Female writers of the "Star Wars" Expanded Universe

The newest "Star Wars" movie is days away from release, and there’s an electricity in the air surrounding this excitement that I’m forced to refer to as the Force. With the new trilogy and Expanded Universe movies all abuzz, it’s become clear that women have taken a firm hold of the "Star Wars" Expanded Universe. Characters like Rey and Jyn Erso are proving to be even more popular than their male counterparts.

Recently, I happily discovered that there are many female writers contributing to the fiction of the Expanded Universe, and that they're creating totally kick-butt stories. There are Expanded Universe stories for all ages, which is perfect for fostering a long-term love of "Star Wars" in young readers. They’re complex, fascinating, and cover all of the backstory that would’ve turned each of the existing movies into 6-hour features — something I wouldn't be at all opposed to, for the record.

If you have any young readers in your life, I cannot more highly recommend Jude Watson’s "Jedi Apprentice" and "Jedi Quest" series. "Jedi Apprentice," which is set before the action of "Episode I: The Phantom Menace," tells the story of how Obi-Wan Kenobi became Qui-Gon Jinn’s apprentice. Honestly, this series made "Episode I" pretty forgivable for my young mind, as I was more excited to see the embodiment of these characters I had come to adore. We can all just pretend Jar Jar Binks just didn’t exist.

Post-"Episode I," "Jedi Quest" reveals the development of Anakin Skywalker as he begins his Padawan training under Obi-Wan’s watchful eye. Because it is told from the perspective of a young Anakin, this series would be great for an even younger reader than "Jedi Apprentice." I can almost guarantee that they’ll demand Padawan robes for their next Halloween costume after following this journey.

As we get older, one of the most fun areas to explore in the Expanded Universe is the dark side of the Force. Christie Golden’s "Dark Disciple" follows Asajj Ventress, former Sith apprentice turned bounty hunter and one of the great antiheroes in the "Star Wars" galaxy. This storyline was originally part of the "Clone Wars" TV series, but was scrapped and later adapted into this novel.

After the "Clone Wars," we see E.K. Johnston’s "Ahsoka" mysteriously reappear as a Rebel operative after leaving the Jedi Order.

Martha Wells delivers us "Razor’s Edge," a perfectly raucous Han and Leia marauder story set just before "Episode V."

In the midst of the Rebellion, we have Claudia Gray’s "Lost Stars," which spans many years and switches between the voices of two best friends as they grow up and train to become Imperial pilots.

Golden returns with New York Times best-seller "Battlefront II: Inferno Squad," picking up the story from the Empire’s side just after "Rogue One." This novel lends so much perspective to the “bad guys” that you’ll find yourself almost saddened by the Death Star’s destruction. Almost.

Finally, we have Delilah S. Dawson’s New York Times Bestseller "Phasma." If you were at all curious about Captain Phasma in "Episode VII," this is an absolutely necessary read before "Episode VIII" comes out. I’ll give nothing away and just say that it is truly one of the best books I’ve read this year.

There is much more to discover in the "Star Wars" Expanded Universe than what I’ve listed here. Go explore, and may the Force be with you.

— Logan Isaman is the community assessment coordinator at the Lawrence Public Library.


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