In A Test Of Courage, meet some of the new characters of The High Republic in the first Middle-Grade story set in this new, unexplored era.
In A Test Of Courage, sixteen-year-old newly minted Jedi Knight Vernestra has just been given her first mission: accompany the precocious Senator Starros’s daughter Avon and her droid to the new Starlight Beacon station for its opening. Along with a shy ambassador’s son, Honesty, and an eager Padawan, Imri, they are the youngest passengers on the Republic sent cruise ship. But when the ship is unexpectedly damaged en route, Vernestra and the rest of the young passengers find themselves the sole survivors of a tragedy.
Stranded on a remote and inhospitable planet with limited supplies and no communications, they soon figure out that it was no accident that destroyed their ship. It was an act of sabotage, and the saboteurs don’t want any survivors. It will take all their skills for them to survive, outsmart the dangerous pirates, and report back to the Republic with the truth of what happened.
Star Wars: The High Republic – A Test Of Courage | Justina Ireland
One part adventure story, one part survival, everyone brought a set of skills to the table or felt unsure of their abilities. For Vernestra, it was her first mission and she was apprehensive about proving herself to the council and whether or not the modifications she’d made to her lightsaber were a good thing or not. For Honesty, he was disappointed he was missing out on a graduation type ceremony back home and had to learn to trust his skillset and deal with grief.
Imri had to deal with the grief of losing his master and the anger towards those responsible. Avon used her piloting skills to initially save them and her tech skills to fix the ship’s communications. It was Honesty who’s survivals skills found them fresh food; Avon who piloted them to safety and found the scout droid they used; Vern’s modified saber helped clear a path in the jungle and fight off the bad guys; and both Vern and Imri learned a valuable lesson on the Dark Side and their own abilities as Jedi, and will continue to learn and grow together as Master and Apprentice (despite only a two year age difference).
In the end, though, Avon still hadn’t completely learned her lesson about taking tech apart. Her curiosity about lightsabers and kyber crystals got the better of her and I suspect it will have consequences later. We all know what kyber will eventually be used for, and while her intentions are pure and she believes “science will thank me later”, she doesn’t yet realize that not everyone will use science for good. She was also billed as a STEAM heroine in the promotion, but this aspect didn’t figure into things as much as I thought it would. So I hope we see her again and she has a chance to use those tech skills more.
What’s In A Name
While a Middle-Grade book, the cast of characters ranged in age from twelve to sixteen giving it more of a crossover appeal. With Vern being a fully-fledged Knight despite her young age, and Imri being fourteen, I can definitely see the potential to see these two again in either a YA or Adult novel with the rest of the Jedi. As for Avon and Honesty, I can see them getting another full-length Middle-Grade adventure too, or appearing in the Star Wars Adventures comics.
However, those names from the moment I first read the name Avon, all I could think about was the makeup. You know those Avon catalogs your mom gets with the makeup and perfume? Yeah, those. So I couldn’t help but chuckle and cringe every time I read her name. As for Honesty, that reminded me of how the Puritans used to name their children after the virtues they wanted them to possess. Seeing as how his people, the Dalnan, live beyond the borders of the Republic and have a different type of society, I’m guessing this was intentional. But Avon? Really? And Master Douglass probably has the most “normal” name in Star Wars besides Luke.
Justina Ireland is the bestselling author of the Dread Nation YA books. Her previous Star Wars credits include Lando’s Luck and Spark of the Resistance. She is part of the group of authors who will be contributing to and crafting The High Republic era and the stories surrounding it.
All in all, I liked this outing. It was fast-paced and full of adventure. Recommended for readers 9-13 or grades 4-7.
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I’m Mina, the Jedi Librarian. I’m a teen services librarian, lover of all the books, and a lifelong Star Wars fan. I’m also secretly a Jedi.