April 25, 2022

REVIEW Star Wars The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule

Star Wars The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Release Date: January 5, 2021
Format: Audiobook (library)
Publisher: Del Rey

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Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi kicks off a new era in the Star Wars canon storyline, the High Republic. I’ve read the High Republic books out of order (starting with Midnight Horizon) and I didn’t have too many issues following the change of events. However, for the best reading experience, I do recommend reading in order. For the adult books, that means starting with Light of the Jedi (this book!). For the young adult books, that means starting with Into the Dark by Claudia Gray. Middle-grade readers should start with Justina Ireland’s A Test of Courage

This book dumps a lot of characters on readers in a short amount of time, and it’s very hard to keep track of who’s who. There are more Jedi in this book than I can count (mainly due to the Jedi Order being at the height of its power during the High Republic era), and I never felt like there was a main character. The best comparison I can come up with to explain the issue with the number of characters is Avengers Endgame. That movie has a ton of characters in it, but we’ve been introduced to them over the course of multiple movies and gradually became invested in their stories. Light of the Jedi tried to use a massive ensemble cast in a similar manner, and it unfortunately backfired. Ultimately, this aspect affected my enjoyment of the book and was a big component of why I was unable to give the book a full five-star rating. 

Despite this issue, a major highlight of the High Republic books is how well the authors have connected their various contributions to the universe. The High Republic is essentially the literary version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it had a lot to live up to (especially with how big the fandom is). Finding the little easter eggs and connections between different books was fun. You see a common villain in the Nihil, and various locations that are referenced in multiple books (Starlight Beacon). However, I can also see why the reviews are mixed (it doesn’t maintain the same consistent feel or tone as the movies with how many authors are involved). I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, it was an enjoyable read with some minor issues here and there.  

In terms of worldbuilding, I was also quite intrigued with how this book explored the dynamics of hyperspace travel in the Star Wars Universe. An accident with a ship traveling through hyperspace is one of the main events of the book, so much of the action surrounds that (and why that accident should have never happened in the first place). It was also fun to learn more about the Force. It was very interesting to learn how Jedi Master Avar Kriss saw the Force as music, and how Master Elzar Mann was famous (or rather infamous) for his habit of experimenting with the Force to create new and innovative methods of using it. 

If you’re looking for a Star Wars book and have no issues with a long series commitment, then this is the book for you! If you would prefer a one-and-done Star Wars read, then Light of the Jedi might not be the best choice (I would instead recommend you check out Daniel Jose Older’s Last Shot: A Han and Lando Novel). I would also not recommend this book for those who are not already fans of the Star Wars universe (given that a lot of the storyline relies on readers being familiar with the basics).

About the Author

Charles Soule is a New York City-based novelist, comic book writer, musician, and attorney. While he has worked for DC and other publishers, he is best known for writing Daredevil, She-Hulk, Death of Wolverine, and various Star Wars comics from Marvel Comics (Star Wars, The Rise of Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, Poe Dameron, Lando and more), and his creator-owned series Curse Words (with Ryan Browne) and Undiscovered Country (with Scott Snyder & Giuseppe Camuncoli) from Image Comics and Letter 44 from Oni Press (with Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque.)

His first novel, The Oracle Year, about a man who can see the future and way this ability changes the world, was released in April 2018 by the Harper Perennial imprint of HarperCollins. His second novel, Anyone was released in November 2019.

Charles is also one of the founding creators of STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC which began with his #1 New York Times’ best-selling novel Light of the Jedi which released in January 2021.

He is currently writing Marvel’s flagship Star Wars comic, War of the Bounty Hunters, and Undiscovered Country. He also has a new series HELL TO PAY (with Will Sliney & Rachelle Rosenberg) coming out this summer.

A more complete (but not comprehensive) bibliography can be found here.

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