Review: Star Wars The High Republic: Light of the Jedi (2021)

Author: Charles Soule
Publisher: Del Rey / Penguin
Release Date: 05/01/2021

Long before the First Order, before the Empire, before even The Phantom Menace…Jedi lit the way for the galaxy in THE HIGH REPUBLIC. Light of the Jedi is a wonderful opening entry to a new Star Wars saga.

SYNOPSIS

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 even the 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 harbours a secret that could strike fear into even a Jedi’s heart.

REVIEW

As we start a new chapter in the lore of Star Wars I am confident in saying that The High Republic will develop to be as big and successful as the Skywalker saga. The Light of the Jedi is a brilliant beginning and lays solid foundations for The High republic to grow.

This book is structured in three distinctive sections, the first being the build up to a major event, the middle section being the event and the immediate ramifications and the final section being the retribution and prevention of future events. As the story progresses the tension and suspense builds steadily creating quite a whirlwind at the end. A disaster story at its core which is layered with fantasy, espionage, mystery and political plot lines and creates a thoroughly engaging and entertaining read. This book will appeal to Star Wars fans old and new as Charles Soule does a great job in describing who the Jedi are to new readers without insulting seasoned Star Wars fans. The High Republic is set 200 years before anyone has even heard the name Skywalker, a time when Jedi were at their prime and because of this we witness the true power of a Jedi and learn how far the force can be used.

With the Jedi being at their prime we are introduced to an unprecedented amount of new characters from a number of different origins. This is the only criticism I have about the book as it often took me a moment to think who was who because there are a lot of characters in play, all from different species and all with interesting and unique names. The further into the book you go the easier it becomes to remember people but I wouldn’t have been against a couple of Luke’s or Ben’s. The plus side to this is the variety of stories we delve into and the universe that is being built for The High Republic has a vast and varied foundation to build from. Full credit to Charles Soule as the introduction to these characters is uniquely detailed and interesting for each one.

Along with new characters we also travel to new worlds and explore different technologies but rest assured there are still sprinkles of familiarities for existing Star Wars fans. Planets like Coruscant, Alderaan and Kashyyyk feature, as do the names of older names like Yoda, Hutt and Mandalorian. These references are used in a very clever way to create a spark of nostalgia for the reader without relying on them for the story and allowing the new saga to build.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Star Wars is a franchise I have loved since I was a kid so I was already on board for this new chapter but I can honestly say 2021 will be the year of Star Wars on page and screen and The High Republic is going to be key to that. I strongly recommend people get behind this book and this series from the start as we are exploring a time of the Jedi we have never seen before and witnessing how great the power of the force can really be. Star Wars fans of old will love everything about this book while this is also a great jumping in point for new readers to Star Wars.

I read this via an advance preview copy issued by Del Rey / Penguin Random House UK and received no other incentive to review this book.

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