We are the Republic!
The era of The High Republic kicks off with Charles Soule’s book Light of the Jedi. The Jedi are at the height of their power and Soule takes the time to explore what that means for the Star Wars universe. With so few in existence from the time of A New Hope, it’s easy to believe the Force is fairly uniform across all species in the galaxy. Even in the prequel films, the Force is fairly static, taking the same shape and form for most of the Jedi. While there are subtle differences, like Anakin’s uncanny ability to bond with machines or Qui Gon’s more whimsical approach to the Force, those are seen more like anomalies rather than the norm. However, as we are quick to find out in Light of the Jedi there are many different ways to interact with the Force and the Force expresses itself in many different forms. Soule gives you a more complete picture of what the Force is and how (in the words of Obi-Wan) it surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.
But that is only part of the fascination with Light of the Jedi. There is so much more to this well-crafted Star Wars story. By the time of the original trilogy, we take hyperspace for granted, but as Han hinted when he schooled Luke on the dangers of hyperspace, there was a time with navigating through it was risky and not completely reliable. This is that time. Hyperspace is a new frontier and the disaster aboard the Legacy Run starship threatens all of hyperspace travel. It’s up to the Jedi to stop the devastation caused by the disaster and to prevent it from happening again. In the meantime, a new threat emerges in the form of the Nihil, a group of pirates under the leadership of Marchion Ro who has been manipulating the gang for his own ends in a scheme that continues to unfold.
Reading this story is like reading something from the turn of the 20th century. You feel the sense of anticipation, hope, and boundless optimism that pervades the Republic. The Jedi are true knights of the Round Table, each one seeking to become their best selves and find a way to contribute to the work of the galaxy. Supreme Chancellor Lina Soh has grand plans of her own, building Starlight Beacon, a massive space station meant to inspire those living in the Outer Rim and beyond. It is the Star Wars equivalent of the Renaissance period – but are we witnessing the height of that period or the beginning of the end?
Soule masterfully crafts a story of depth and intricacy that reads in part like a thriller and in part like a mystery. Entwined in all of it is a ticking clock as more and more “emergences” keep wrecking havoc all throughout the galaxy. Can the Jedi figure it all out in time? This is a world that is being built from the ground up, but you can already see how it slides nicely into the Star Wars timeline. Soule gives it that definite Star Wars feel while making a story all his own. If you’re a fan of Star Wars or just good storytelling, you need this book.
Title: Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi
Author: Charles Soule / Audiobook read by Marc Thompson
Cost: $28.99 ($18.17 on Amazon) / $45 audiobook ($30.17 on CD on Amazon or $6.95 with Audible)
Age: 12 and up
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Star Wars, Science Fiction
- Thanks to Del Rey for the review copy. All opinions are my own.