The long-awaited High Republic era is upon us and Star Wars fans no longer have to speculate about the catastrophic events that set off a new generation of stories. For fans who feel fatigued with Star Wars tales set within the confines of the trilogy of trilogies, The High Republic era is a much-needed breath of fresh air.
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Charles Soule's Light of the Jedi is the Perfect Entry Point into the High Republic
Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi is the recommended entrance point into The High Republic era, among the trio of releases on January 5th. The novel starts strong and it carries through with that same intensity through to the last pages. Soule is quite gifted when it comes to world-building; each planetary interlude, interaction on the bridge, and conversation between characters is vividly crafted.
Despite that, I still personally struggled to connect with the new characters. I found myself returning to StarWars.com time and time again to remind myself of what the characters looked like.
While Star Wars fans who are online and plugged into the fandom have had no trouble tracking down illustrations and additional character details for the High Republic, I do worry for readers who pick up these books on bookstore shelves without previous knowledge on the new era. They may find it difficult to jump into a world with brand new characters and I secretly wish that each book in the series had a character poster chart included.
The book is laid out into three parts. The first introduces “The Great Disaster,” which is an overarching plot point for the High Republic series; the second is “The Paths,” and the third is “The Storm.” In between each part is an interlude, introducing the Nihil, as well as focusing on the Council.
I did like how Soule chose to structure Light of the Jedi, though at times it felt like I was being introduced to so many new characters that it was a little overwhelming. I would recommend reading each part, which would be around 120 pages at a time, and then letting them settle for a while before proceeding to the next part. The chapters bounce between characters; introducing readers to Avar Kriss, Jedi Master Loden Greatstorm, Bell Zettifar, Burryaga Agaburry, Te’Ami, and Mikkel Sutmani.
The High Republic era is also the golden era of the Jedi. They are seen as beacons of hope, protectors, and guardians of good. Having the knowledge of where the Jedi ultimately end up some three hundred years later, makes for a very interesting read. The lightsaber is not seen as a weapon to strike down enemies, but a tool for good. Master and Padawan alike are very powerful, and the Jedi all work together towards a common goal.
It’s very inspiring to read, if not a little sad to consider just how far the Jedi fell. Any time that Star Wars can retroactively add to the story to further the conflict in the media we already know, they’ve caught my interest.
The Nihil, who are positioned as the antagonists within the High Republic era, are fascinating. I enjoyed the way that these characters were introduced and I was left wanting to know more about their motivations, culture, and identity within the galaxy. I’m always keen to know more about why the antagonists are the antagonists in a story.
Light of the Jedi is a brilliant introduction into a new era for Star Wars. It delivers fast-paced action, high stakes, intriguing characters, and charts a course into the unknown, which is sure to capture the attention of readers. Charles Soule delivers yet another brilliant piece of Star Wars content, with the same dedication, care, and creativity that he’s doled out in the past.
If you’re excited for the Light of the Jedi and looking to share the experience with a young reader in your life, you may want to pick up The Great Jedi Rescue. It’s also a great purchase if you’re a visual person, like myself, and want something to help you really immerse yourself in this new era.
The Great Jedi Rescue (which was previously titled The Great Disaster) is a 24-page book aimed at young readers, which will also be released on January 5th. The book, written by Cavan Scott and illustrated by Petur Antonsson, follows the events of Light of the Jedi and neatly introduces readers to the new cast of characters. It’s a fun, easy read, and it really made me love Burryaga and Bell even more than I already did after reading Light of the Jedi. Also, the book includes stickers!
Despite my own issues with getting invested in the story, Light of the Jedi is a must-read for Star Wars fans, and I truly feel that The High Republic era has the potential to create a really fascinating area for new storytelling. Soule was a perfect choice for writing the entry point into a brand new era.