I guess I've just given up on novels featuring the Big Three, since the authors/editors seem incapable of just letting them go and let someone else save the galaxy for once. Which is why I liked the NJO so much, except that now pretty much every one of the new tier is dead or evil. I still intend to read the unrelated books like the newest Bane novel some day.
I'm the opposite, I have little interest in non-big three novels, though I have to say that if Legacy or KOTOR were to get novels I would look into them given I really enjoy the comics (for the most part).
I have suspect that I'll never see the Big three die...or Wedge. Seriously for a character that had what, 10 minutes screen time in 7 hours of film, he is surprisingly invincible.
Ah thanks, I totally forgot about I, Jedi, which is a shame since it also one of my favorites. Although I don't like them that much, I would still recommend reading the JAT at least once, they were some of the first SW novels I read, when I started ~10 years ago and I they didn't stop me from continuing. But they did manage to confuse me for a long time. Back then, I didn't have access to the internet and I tried for the longest time to find the novel in which Luke turned dark-side (which is mentioned in JAT). It was only much later, that I discovered that it happened in a comic book.
I wouldn't knock the Star Wars comic lines, they have produced some really great stuff over the years. Personally I think Dark Empire would be a better 7,8,9 than the Thrawn Trilogy.
If you are looking for a non-Big three medium the comics is the way to go as two of their biggest lines are set 4,000 BBY (KOTOR comics) and 140 ABY (Legacy) so the big three are not in them...except for in Legacy where you see a few Force ghosts. My interest waned in the EU due to the Dark Nest trilogy
and the seemingly unnecessary Mandalorianisation of the Legacy of the Force
series and the comics kept that fire burning. Now its the expense of the fate of the Jedi
series as they are all hardcover holding me back, but at least the plotlines I've read on the novels have got my interest again.
I'm in the minority here but I think the Zahn's first trilogy are vastly overrated. As said above the X-Wing novels are an easy way to get into the EU, it's how I did it so I might be a bit biased. It has minimal big three if you want to avoid that as well.
Two trilogies in the EU that I think are vastly underrated by many are the Black Fleet Crisis
and the Lando Calrissian Trilogy
. However, as entry novels they probably aren't that suitable. Lando's novels were written pre-modern EU and make use of a character that the EU has, in my opinion, not used enough of all that well. The BFC is quite "slow" compared to the EU norm and I read that quite a few people find it boring or laborious but I found it to be a rewarding series.
Some of the Clone War novels are also quite good. Shatterpoint
is my standout for that timeline. It's a novel that focuses on Mace Windu.
Also don't discount the novelisations of the movies. They can be great for expanding your views on the characters. As weird as it might sound but after reading the novelisation of Ep III I came to like the movie more as I felt I understood why this happened or the motivations of the characters. The Force Unleashed
is also meant to be a good novel.