I’ve been pretty hyped for this entire “publishing initiative” since it’s announcement a while back! Now that it’s here and I’ve consumed the first offering I’ve gotta say.
Man is this gonna be good.
Light of the Jedi rocks. The book does a great job of really filling in the “world building” of this era in a compelling way that really pulled me in. I mean, I know I was already jumping in both feet first, but still! The characters we meet, which are many, are all very well done! The overarching story feels grand and galactically epic and unique which is a really difficult thing to pull off sometimes!
The best thing I can say is Charles Soule does exceedingly well at putting us into a brand new unfamiliar era of Star Wars and fill it out and makes it both feel like Star Wars, but also shows us all the fresh and unique things that make it feel new!
… even though it’s… old.
Like 200 years old or something…
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Great Disaster
We’ve been teased since the announcement of this era about the Great Disaster that kicks off the High Republic so finally getting to the context was huge for me. The manipulation of hyperspace and the ensuing galaxy wide danger was well done and made for an excellent threat to the Jedi and the entire galaxy that didn’t feel as familiar as another super weapon. Along with providing the solutions that weren’t as simple as just blow it up!
The questions raised here are something I am sure will continue to pay off as more is revealed. I am infinitely curious about the Hyperspace prospectors and the San Tekka clan!
The Grand Jedi
Speaking of the Jedi… seeing this era of Jedi was like, TIPTOP of my hype levels and friends, I was NOT disappointed. Seeing the way they operate without the narrow dogmatic views that would be their downfall was epic. I love that they embrace their differences. From the way they connect to the Force to their specializations in the use of their powers it’s all good. Loden Greatstorm was my surprise new favorite. His sense of humor and relationship with his padawan Bell was everything I needed it to be. I like that even in this time, there is a Jedi who still doesn’t quite fit in with the rest. Elzar Mann is much like the Qui-Gon of his era and his reluctance to follow the path the council prefers doesn’t quite suit him. And I like that. Chances are if you like Jedi, there will be one here that will be your favorite too!
The Nihil and Their Fury Road
So the idea of an enemy and threat to the Jedi can be a difficult one to pull off. Without relying on the old Sith re-emerging what else is there? Back in the Legends days there was either a long lost Sith, or a new superweapon, or a cloned Sith, or just another warlord with a fleet, or someone would uncover Sith teachings and start to become a Sith … Space Vikings was not at the top of my guesses but they worked out surprisingly well. Their tactics, ruthlessness, and lack of morals make them very compelling enemies. Along with their secret paths and understanding of hyperspace they use to every advantage. I love the feel of them and how they are so different that the usual enemies of the Jedi we are used to seeing. The Mad Max energy is very strong here but so far they’ve pulled it off well. I am VERY interested in Marchion Ro and his plans. It’s clear he is so much more than just your average greedy moustache twirling villain and I can’t wait to see where his story goes!
We Are All The Republic
The politics of the era was touched on a bit and I found myself much more enthused than I expected. The chancellor of the time Lina Soh, is a very compelling character and her ideals for what she is trying to make the republic was fascinating. Her ideas of unity and bringing together the galaxy felt like something I wish was more common in our own world. Her big talking point of “We are all the Republic” was something that I was not too excited for when it was talked about. As the story unfolds it became one of my favorite sayings and I am now fully on board and LOVE it with all my heart and you can’t take it from me.
Simple People Trying to Make Their Way
Along the way we meet many denizens of the galaxy. Not Jedi heroes. Not villainous pirates. Not powerful politicians. A captain of a cargo ship. A technician at an outpost. A family of farmers. Just people. Charles Soule does an unbelievable job of introducing us to these people and letting us appreciate and love them without grand sweeping narratives, or quippy one liners, or galaxy changing master plans. Don’t get me wrong, the story is full of the grander characters as well, but the everyday ones shine just as brilliantly. And that’s not an easy job.
Bits and Pieces
All in all the book paints a grand picture to get us into this new and wondrous era. It’s as familiar as Star Wars should be, but through a bit more of a romanticized lens. The characters are all full of depth and I suspect that will only grow as their stories unfold along the many phases of High Republic stories to come.
It’s clear that having the creators of this era working together so closely is resulting in a wonderfully immersive galaxy that is well thought out and I am certain will continue to evolve and grow as we move through it.
This is a must-read for any Star Wars fan who wants to dive into a new era of Jedi! Or anyone who is curious to see a time when the ideals of the institutions seems to be at it’s purest. The Republic seems to be growing and inviting as opposed to wallowing in corruption. The Jedi are powerful and a beacon of hope, as opposed to losing their ideals in their politics.
This is just the beginning and I can’t wait to see where this era takes us.
- Sal P.