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Crash Override wrote:
Personal recommendations are Truce at Bakura, Shadows of Mindor (Del Rey novel), Courtship, Tatooine Ghost (Del Rey), Heir, Dark Force, Last Command, Dark Empire, Dark Empire 2, Empire's End, Crimson Empire, Crimson Empire 2, Specter of the Past, and Vision of the Future. Plus the X-Wing novels and I, Jedi for non-Big 3 stories. I am also partial toward Black Fleet.


Some rationale:

Truce at Bakura -- Starts Leia's post-film character arc, and is somewhat important from that perspective. It's drawn upon in the Corellian trilogy and the Force Heretic trilogy in the New Jedi Order series.

Shadows of Mindor -- Just a good book. Starts Luke's post-film character arc that culminates with Dark Empire, which in turn puts Luke on a character arc that sort of meanders through the rest of Bantam chronologically before starting in earnest in the Hand of Thrawn duology and culminating in the New Jedi Order.

X-Wing series -- Introduces Corran Horn, depicts the capture of Coruscant. The Bacta War introduces a setting used in the Enemy Lines duology in the New Jedi Order series. The Wraith novels introduce characters from Rebel Stand in that duology. Solo Command leads into Courtship.

The Courtship of Princess Leia -- Han and Leia's relationship is the focal point. Luke's character arc is kind of continued (even though it sort of bounces back in the Thrawn trilogy). Dathomir and Hapes are somewhat significant in the NJO.

Tatooine Ghost -- Leia's character arc continues from Truce at Bakura. Sort of sets up the Thrawn trilogy.

Thrawn trilogy -- The class of the Bantam EU. Introduces Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, the Solo twins.

Dark Empire trilogy -- Pretty significant. Luke and Leia's character arcs end here, and Luke's next arc's groundwork is laid. Pretty much the final defeat of the Empire as later Imperial villains aren't really "the Empire," but pretenders or wannabes (I think Hethrir is the only one, unless I'm mistaken?), aside from the more byzantine intrigue of Hand of Thrawn's Imperial villains. Introduces Kam Solusar.

Crimson Empire... trilogy? -- Haven't read Crimson Empire 3 yet, and Crimson Empire 1 isn't really all that relevant except to elucidate Palpatine's demise (and, behind the scenes I suppose the fact that Lumiya engineered it is significant for LOTF). Crimson Empire 1 is just a good story though. Crimson Empire 2 starts laying groundwork for the NJO with Nom Anor.

Jedi Academy trilogy -- I didn't list this, but it introduces Kyp Durron, Streen, Tionne, and Kirana Ti (actually, Kirana Ti first appears in Courtship). Exar Kun is actually a pretty keen villain IMO, but Daala and the Sun Crusher suck. I guess it's worthwhile to read if you can get past KJA's simplistic prose. From a character development standpoint it's null. Also Jacen is badass, so I guess that's cool. And Stover mentions it in Traitor.

I, Jedi -- The only SW novel written in first person unless there's a more recent one that's slipped my mind. The Jedi Academy trilogy from Corran Horn's perspective. Introduces Cortosis.

Starfighters of Adumar -- Part of X-Wing and not really significant but if you're invested in the characters from X-Wing it's worthwhile mostly because it ends Wedge's relationship with Qwi Xux and puts him back with Iella.

Black Fleet trilogy -- I'm partial to this, because I enjoy Lando and Lobot's wacky hijinks and it focuses on Luke's burden of power. I didn't really like how Leia was characterized because the villain plays her like a fiddle and it kind of makes her look like an idiot while Drayson in Alpha Blue knows what's up. It's kind of like "civilian leadership sucks while military intelligence knows what's what." Anyway, Alpha Blue is kind of significance in the latter portion of the NJO. The Fallanassi reappear after the NJO, but I don't think their usage requires any prior knowledge that you'd gleam here.

Corellian trilogy -- I didn't list it but it does introduce Thrackan Sal-Solo and Centerpoint Station, both of which are significant in the Agents of Chaos duology in the NJO, as well as in Legacy of the Force. It also introduces Belindi Kalenda, whom is also in the Agents of Chaos duology. But the novels have the problem of meandering without advancing the plot all that much (but then, so does Vector Prime).

Hand of Thrawn duology -- Officially ends the Galactic Civil War, Luke and Mara get married. Lays the groundwork for the NJO series. Luke's next arc begins in earnest.

There's actually quite an abundance of good Bantam stories but I've focused mostly on the Big 3 centric ones. But I mean there's a lot of good Boba Fett comics and novellas as well. "The Last One Standing" is one of the best SW stories IMO. I miss the days when I felt cool for knowing that Boba Fett's real name was Jaster Mereel.


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 PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:40 am Reply with quote  
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  LaneWinree
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mserabian wrote:
Thanks for the input guys!

Is it really okay to skip Anderson's Jedi Academy Trilogy? It seems like its pretty important and introduces a lot of new Jedi...


I'd say you can skip it so long as you make sure to read I, Jedi. That book is regarded as being a Fix Fic for JAT.
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 PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:48 am Reply with quote  
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  JediMara77
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I'd add Tatooine Ghost to Lane's list. It's important to see how Leia accepted her heritage and decided to have children. (And, of course, makes you really really mad that Del Rey decided to confirm her concerns and make one of her sons go to the dark side.)

I haven't read LotF myself, but judging from the overall plot, I'd say that one might want to read the Corellian trilogy prior to LotF.
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 PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:36 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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First post. Let me start off by saying that I read the novels when they came out up till about the first half of NJO when I became a little too "grown up" for Star Wars.

Not too much later I realized that was stupid and Star Wars will always be awesome. When they came out with LOTF I re-read the NJO books I had started and the rest of the books after that. My POV might be atypical in that I haven't read any of the pre-NJO books since they were published and I haven't read any of the other post-ROTJ that were later released out of chronology like Survivor's Quest and such.

It's really weird to view the value of the old books in how they relate to the new books because it leaves out some of the really good stories that were never mentioned again and mentions some that probably aren't worth it, IMO.

My List:

Heir To The Empire Trilogy. The only question here is whether to read the preceding books, and while some are good, they were written afterwards and this series still made sense on it's own as the follow up to ROTJ, so you don't really need them.

Courtship of Princess Leia doesn't really do anything except establish Han and Leia's relationship which is unnecessary and introduces the Hapans which are later explained again when they are relevant, so skip it.

I skipped the whole X-wing series because I think that space ship battles are boring. Yes, it does actually show the ending of the galactic civil war and how the New Republic was formed, but it's just a series of lame villains trying to step up as the new Emperor and Thrawn is better and summarizes the whole thing anyway.

I really liked Jedi Academy Trilogy and I think it's a shame that it is now pretty much pointless. As others have said, you can skip it for I, Jedi.

Children Of the Jedi details some of the history of the Old Republic before we had the prequels and Clone Wars and it's now too rather pointless, but it has a few things that make it essential to the later series.

Darksaber and Planet of Twilight can be skipped. It does have stuff about Daala, but if you skipped Jedi Academy, it doesn't matter.

Crystal Star is good. It's stand-alone and deals with the solo kids and another plan to resurrect the Empire. It isn't essential but if you skip everything then you will have no character development of anyone outside of the original trilogy.

Black Fleet trilogy can be skipped.

The New Rebellion isn't the best book, but it has pretty much all of the elements of the post-ROTJ EU, and it's a stand alone.

The Corellian Trilogy doesn't have anything that isn't later explained.

The Hand Of Thrawn Douology isn't necessary, but it's better than the former series. Neither one is really necessary, as sadly most of the Bantam books now seem to be pointless.

NJO. No comment.

Dark Nest Trilogy. I didn't like it and it's explained in the following series.

Legacy Of the Force. The essential one's I'd say:

Book One Betrayal. Book Two Bloodlines. Book Five Sacrifice. Book Eight Revelation. Book Nine Invincible.

I don't know if the story will make sense if you leave out those books, but nothing really happens in them that isn't resolved in the next book and they focus mostly on the Corellians and the Hapans, which are ultimately pretty pointless.

Skip Crosscurent Douology.

Millenium Falcon is interesting, but doesn't effect the overall storyline.

FOTJ: ?


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 PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:20 pm Reply with quote  
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  Jade
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I tend to want to read books with at least one of the main characters from the original trilogy, but I keep hearing strong recommendations for the X-Wing series. Can someone explain why they are so great and why I should read them? Do they have a lot of action? A lot of romance? Great plots? Are they necessary for understanding the stories further down the EU line? This is not a challenge. I really do want to know if I'm missing something by skipping them entirely.


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 PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:44 pm Reply with quote  
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  LaneWinree
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Jade wrote:
I tend to want to read books with at least one of the main characters from the original trilogy, but I keep hearing strong recommendations for the X-Wing series. Can someone explain why they are so great and why I should read them? Do they have a lot of action? A lot of romance? Great plots? Are they necessary for understanding the stories further down the EU line? This is not a challenge. I really do want to know if I'm missing something by skipping them entirely.


Yes to all of the above, actually.

There is a fair amount of action, though it's generally overstated just how much there is. The popular notion is that the X-Wing novels are just space battle after space battle. In reality, the X-Wing title is something of a misnomer. There are dogfights, but the novels themselves strike a very solid balance between being character driven than action driven. I've convinced a number of people to give them a shot and the general consensus seems to that it's not the testosterone-driven military novels they thought it would be. Rather, they've very well-balanced books.

There is a surprising amount of romance as well, much of it very well handled and a few that have become some of my favorite romantic subplots in the entire EU (Book nine being a highlight in this regard)

As for the plot, you're doing yourself a tremendous disservice if you skip over these books. It does a ton of post RotJ universe building by detailing how Coruscant fell into the New Republic's hands. Several extremely important characters are fleshed out or introduced, namely Wedge Antilles, Tycho Celchu, and Corran Horn. Also, there's a ton of interesting backstory on Corellian Jedi that appear in these books. Overall, they're generally fun and engaging plots that really add to the universe.

And understanding stories further down the line, very much so. Again, important characters get introduced or are fleshed out into the prominent roles you'll see later in the EU. Important locations, ideas, and people appear for the first time. These are very much books that bridge the end of the films to the current state of the Expanded Universe.

Now, your point about wanting to read books with at least one of the Big Three. Books 5-7 in the X-Wing series (particularly book 7) feature a fair amount of Han Solo.
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 PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:55 pm Reply with quote  
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  Cerrinea
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As you can probably tell, Lane is a big Xwing fan. I think his avatar gives it away. Wink

I, on the other, only managed to get through one Xwing novel and wasn't that impressed. In all honesty, I've never felt the lack of reading them hindered any enjoyment in the rest of my EU reading.

But I do know a lot of people who absolutely love the Xwing books.
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 PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:57 pm Reply with quote  
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  LaneWinree
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If it was the first X-Wing novel, that one is tough to get through. It gets exponentially better after that, however. I think a few people here can vouch for me on that one .

Of course, if you started in the middle of the series, that would also be tough to get through because you're missing a lot of needed information.
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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:55 am Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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I agree. I bought Rogue Squadron as one of my first EU novels. I had Rogue Squadron the game, and I thought it would be an excellent book to dive into. Sadly, it was an average read, and I ignored the rest of the series for years to come.

However...! When I finally did get around to reading the rest, I must vouch with the others that the X-Wing series as a whole is an incredible read. Personal opinion: Don't skip them. Smile
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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:23 am Reply with quote  
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  Jade
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LaneWinree wrote:
mserabian wrote:
Thanks for the input guys!

Is it really okay to skip Anderson's Jedi Academy Trilogy? It seems like its pretty important and introduces a lot of new Jedi...


I'd say you can skip it so long as you make sure to read I, Jedi. That book is regarded as being a Fix Fic for JAT.


So if we've read the JAT, we don't need to read I, Jedi? I've read lots of positive reviews about I, Jedi, but I'm hesitant about that book; because (A) I'm still focusing on the original trio cast of character,s (B) I'm not so sure about the first person style, and (C) I read a review panning it because it made Corran Horn out to be a super Jedi more awesome than Luke. No, can't possibly risk shattering that illusion. :p


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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:26 am Reply with quote  
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  Jade
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Mara Jade Skywalker wrote:
I agree. I bought Rogue Squadron as one of my first EU novels. I had Rogue Squadron the game, and I thought it would be an excellent book to dive into. Sadly, it was an average read, and I ignored the rest of the series for years to come.

However...! When I finally did get around to reading the rest, I must vouch with the others that the X-Wing series as a whole is an incredible read. Personal opinion: Don't skip them. Smile


So you guys have got me. I think I will eventually get around to it. Do I most positively need to read these before NJO or can it come later? So far, I don't feel like I'm missing out much. Maybe I just don't know what I'm missing.


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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:14 am Reply with quote  
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  Caedus_16
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Jade wrote:
LaneWinree wrote:
mserabian wrote:
Thanks for the input guys!

Is it really okay to skip Anderson's Jedi Academy Trilogy? It seems like its pretty important and introduces a lot of new Jedi...


I'd say you can skip it so long as you make sure to read I, Jedi. That book is regarded as being a Fix Fic for JAT.


So if we've read the JAT, we don't need to read I, Jedi? I've read lots of positive reviews about I, Jedi, but I'm hesitant about that book; because (A) I'm still focusing on the original trio cast of character,s (B) I'm not so sure about the first person style, and (C) I read a review panning it because it made Corran Horn out to be a super Jedi more awesom than Luke. No, can't possibly risk shattering that illusion. :p


It didn't make Corran super-Jedi, but far from it. He has a weakness in the Force and has never gotten to be able to use telekinesis all that well if at all. I, Jedi actually makes JAT better. Its not really Fix Fic, but just a good story that was kind of in the background. I loved it and from what I can gather most people love it.
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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:01 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Reading 'it made Corran Horn out to be a super Jedi more awesom than Luke' made me choke on my drink! I don't understand how the person who wrote that review got that idea Confused . The only thing I can think of that would suggest that is when Corran calls Luke out on his teaching approach. For most of the book, Corran was a pretty average Jedi. Though, to be fair, an average Jedi is still pretty good, but not powerful enough to own Luke. He was a beginner; he had skills, yes, but you can tell he's a beginner (Luke even has to save his hide at one point). I think you're safe Smile . Oh, and regarding your first question: I, Jedi does revolve around the plot of the JAT, but only for the first half or so. After that, it continues on with its own story - so I wouldn't say that, if you've read JAT, you don't need to read this. It compliments JAT, but it's still very much its own story.
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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:28 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Pros of X-wing: It fleshes out characters, pretty much shows the whole Galactic Civil War and best of all it's a whole series that doesn't require you to read anything else.

Cons: You may not care about those characters. Wedge is the only one I care about and we get enough of him from the movies and other books. It's not all space battles, but that is a big part and if you don't like that it might be boring. It doesn't have a huge impact on the rest of the EU, in terms of storyline that isn't explained elsewhere when necessary.

I can't recommend starting out with NJO. You've skipped 20 years of EU history, and even though it's summarized you won't know who any of the characters are outside of the big 4. Even if you only care about then, you kind of have to care about at least some of the other characters since a lot of the story revolves around them.

Although the actual plot of NJO doesn't require any knowledge of past events because it's a new thing, I think you're missing out if you don't read at least some of the previous stuff.

It also has a lot of space battles, and IMO the individual books are hit and miss.

I'd say to only read the hardcover books, plus Darktide 1 and 2, Traitor, and maybe Dark Journey.

For the Fate of the Jedi series the essentials:
1. Outcast
2. Omen
3. Abyss
5. Allies
7. Conviction
8. Ascension (unless you care about Vestara, actually this might be skippable. IDK, haven't read the last one yet)
9. Armageddon (presumably)

(for a boring series where nothing really happens apparently you need to follow it pretty closely to know what is going on. I guess that's an improvement over LOTF.)


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 PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:17 am Reply with quote  
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  Cerrinea
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Quote:
Reading 'it made Corran Horn out to be a super Jedi more awesom than Luke' made me choke on my drink! I don't understand how the person who wrote that review got that idea


Maybe because Stackpole massively Gary Stued Coran in the first half of the book. Wink

But then Stackpole redeems himself in the second half. Anyway, I, Jedi is still one of my favorite Bantam era novels.
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