Book Review, Science Fiction

Light of the Jedi (Star Wars: The High Republic) by Charles Soule

Two hundred years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, in the era of the glorious High Republic, the noble and wise Jedi Knights must face a frightening threat to themselves, the galaxy, and the Force itself….

From Book Sleeve:
It is a golden age. Intrepid hyperspace scouts expand the reach of the Republic to the farthest 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 harbors a secret that could strike fear into even a Jedi’s heart.

Light of the Jedi is a start to a new era in Star Wars. Both legends and canon have not touched this era. I was excited to read this since the announcement. This story was an exciting opening. It was fun and felt very Star Warsish. There are a few issues I have, but books are never perfect, right? The first half was great, I enjoyed it very much; the tempo was great, but I found it really hard to finish the second part as the adrenaline slowed down.

Because of this being the first book in this era, there is a lot of development in this book. As readers, we learn many things. We learn about the state of the galaxy, who is currently in charge of the Republic, the antagonists, and the state of the Jedi Order. The author explained these well, and it did not feel as if it held the book back. I realize the first book in a series can feel a little overwhelming, so I try to give these set up books a benefit of the doubt.

The alternative way of visualizing the force was one of my favorite things in this book. The author explains how each Jedi reads the force differently. My favorite one was how Master Avar Kriss visualized the force as music. This was something, as a Star Wars nerd, I found interesting and would love to read deeper into this information. Another way was color. This was my second favorite. I mean, we describe music as color, why can’t the force?

There are so many new characters. I feel all but maybe the Nihil (or the antagonists in this novel) were well rounded and cannot wait to see more character development with these characters. It took a while for me to know these characters. Again, I am aware this is a startup book for not only this series, but for this era as well. The Nihil for me felt flat. They did not impress me as I would have hoped. Their ways were confusing for me, no matter how many times the author explained them and their hierarchy. I am hoping the series will develop the Nihil in the following books.

The setting in this novel is everywhere. There are new planets, planets Star Wars nerds have heard, but the state of the planet is different, the outer rims, and space. To those who are new to Star Wars may not have thought there was enough development or description, and as a reader, I can understand. As a Star Wars nerd, I felt there was enough to understand without drawing out the story.

I would recommend this book for any Star Wars nerd who loves the books and loves the eras predating Episode 1.

I give this book a 3/5

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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