A new era for Star Wars has been kicked off. This era comes to fans in literary form through a series called Star Wars: The High Republic. The first book in the series is The High Republic: Light of the Jedi. Taking place two centuries before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Light of the Jedi takes place during the golden age of the High Republic. The Jedi are what Obi-Wan Kenobi once described them as, “the guardians of peace and justice” for the Republic. Of course, not everything can be perfect because then there wouldn’t be a story to be told. The book begins just as “the Great Disaster” occurs. This unknown phenomenon shreds a ship in hyperspace to pieces and as its remains emerge from hyperspace, an entire system finds itself at risk. The Republic and the Jedi come in to attempt to save the day and also discover what is behind this disaster. As the origin of this disaster is explored, the Jedi discover that there is more behind it than initially meets the eye.
There are a LOT of characters in The High Republic: Light of the Jedi. Whereas many of the previous Star Wars stories and movies have focused on just a couple of main characters, there are multiple storylines happening in this book. At the very beginning, this can be a bit daunting as the book moves forward fairly quickly. However, as the book continues the characters become familiar. There are a lot of different types of characters that are represented in this book. Initially, I was worried it would be too much and that the reader wouldn’t connect with them. However, by the end of the book, I found myself feeling different things about different characters regarding their well-being and future. Overall, the character development for this book was very well done and made for an enjoyable read.
One thing I thought was really interesting that was done throughout the course of this book was the exploration of the Force through the way the various Jedi interacted with it. There is a lot more to it in Light of the Jedi than is presented in the original movies. Different Jedi experience it in different ways and can do many different things with it. Exploration of the Force seems to be embraced and is really rather fluid in how it is done from one Jedi to another. Because of this, there are quite a few different types of Jedi with different powers and strengths. This is something that i hope is explored even more as The High Republic series continues.
The Light of the Jedi initially seems to have a fairly straight forward plot. However, as the story continues, things aren’t exactly what they seem. While I wouldn’t say this has the deepest plot in the world that jerks the reader around, it does have some fascinating developments. The storyline for this book made sense to me and moved forward at a nice quick pace, and still got me to raise my eyebrow a few times as I was reading it. Most importantly, the story feels like Star Wars. Multiple times as I was reading this book I would think “this would be a fun movie” or “that’d be fun to see on the big screen.” I also could imagine the music that could go with it at different points.
Written by Charles Soule, The High Republic: Light of the Jedi is a book that is fairly easy to read. Yes, there are a couple of moments where I had to think about what was going on because so many things are happening but, it was not a hard read. Soule has a gift for making the story that fits in the Star Wars universe, moves forward at an enjoyable speed (that isn’t too fast), and drawing the reader in so they don’t want to put it down. Multiple times I found myself reading much longer than I initially intended while working my way through this book.
With the very nature of something like The High Republic, there is going to be some level of world building involved. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. it is good from the perspective that there is a whole new playground to tell a story in and introduce Star Wars fans to. The downside of this could come if too much time is spent building that new playground. Thankfully, in this case, a solid story is told and the world builds up around it as it moves forward. I have been known to read some books that are hundreds of pages long that the first two hundred are spent setting up the world and the environment where the story will actually take place. This can be ok on occasion but thankfully this isn’t what happens with this book. By the end of the story, there is a bigger perspective on what the Republic looked like 200 years before The Phantom Menace and what a different generation of Jedi was like.
I will admit, I was a bit skeptical about Star Wars: The High Republic as a series and The High Republic: Light of the Jedi as a book before reading it. However, this opinion changed within the first few pages as I discovered how much care had been put into this story and the respect given to Star Wars in general. The book is very enjoyable to read. The characters are believable and also pull different emotions out of the reader (I’ll just leave that vague). I loved the exploration of the Force in this book in ways I hadn’t seen or thought of before. I also loved getting a bigger picture of the history of that galaxy far, far away. While this is a stand-alone book, It also seems to connect with future stories that will come with The High Republic and I can’t wait to read what is coming in the future! The High Republic: Light of the Jedi is a very enjoyable book that is a welcome addition to the Star Wars universe. I have no problem giving this book a hat tip. It’s a good read for any Star Wars fan who wants more stories and also wants to learn more about the Force! Give it a read and then let me know what you thought of it too!