Phase II of The High Republic takes us back to an age of exploration! Jedi Kevmo Zink and his master Zallah head to Dalna in an investigation into powerful Force artifacts. There, they meet with members of the Path of the Open Hand, a group that believes the Force should never be used by anyone.
Forbidden romance! Philosophical arguments! Culty communes! Artifact heists! What’s up with this Dalna place?
Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland weave a tale that gives us a deeper look into the contrasting philosophies between the Jedi and other followers of the Force. The story is wonderfully introspective in a way that Star Wars fans might not expect. In lieu of the common action scenes followed by a faster and more intense dialogue; we get beautifully set slice-of-life interactions between complex characters with layered wants, beliefs, and emotions!
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
Sparks fly when Marda Ro meets Kemvo Zink. And in classic Shakespearian style, these young passionate people of opposing viewpoints find themselves charmed, intrigued, and attracted to each other despite their opposing life philosophies! Can they find common ground or will their compassion be their undoing?
I love a little bit of Star Wars romance!
A Little Bit Culty
Look, we already know the Jedi, but these followers of the Path of the Open Hand are next level in the cult game. They straight up live on a commune doing their best to spread the word of their mysterious leader known as The Mother. The Mother is their conduit to hear the will of the Force and the believers will do all they can to serve.
Meanwhile, the Jedi are on a mission to uncover the disappearance of some powerful Force relics. Could this cult have something to do with it?
All I’m saying is never trust a cult…
You all might remember how curious I’ve been about Dalna and the mysterious past referred to in a few of The High Republic phase I stories. Here, we go straight back to Dalna and its past (which seems to be more Jedi tolerant.) All that leads me to believe that perhaps this is the beginning of whatever happens between Dalna and the Jedi!
Can’t wait to see it all unfold…
Giving and Taking
One of the core beliefs of the Path of the Open Hand is that the Force must be free. This means they have a big problem with Jedi, waving their hands around, making rocks float, controlling people minds, and stuff like that. Which doesn’t immediately seem like a bad thing…
Well… I still think they’re shady…
Marda Ro and her cousin Yana are also Evereni. I was fascinated to learn a bit more about their people besides the peeks we’ve seen from Marchion and Asgar.
Bits and Pieces
This book kicks off phase II of The High Republic vastly different than Light of the Jedi. But honestly, that’s not a bad thing! The book definitely stands alone and yet leaves quite a few intriguing threads I hope will be pulled at in the future… or the past… or whenever… The High Republic is WILD Y’ALL. We have some great character interaction, beautiful world-building, and questions that begged to be pondered! The story is unpredictable, thought-provoking, grounded, and fresh in a way that leaves me thinking about the possible ramifications while I wait for the next story!
This is a must-read for anyone looking for an unexpected look into a new era, forbidden romance, and maybe even some villainous origins!
- Sal P.