Earlier this month, Disney Lucasfilm Press kicked off a new era of Star Wars: The High Republic. This is an era several centuries before the events of the movies and is previously unexplored in the current canon. The first book is Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule, and DLP was kind enough to send me a copy to review. I have to say that I freaking loved this book. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers for everyone.
This book is absolutely incredible. Soule does such an amazing job of painting a picture of the galaxy during the High Republic. The characters are unique, and it was very easy to fall in love with each of them for how different they were. Also, Soule does something that more people need to do, make main characters be other species than human! Yes, there are some humans, and I love them, but it’s so refreshing to hear about Duros, Sullustan, Wookie, and Twi’lek Jedi to name a few. It’s something that I enjoyed about Justina Ireland’s A Test of Courage. Now, if only the movies could follow suit and have a main character be non-human.
Something else that I appreciate about Light of the Jedi that might be more of a problem with the books I normally read, his main focus is the story and not the characters. That doesn’t mean that the characters aren’t well-written or fleshed out. In fact, he does an amazing job of building those characters. However, he doesn’t have one to three characters that we’re following around. The book is written in a way where it feels like we simply follow the story and see the characters as they interact with the story. This is in contrast to most books that have a main protagonist that almost every moment of every chapter follows and then you’re told what else was happening via another character expositing the information to our main hero. It felt more like how a TV show might handle a stor,y and I really liked it.
Soule did a great job at building the world and the characters, and he also did a great job of starting the High Republic. Towards the end of the book I was really curious as to how it would tie into the larger picture because it looked more closed-ended, but sure enough, he was able to circumvent my expectations and leave it more open while also creating a pretty clear path for where the story is headed.
Light of the Jedi has quickly become one of my favorite works in Star Wars in the last few years. I had become greatly disenchanted by the Jedi. They seemed boring. This book really rekindled a flame for me though. It helped me see Jedi differently, and that’s because Jedi were different. Soule explained how the Force works differently for each Jedi and really brought the Force alive as opposed to it feeling like a mere tool. For example, Avar Kriss sees the Force as music, while one of my favorite characters, Elzar Mann, sees it more like an ocean. In all honesty, I read a few chapters and immediately went, “Wow, the Jedi in the prequels suck.” Don’t get me wrong, Obi-Wan Kenobi is still my favorite character. However, after seeing what the Jedi could do in the High Republic, the Jedi from the prequels just pale in comparison.
I also like how Soule highlighted the ways that Jedi approach things differently. There are some that are more like how we think of Jedi in terms of being more rigid about the Force, but then there’s Elzar who is constantly wanting to tinker with the Force or a non-Force user thinking of a way to use the Force to help a situation.
Light of the Jedi is absolutely incredible. I cannot recommend this title enough to fans of Star Wars. It quickly became one of my favorite titles, and I cannot wait to continue reading about the High Republic.