“Light Of the Jedi draws you in and leaves you gasping for more, making you keep reading and becoming invested in the characters and the story”
So, here it is. Light Of The Jedi. The opening novel of the new ‘The High Republic‘ series for the ‘Star Wars‘ universe. The build-up to the book and the subsequent others that will follow in the series, including graphic novels, children’s books, and other full novels has been quite remarkable.
Many acclaimed authors are on board to create this whole new universe, set years before anything we have seen before. Either on-screen or in the various shows that are available to watch on Disney+. Charles Soule has been given the honor of having his novel become the opener to this new saga. This new interaction of the ‘Star Wars‘ world.
Soule is no stranger to the world of ‘Star Wars‘, having written several Marvel comics in the past. So, the question is, is Light Of The Jedi good, enjoyable, and the perfect start to this new chapter? Or just a tired and desperate attempt to get more cash from the fans?
Star Wars: The High Republic | Charles Soule
The book is quite an enjoyable start to this new universe. Full of enjoyable new characters, situations, and villains that we haven’t encountered before. The book zips along at a good pace without sacrificing the story or plowing through events that deserve to be explained in detail. It is a testament to Charles Soule that Light Of The Jedi does exactly what it should do. It gives the reader action that they have come to expect along with intriguing new events and characters that by the final words of the novel, have become invested in.
Ok, so Yoda is mentioned throughout the book but he doesn’t make an appearance, something that actually benefits the novel. This is a totally new series of stories and although it is nice to have the Jedi master named throughout the text, he isn’t missed. The focus is on these new characters, just as it should be.
The story opens with a Hyperspace tragedy when a ship traveling through Hyperspace encounters something directly in their path. Something that shouldn’t be there and something that should be impossible. Taking manual control of the ship’s flight, the captain moves her ship slightly to avoid a collision. An act that ends up with the desperately old ship breaking up into quite a lot of pieces, and killing the captain and her crew.
Thankfully, the captain has ordered the passenger compartments sealed and locked down before attempting the maneuver. Thus saving them from being killed as the ship breaks apart but condemning them to a long, agonizing death as their compartments continue to travel through Hyperspace to gradually emerge somewhere in the galaxy, in essence becoming fast-moving meteors that will completely decimate anything in their path including entire planets. Other pieces of the ship start to emerge, hitting planets and moons, killing millions of people.
The tragedy calls for immediate help, with many pieces of the ship still to emerge from Hyperspace and a potential disaster for the Hetzal system which lies directly in the shrapnel’s path. The situation calls for the assistance of the Jedi Order. The guardians of peace and justice throughout the republic. Led by Jedi master Avar Kriss and supported by other Jedi such as Loden Greatstorm, Te’Ami, Elzar Mann alongside some Padawan learners and other creatures from across the universe, some human, the rest species that we have either encountered before or are brand new creations, a rescue attempt is planned and implemented. The goal is to rescue as many people from the Hetzal system as possible before destruction and devastation rains down on them from above.
During the operation, several Jedi are killed alongside several people who have arrived to help with the rescue. The Supreme Chancellor orders a temporary ban on the Hyperspace lanes while an investigation is carried out into the tragedy. All the while more of the ship is starting to emerge from Hyperspace at frightening speed, becoming almost like deadly missiles raining down on unsuspecting planets and their incredulous populations.
All the while, a band of pirates, thieves, and murderers known as the Nihil are carrying out raids across the outer rim intending to venture inward towards the inner rim and the Republic and their new space station. Does the Nihil have anything to do with the tragedy that has occurred in Hyperspace? What are their ultimate aims? And while the investigation into the tragedy continues, how will the Republic and especially the Jedi react when the truth becomes known?
Thankfully, not all the plot threads are tied up by the book’s end. Many threads are left dangling and open, ready to be picked up and strung out further in the coming novels. And that is to the novel’s advantage. Like a good old-fashioned story, the ending is a cliffhanger that will leave the reader with questions. Eager to discover what will happen next.
A small spoiler warning here. But not all of the newly introduced characters survive to the end of the book. This brings a sense of sadness to the reader while also putting them firmly in the know that ANY of these characters could die at any time. None of them are truly safe from the events of this book and the others to come. And that is what makes the book so enjoyable. It can hook the reader and never let go, forcing them to turn the page to see what happens next.
The novel also does the classic thing where one part of the encompassing story is given to the reader only for it to suddenly stop at the end of the chapter. Only for the book to move onto another part of the story, leaving the reader in suspense. A cheap move maybe but one that works to near perfection. It draws you in and leaves you gasping for more. Making you keep reading and becoming invested in the characters and the story.
That’s what makes Charles Soule’s opening gambit in this new universe so enjoyable. Rich characters, great characterization, classic events, and storytelling, and something different and with a few new quirks added in. As a ‘Star Wars‘ fan, I completely enjoyed the novel. It kept me hooked and entertained and waiting for the next novel to be published. Grab yourself a copy and marvel at this whole new universe that has been created. You’ll love it!
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!