It certainly never occurred to me to give any of the novels that are a part of the Star Wars extended universe (now called the "legends" universe, I believe) a shot. I was always intimidated by the idea of reading pure science fiction, worried that I'd be lost when it came to the terms and names and setting. But because my husband loves a lot of these novels and because my love for Star Wars really grew deeper last year, I decided to give this particular series a shot. And, to my surprise, I enjoyed it!
It took a little while for me to get a handle on the abrupt switches between character POVs. And it took even longer to really settle into the gigantic Star Wars universe with all the races and places and cultures that it encompasses, especially since the three novels in this series include so many. But there came a point where things finally clicked into place, and it was thrilling. I was happy to be reunited with my favorite characters from the films, particularly Han Solo and Leia Organa. It was really cool to get a chance to see what happened to everyone after Episode VI, to see how they're still the same in some ways and different in others. I personally feel like Anderson managed to keep the characters consistent with how they appear in the films, and that's definitely a good thing.
As for the story, the individual arcs - following Han, Leia, Luke and the Empire mostly - are all very different from one another, and set in various locales. While I was mostly invested in Han's chapters (shenanigans with the scoundrel, as always), I like how Anderson managed to weave everything all together into one big story with many different parts. It's no easy feat to put something so complex together, and to keep it detailed, but Anderson somehow manages to make it work. The first novel is primarily a set-up for what comes next; it was really the second and third novel where things got really compelling (and the third is my favorite). The blend of action, romance and humor was definitely something that worked for me, and I also got emotional. (I mean it! I actually cried while I read the third.)
I wouldn't necessarily give these novels a general recommendation, as I'm certain not everyone will enjoy them the way I did. But if you're curious about this alternate Star Wars universe (it's actually a completely different series of events from what we see in The Force Awakens) or if you want to spend more time with some beloved characters, then you certainly could give these stories a shot. I, personally, am glad I did! My impression of Star Wars novels has been transformed, and I look forward to reading more of them (especially the ones vetted by my husband).
Series: The Jedi Academy Trilogy #1-3
Publisher: Spectra | Publication Dates: January 1, 1994 / June 1, 1994 / September 1, 1994
Source: E-books borrowed from the library