Long before the First Order, before the Empire, before even The Phantom Menace . . . Jedi lit the way for the galaxy in The High Republic
It is a golden age. Intrepid hyperspace scouts expand the reach of the Republic to the furthest stars, worlds flourish under the benevolent leadership of the Senate, and peace reigns, enforced by the wisdom and strength of the renowned order of Force users known as the Jedi. With the Jedi at the height of their power, the free citizens of the galaxy are confident in their ability to weather any storm But the even brightest light can cast a shadow, and some storms defy any preparation.
When a shocking catastrophe in hyperspace tears a ship to pieces, the flurry of shrapnel emerging from the disaster threatens an entire system. No sooner does the call for help go out than the Jedi race to the scene. The scope of the emergence, however, is enough to push even Jedi to their limit. As the sky breaks open and destruction rains down upon the peaceful alliance they helped to build, the Jedi must trust in the Force to see them through a day in which a single mistake could cost billions of lives.
Even as the Jedi battle valiantly against calamity, something truly deadly grows beyond the boundary of the Republic. The hyperspace disaster is far more sinister than the Jedi could ever suspect. A threat hides in the darkness, far from the light of the age, and harbors a secret that could strike fear into even a Jedi’s heart.
Author: Charles Soule
Release Date: Jan 05, 2021
Page Count: 400 Pages
The High Republic initiative, long promised to deliver Star Wars publishing to new heights in terms of scale and importance while staying true to the franchise’s roots, has finally kicked off with the brand new Del Rey novel Light of the Jedi. In addition to starting a big new chapter for Star Wars publishing, it’s also Charles Soule’s debut Star Wars novel after years of writing fan-favorite comics. It’s almost hard to believe it’s finally here, and I’m happy to say that at least for me it lives up to just about all of its hype and promises.
Light of the Jedi begins the story of the new initiative with the Great Disaster, caused by a ship breaking up in hyperspace and sending debris travelling at the speed of light straight at populated planets across the galaxy. When details about the Great Disaster were first revealed, I was a little concerned about not buying the destruction of one ship disrupting an entire galaxy, but the book shows really well how that event could cause so many problems, especially with people knowing so little about how hyperspace works already. I was surprised that there was even some applicability to today with the nature of the threat and the response to it.
The first section of the book, which mostly deals with the Great Disaster and the immediate fallout in the Hetzal system, is a blast to read and is chock full of pure, undiluted Star Wars moments. Seeing the Jedi in their prime jumping into action to help those in need is very engaging to follow. This section does have a lot of characters to keep track of, to the point that I can see some people being put off by it, but as the book goes on it becomes clearer which ones the reader has to remember. It’s also easy to get attached to even the characters that don’t stick around. There are already online fan guides that I imagine will be helpful for some people but a dramatis personae at the start certainly wouldn’t have hurt here, especially since Del Rey just brought those back for Chaos Rising.
The large cast also means there isn’t one clear protagonist to the book, not even Avar Kriss, who’s displayed most prominently on the cover. I think there’s an argument to be made for Marchion Ro being the closest thing the novel has to a protagonist, much in the same way people say Avengers: Infinity War’s story belongs to Thanos. Though Marchion is the villain, he is also the one who drives the story forward and changes the most as it plays out while the other characters mostly react. The teases about his backstory are incredibly interesting and I’m really looking forward to seeing where he goes in the rest of the series. That said, all of the book’s primary characters are well-developed and fun to read about. Once the first section with the disaster is finished, the book is able to slow down and focus on its cast a little more. The standouts for me were probably young Jedi Bell Zettifar and Burryaga Agaburry. Bell has one of the strongest arcs in the story and while Burry didn’t have too much to do here, I loved what we did see of him.
One thing that struck me while reading was how the book wasn’t afraid to have some surprisingly dark moments. It doesn’t pull any punches, which helps to underline its overall optimistic message. This is one of the brightest moments we’ve seen in the history of the Star Wars galaxy, with the Republic and the Jedi much closer to serving their intended purpose than they are in the prequel era. The Jedi and the Chancellor’s Great Works are helping more people in need than ever, and it’ll be interesting to see if later books sow the seeds for how things start to go downhill.
The book does a good job of introducing the audience to this new time period in Star Wars history while also grounding itself in what we already knew about the timeline. One of the many details I liked was how the galaxy is just starting the process of switching from kolto, the medicine used in the distant past in Knights of the Old Republic, to the more familiar bacta. The time period feels unique and intriguing enough that I’m excited to see more of it, both in future books from this initiative and in other places like the upcoming TV series from Leslye Headland. It’s certainly very refreshing to branch out into new, unfamiliar territory after so many years where stories mostly stuck to the same time periods.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Cavan Scott does with the next novel of the series, both because I already know how much I enjoy his writing and because the ending to this book left me with many burning questions. Recent announcements have also given me many more pieces of this story to be excited about. The High Republic has started with a bang, and I’m more invested in Star Wars publishing than ever.
Guest review by Numidian Prime. Thanks to Del Rey for the review copy.
Light Of The Jedi @ ForbiddenPlanet.com
- Hardcover Book
- Soule, Charles (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 400 Pages - 01/05/2021 (Publication Date) - Del Rey (Publisher)