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Star Wars: The High Republic: Light Of The Jedi Book Review

“Star Wars: The High Republic: Light Of The Jedi” is an ambitious start to a new book series.

Penned by Charles Soule (who has previously written Star Wars comic books), “Star Wars: The High Republic: Light Of The Jedi” is the official first book in the new multi-media High Republic era of the Star Wars universe. Taking place years before “Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace,” the story begins at a time when the Republic is prospering and expanding under the protection of the Jedi. A multi-purpose Starlight Beacon space station/waystation is set to launch in the Outer Rim which will become a symbol of hope for the galaxy. Alas, it wouldn’t be much of a book if there was only peace and no conflict. At the beginning of the book, a hyperspace disaster occurs which threatens the entire Hetzal system. The Jedi are dispatched to help, but can they stop everything? Why did this happen? How did this happen? Who is behind it? Will more hyperspace incidents occur? That’s the core mystery of the book. But wait, there’s more. Problems worsen when a group of money and power hungry marauders/raiders known as the Nihil make their presence known with ransom and theft plots. They aren’t a standard criminal organization, however, as they have the extremely valuable Paths (no spoilers as to what that is).

Author Charles Soule had the deeply challenging task of ushering in a new era while also creating and introducing new characters and world building at the same time. And he pulled it off. Although there are a few familiar faces and elements here, a large majority of the book is comprised of new material. Considering the book only runs 377 pages, it’s rather astonishing at how much Soule crammed into this novel. Not only do we get to know new characters like Chancellor Lina Soh, the villainous Marchion Ro, and Jedi such as Avar Kriss, Bell Zettifar, Loden Greatstorm, Burryaga (a wookiee), among others, but a chunk of the galaxy had to be set-up in this story so that we get a sense of where the Republic is in this time period. We learn about the Republic Defense Coalition, the ambitious Starlight Beacon product, the economy, emerging technology, the Nihil and its hierarchy, the ships being used at this time, a further exploration of Hyperspace, etc. There are so many moving pieces here, but they all connect so well together.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect is the overall conflict itself. We know there are no Sith at this time so what would be the main threat to both the Jedi and the Republic? Again, I won’t get into any major spoilers, but I think the situation was handled well in that we see how the Republic expansion isn’t sitting well with everyone in the galaxy and that some are choosing to disrupt the peace. 

In terms of the characters, there’s a great deal of potential with all involved here but there are 3 standouts for me. Avar Kriss will undoubtedly be one of the most talked about Jedi here as she is primed to be a major and powerful character. It would not surprise me to see Marchion Ro becoming a fan favorite villain in the future. He’s duplicitous, ambitious, and conniving. Loden Greatstorm’s arc here is among the most involving and it will be fascinating to see what happens with that character in the future. 

Overall Thoughts: The High Republic is off to a satisfying start. This is exactly what the Star Wars book world needed. I’m already looking forward to reading the next releases.

January 15, 2021 - Posted by | Book review | , , ,

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