The High Republic: Light of the Jedi is here and Star Wars fans are being transported to a new era filled with brand new characters, planets, and threats. Long before the First Order reigned supreme, before Darth Sidious rose to power, and even before the arrival of Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi lit the way for the galaxy in the High Republic.
We had the absolute privilege of reading Charles Soule’s brand new novel that marks the first installment in this new era. First we’ll travel through Phase 1: Light of the Jedi at light speed, and then through Phase 2: Quest of the Jedi, and then through the final phase: Trials of the Jedi. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s focus on Charles Soule’s epic novel- Light of the Jedi.
Here is a brief summary of what you can expect when you dive into Soule’s Light of the Jedi:
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.
As always, I want to get all the negatives out of the way first. Here’s the good news. I can’t really fault this story. What I can take away from it, and I think this applies to many new beginnings in a massive universe- particularly in the book medium, is that the amount of new characters, ships, creatures, and locations can be somewhat overwhelming. As you continue to read on, that weight begins to alleviate and each character begins to shine as individuals.
The confusion eases up and you can quickly identify what these characters are like and what makes them tick. They are brilliantly well-rounded and refined. The issue at the start is that there is very little familiarity. But that is also a blessing. This is Star Wars as we’ve never seen it before. You just have to be prepared to be immersed in the unknown and the new. Sure, it’s somewhat daunting at first. But once it gets started, you’re submerged and the Star Wars universe opens up once again to newer and bigger things.
While the Jedi are the driving point of this mega-narrative, one of my favourite things about this book is how it dives into aspects that aren’t typically used as a driving force. Light of the Jedi starts with a disaster in hyperspace. As we progress, we learn more about the limitations of hyperspace as well as the politics. Control and regulation become very important in this story and that’s something we rarely see applied to hyperspace, particularly in Star Wars. There are rules and restrictions. These aspects are heavily tested when something that was considered impossible becomes possible. This avenue opens up an incredibly interesting door for Star Wars. How does hyperspace operate? While we don’t explore the actual science of it, it is very nice seeing how it is governed and how it is navigated.
In the beginning, we’re introduced to a very promising world that is prospering and harmonious. You get that impression almost immediately and it is stripped away. Suddenly we are plunged into chaos. To open in such a bleak and chaotic manner is something that is incredibly new to me in terms of Star Wars books. Honestly, it was quite a shock. We’ve seen disasters in Star Wars before. Look at how many worlds were destroyed in The Force Awakens. The problem there was that we were simply observers. Now, we’re forced to navigate our way through these cataclysmic horrors. We’re forced to confront the truths, the harsh realities, and the galaxy-wide impact such events have. It’s truly captivating seeing that span out and seeing how leaders and Jedi deal with the carnage.
In terms of the Jedi, this book is incredibly refreshing. During the era of the Empire, the Jedi were very fragmented. In the era of the Clone Wars the Jedi were particular about how they got involved. It’s also important to consider that we typically focused on key members of the Council. What I think fans will love the most about the High Republic is the vastness of the Jedi. Different species, looks, teachings and methods. We’re introduced to many different members of the Jedi Order and all of them have their own unique way of doing things. Not only are the aesthetics of the Jedi different and definitely reflective of Arthurian legends, but the manner in which they teach and implement the Force is unique.
We’ve seen the Jedi do many amazing things and at the height of their power and connectivity with the Light, those possibilities are expanded. From moving insanely big objects, to using a lightsaber to start a ship, to controlling the weather. We have never seen the Jedi collaborate like this before and it is an absolute treat.
I don’t want to explore the story too much. There are some very interesting developments and turns that caught me off guard. So I think going in with very little knowledge pays off in a massive way. I think the best way to explore the story is simply by saying that we get to see the Jedi operate in a way that we’ve never seen before. In addition to that, we’re presented with a threat that is both mysterious and devastating. The great disaster is connected to a much larger plot that gradually unravels. What’s great is that there are a few subtle hints that tease something that could be quite extraordinary. Since Light of the Jedi is part of bigger narrative, we don’t actually get a resolution.
In fact, the final few chapters actually allude to a bigger threat that will presumably be picked up in The Rising Storm. It’s incredibly hard to predict what will happen next, but I am incredibly excited to see this plot unfold. We’re dealing with a new enemy this time. However, something tells me that the Jedi’s ancient enemy, lurking in the shadows, has a role to play.
Light of the Jedi is a breath of fresh air. While we are exploring unfamiliar territories, it still feels like Star Wars. We have drama, chaos, Jedi, space battles, and hope. As this evil plot unravels and deepens, the spark of hope is still there. The settings may change, the characters may vary, but the epic battle between the Light and the Dark remains very much the same. What Light of the Jedi does is frame that battle in an entirely new way. Fans are going to love this new installment in the Star Wars saga.
We can’t wait to explore this new era in Star Wars and we hope you’ll join us along the way as we meet new characters and explore new worlds.
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