Book Review | Star Wars: The High Republic Path Of Vengeance
“Path of Vengeance is a worthy climax to phase II of The High Republic. I have a new perspective on the Force thanks to Cavan Scott. Solid A,” says Max Nocerino
The second phase of The High Republic is coming to a close. But can Cavan Scott’s Path of Vengeance bookend this chapter with a flourish? Let’s find out.
The High Republic rolls out its latest novel in Phase II, and it was such a good story that I am almost sorry this phase is over. Phase III will resume chronologically after when Phase I took place in the timeline. And I have to say, the Original-Prequel-Sequel formula that the writers have implemented for this initiative worked for me. It’s more than likely that it was modeled after the Star Wars movies. And Phase II gave us a little history lesson while building up suspense for Phase III after the massive finale of Phase I.
THE BATTLE OF JEDHA
Path of Vengeance takes place shortly after The Battle of Jedha, Cataclysm, and Convergence storylines. The evil Mother of the Path of the Open Hand hatched a plot to instigate violence on Jedha. And also planned to re-ignite the forever war between twin planets Eiram and E’ronoh to further her goals to “free” the Force from all who may abuse it. Meaning primarily the Jedi. The Mother is a very strange individual. As a leader, she is very human and shows her weakness when it comes and in this book, has more defined mood swings. She has named Marda Ro, the Guide of the Path, and was expected to help lead the Path to their “ascension.”
Marda was the one who suggested the pilgrimage to Jedha. And after that disaster, the Mother plans to throw her former ally, the Herald under the bus to escape the violence and failure the path faced. She also pays Jedha a million Zukkels, which is apparently (according to the book), a lot of dough. The other books did not make it clear what befell the Herald. But this book finally explains it. He did not die. He was arrested for ensuing the riot AND killing Jedi who tried to contain the situation. The Herald does NOT like the Mother, as Marda’s cousin Yana revealed to him that the Mother is responsible for his daughter’s death. The Herald planned to bide his time before he could strike back and kill the Mother.
What I like about this book is that it covers many different perspectives. But it also isolates itself so much from the events of Cataclysm that it’s almost hard to fit the two together. Gella the Jedi, Axel Greylark, Yaddle, Creighton Sun, and Aida Forte. All the major players. The Klytobacter bioweapon plot. The heirs of E’ronoh and Riram – none of this stuff is even referenced in the Cataclysm book. Even though it happened in relatively close proximity to each other. I can’t tell if I like this storytelling technique or not.
I see arguments for both (being good or bad), and it puts these books on almost opposite sides of a coin. Thankfully, deceptions stories more than make up for the absence, as we got a view into the minds of the Mother, the Herald, Marda, and Yana. Marda becomes more and more of a religious zealot during the events of this book. And it’s intriguing to see her spiral down into this. She is still reeling after the death of her brief Jedi boyfriend Kevmo who died at the hands of the Mother’s Leveler creature. And she is holding back starting a romance with a new member of the Path, Bokana Koss a male Ossivian. I can understand why Marda is holding back, but love finds a way and Bokana’s kindness and emotional support eventually wins her over. They embark on a mission to Planet X with that creep Sunshine Dobbs to retrieve more Leveler eggs to use against the Jedi.
For those who haven’t read any of The High Republic stories, the Leveler is a hideous panther-like creature who preys on Force-sensitives and turns them into stone. It’s very hard to gauge what kind of person Marda’s cousin Yana is. Throughout the novels, she has shown that she is not hesitant to kill someone if they oppose her. But I see some good inside her that comes out when she shows remorse or guilt for certain things. Marda is also surely a decent person. Just a little misguided by the Path’s belief system. And when she falls from grace from the Path, it ignites a fire in her belly to prove to the Mother that she is worthy of being the Guide.
The Mother is a completely amoral being who is also a hypocrite and not who she says she is. I will not spoil it. But it becomes very apparent in the book that she is hiding something that she persecutes others for being. It almost reminded me of Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter book series. Deliberately hating Muggle-born wizards but being a Half-Blooded wizard himself and not a Pure Blood as his followers claim.
I really have nothing bad to say about this book other than the fact that I am sad the story is essentially over. Yet, Phase II did its job. It got me hyped for Phase III and the hopefully epic conclusion that the authors will cook up. I leave you with this. The moral of vengeance is simple: Sometimes blindly following a religion will lead you down a path where you eventually don’t recognize the person you see in the mirror. Zealotism can twist even the kindest of hearts and you need to step back from worship before you do something you regret.
Great work Cavan Scott. I have a new perspective on the Force thanks to you. Solid A.
Star Wars: The High Republic Path of Vengeance by Cavan Scott hits bookshelves on May 4th and is available to order now. Happy reading!
Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!