Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage

When a transport ship is abruptly kicked out of hyperspace as part of a galaxy-wide disaster, newly-minted teen Jedi Vernestra Rwoh, a young Padawan, an audacious tech-kid, and the son of an ambassador are stranded on a jungle moon where they must work together to survive both the dangerous terrain and a hidden danger lurking in the shadows….

Author: Justina Ireland
Release Date: Jan 05, 2021
Page Count: 240 Pages
ISBN: 9781368057301

A menacing Aqualish, acidic burning rain, and pink lightning are just some of the exciting ways a new era is upon Star Wars fans. The High Republic is here and provides new historic details—set two centuries before the action of The Phantom Menace—characters, planets, and challenges to peace in the galaxy as The Republic attempts to launch the Starlight Beacon space station in the Outer Rim to bridge and empower more of the faraway planets and people.

Author Justina Ireland wastes no time launching the action after introducing green-skinned, 16-year-old Mirialan Jedi Knight, Vernestra Rwoh, on a tense, sometimes fun, coming-of-age journey. From a luxury cruiser in space to a desperate escape, and then seeking refuge on an unknown celestial body, A Test of Courage, keeps a brisk-pace throughout, making it a quick, enjoyable read.

Vernestra’s very first solo mission as a Jedi is to escort Avon Starros, aboard the Steady Wing luxury cruiser, to the dedication of Starlight Beacon. It seems impressive until it is described as babysitting duty of a 12-year-old daughter of a Republic Senator before meeting Avon during one of her too-smart-for-her-own good activities, including the creative acquisition of a power crystal, that is spoiled by the Jedi. The young lady also has a droid, J-6, and, much to Vernestra’s chagrin, refers to the Jedi as “Vern.”

Once aboard the Steady Wing two younger human male characters, Padawan Imri Cantaros and Honesty Weft, the son of a Dalnan ambassador comprise the small group that is about to take an unexpected journey. Disaster strikes and the group of five—ranging in age from 12 to 16 and facing their own inadequacies—must escape the tragedy and dangers of space before figuring out how to survive on a foreign moon full of surprises, while discovering a way to contact the Republic for rescue.

The Force is active throughout the story as the Jedi use it openly, in varying ways, for a multitude of tasks from humorous to life-saving. Only two-years older than Imri, Vernestra must find a way to guide and positively influence the emotionally-toiling Padawan so he stays safe and on the Light Side of the Force.

The character development is strong for such a short story, getting into the mind of each teenager in order to share their fears, regrets, and light-bulb realizations of “I can do this!” as they all—except one—gain confidence and contribute to the greater good of the group throughout.

Avon, besides having a historically important last name in the Star Wars universe, sets the stage for impacting the future with her strong analytical mind, quick-wit, and interest in the power of kyber crystals. She is a young, dark-skinned, frizzy-haired human girl—and while reading the personality Ireland brought to life, all I could think of was a more in-your-face Rue from The Hunger Games film. Avon will matter as the triumphs and tragedies of The High Republic unfold.

History lessons are also in order as Ireland treats readers to references of the Nightsisters, the Jedi versus the Sith, and quick hits about Batuu, Pasaana, and more as the young heroes do their best to reach Starlight Beacon space station. Humor, sometimes whip-smart, and snark help offset the desperation of their situation as this excellent introduction to The High Republic played out and made me excited for more.

 

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Star Wars The High Republic: A Test of Courage
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ireland, Justina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 01/05/2021 (Publication Date) - Disney Lucasfilm Press (Publisher)