It is not an easy feat to delve into uncharted territories of Star Wars‘ expanded mythos. Books surrounding the multi-billion dollar science fiction franchise have been around for decades, but for what seems like the first time, the series is now exploring prequel territory – even to the prequels.
Last year Star Wars owners Disney announced they would be creating a new era of the Star Wars story – The High Republic.
The High Republic is the period of time in the Star Wars universe that predates the prequel trilogy of films – The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith – by about 200 years.
For the massive Star Wars fans out there, The High Republic arrives just 800 years after The Old Republic – meaning the Jedi are in full-force at the time of reading.
Enter Light of the Jedi – the first novel in the newly-established universe of The High Republic, written by Charles Soule – who is best known for writing the Kylo Ren graphic novel series.
In short, Light of the Jedi is the Star Wars story that fans of the mythos have been dying to read.
It is the height of the Jedi’s reign, and the mystical warriors are now better perceived as galactic superheroes – swooping in at a moment’s notice to fight off the forces of evil.
In Light of the Jedi’s case, a great calamity is about to occur at Hetzal, a planet in the galaxy, potentially killing millions of innocent people, and it is up to a small cohort of fierce and powerful Jedi Knights and Masters to solve the problem.
Already, some of the story’s characters are taking on iconic form, akin to that of Mace Windu and Master Yoda, while simultaneously breaking hearts and expectations.
Enter perhaps one of the most interesting characters in the entire series so far – Jedi Master Loden Greatstorm.
A Twi’lek Jedi is not a new thing, but a Jedi this interesting is. Greatstorm is not only supremely-well named, but is full of delicate nuances that make him an incredible force of nature throughout the book, and someone whose presence will be felt throughout the series forever, going forward.
Boiled into the 400-page tome is a number of tropes from the Star Wars movies – unbeatable odds, betrayal, a tussle of wills between Master and Padawan – but they aren’t overwritten here.
A collection of scenes in Light of the Jedi could have been ripped straight other well-established examples of Star Wars content – extremely good examples – and fans are going to lap it up.
The novel isn’t without its weaknesses however – although they are few.
Its story, right from the first page, is entirely engaging, and an absolute page-turner – however it does suffer from a bit of a lull shortly thereafter.
Some of the necessary bouts of exposition throughout the book were a little thick, and may leave some readers itching to get back into the high-stakes Jedi problem solving when things get turned down.
With that said, many fans of the franchise will adore this attention to detail, and may perhaps be yearning for even more in-depth Star Wars lore in the future.
Despite this, the story itself was sublime. It felt like a completely new tale that didn’t rely on the already well-established mythos of the Skywalkers or Darth Vader to keep you interested.
It also managed to, surprisingly, evoke a lot of purpose and emotion on a number of characters – something I am interested to see continue going forward in the continuing series, especially with new authors along the way.
Star Wars Light of the Jedi is a gorgeous first dip into The High Republic. Although it is just a taste of the story, and what is to come, it is an absolutely astounding set-up for the huge series that is on the way. The most impressive piece of the puzzle is the various characterisations that are displayed throughout the novel; a collection of heroes and villains that fans will love to explore going forward. Light of the Jedi is the next step in the Star Wars expanded universe, and it could be its best yet.
Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi is published by Century, and is out now.