The wait is over and the High Republic is here! Justina Ireland’s middle-grade story tosses us into the mix with a group of young characters who find themselves in a dangerous situation. While Light of the Jedi introduces us to the grander galaxy at this time, filling us in on the politics, exploration, and state of the denizens of the galaxy, this story is much more focused on the characters and their adventures. The protagonists are all fresh-faced teens and Justina brings us into each of their points of view which is wonderfully refreshing!
As usual, the pace of a middle-grade novel feels swift and cinematic… Faster and more intense? The plot moves along smoothly much faster than the pace of the adult novels. I love the energy and it’s a story that I picked up one night and didn’t go to sleep till I realized I was almost halfway through the book!
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
The story begins with Vernestra Rwoh being assigned to protect a delegation of Republic officials on their journey to the Starlight Beacon. The Jedi are all young along with the youths accompanying the delegation. The best part of the book is definitely the characters and what they do when put to the test.
As usual, nothing goes according to plan and there are problems for our Jedi protectors…
Vernestra Rwoh is the 15 year old prodigy of Stellan Gios who has just been knighted as one of the youngest Jedi in the history of the Republic! Her steadfast attitude makes her an excellent leader but it’s her dedication to the ideals of the Jedi and her compassion that makes her so dang loveable.
Did I mention she uses a lightwhip?
She uses a lightwhip. And I’m talking awesome super-kyber-powered lightwhip NOT those little energy whips that popped up in The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.
This thing is rad.
When we are introduced to Avon Starros, she’s very much the mischievous teen out finding and causing trouble. It’s also fun to see the family history that leads us to one of my favorite characters Sana Starros! As we really get to know Avon, her brilliance shines through along with her problem solving genius! It’s not at all what I saw coming but it really rose above my expectations.
I love when Star Wars does that.
Alongside with Avon is her quirky nanny droid (that-maybe-wasn’t-always-a-nanny-droid) J-6! The droid has such a unique personality and it’s great to watch Avon really leans into making sure her droid companion is able to express themselves!
Honesty Weft is along for the ride on the Steady Wing and finds himself in a dubious situation alongside the other young passengers. Alongside the Jedi, he feels unsure, inadequate, and helpless. Watching him find his way is heartwarming.
Padawan Imri Cantaros finds himself feeling a bit over his head. I loved the interaction he shares with Vern throughout the story. Like Honesty, he also feels unable to measure up to the high bar Vern sets. But as we all know, we all have our parts to play as the Force wills.
The young ones all find themselves stranded in dangerous territory and must work together to survive. The setting of the story does a great job of making us feel unsettled and fearful for these characters.
Also the Nihil ain’t nothing to mess with.
The Nihil play a part in this book and are the same terrifying enemy that we have come to know from Light of the Jedi. In fact, their presence in this story is even more threatening as our main characters are young teenagers trying to make their way in the galaxy!
Bits and Pieces
All in all the book is wonderfully done and really does an excellent job of creating new characters for us to know and love! The cover art is adorable and there are a few illustrations inside as well (by Peter Antonsson.) I love when we have a little bit of art to visualize the story!
This book is a must-read for any Jedi fan or those interested in The High Republic. Watching these young ones rise to the challenges before them is masterfully done and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for them. So grab some Nuna jerky or Joppa stew dive in!
Did I mention there’s a LIGHTWHIP?
- Sal P.