Phase 2 of the High Republic will be upon us soon, and as a fan who loves the HR, I thought I’d list the upcoming books. I could only find a description for the adult novel, Convergence.
Phase 2, Wave 1:
Path of Deceit (YA), by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland, Oct. 4th, 2022.
Convergence (Adult), by Zoraida Cordova, Nov. 15th, 2022. Here’s the Amazon description:
It is an age of exploration. Jedi travel the galaxy, expanding their understanding of the Force and all the worlds and beings connected by it. Meanwhile, the Republic, led by its two chancellors, works to unite worlds in an ever-growing community among near and distant stars.
On the close orbiting planets of Eiram and E’ronoh, the growing pains of a galaxy with limited resources but unlimited ambition are felt keenly. Their hatred for each other has fueled half a decade of escalating conflict and now threatens to consume surrounding systems. The last hope for peace emerges when heirs from the two planets’ royal families plan to marry.
Before lasting peace can be established, an assassination attempt targeting the couple tilts Eiram and E’ronoh back into all-out war. To save both worlds, Jedi Knight Gella Nattai volunteers to uncover the culprit, while Chancellor Kyong appoints her son, Axel Greylark, to represent the Republic’s interests in the investigation.
But Axel’s deep distrust of the Jedi sparks against Gella’s faith in the Force. She’s never met such a puffed-up, privileged party boy, and he’s never met a more self-serious, relentless do-gooder. The more they work to untangle the shadowy web of the investigation, the more complicated the conspiracy appears to be. With accusations flying and potential enemies in every shadow, the pair will have to work together to have any hope of bringing the truth to light and saving both worlds.
Quest for the Hidden City (Middle Grade), by George Mann, Feb. 14th, 2023
The Battle of Jedha (Audiobook), by George Mann, Feb. 14th, 2023
Phase 2, Wave 2 (No covers available yet):
Cataclysm (Adult), by Lydia Kang, April 4th, 2023
Quest for Planet X (Middle Grade), by Tessa Gratton, April 4th, 2023
Path of Vengeance (YA), by Cavan Scott, May 2nd 2023
I plan to read all of these books, the adult and YA as they come out, and eventually get to the middle-grade books (I usually get these on deal on my Kindle at a later date). I may even read the script of the audiodrama The Battle of Jedha, although I didn’t for the Phase 1 audiodrama, Tempest Runner. Tempest Runner is about the Nihil Lourna Dee, and I wasn’t that invested in her particular story outside the novels. But Jedha? Yes, please! Ever since Rogue One and the YA book Guardians of the Whills (with Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus), I’ve had a fascination for Jedha and the holy city.
I can’t wait for this next Phase of the High Republic!
Have you read the High Republic books? Looking forward to this Phase? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
It’s no secret that I LOVE the High Republic era of Star Wars. My favorite aspect of Star Wars has always been the Jedi, and the High Republic focuses on the Jedi of this time period–who they are and what makes them tick. It’s awesome.
Having said that, I do have favorites out of all the adult and young adult novels of Phase One that have come out this past year, and in this post I’m going to rank them and give my reasons for their position on the list.
I thought it would be fun to show the alternate covers of each book (if there are any), instead of the usual, often dorky, covers of Jedi holding lightsabers. Let’s get started!
The Fallen Star, by Claudia Gray (Third adult novel)
The Fallen Star is the third and final adult novel of Phase One, and it’s my favorite because 1. Claudia Gray is a fantastic storyteller, and 2. it’s a nail-biting, heartbreaking finale where the Jedi obviously lose in a big way, leaving you wondering where they’ll go from here. There are some painful deaths, a terrifying threat (to the Jedi themselves), some very sticky situations to get out of, and some really wonderful relationships that are explored. It’s truly a satisfying culmination to Phase One, while still leaving you breathless for more.
2. Into the Dark, by Claudia Gray (First YA novel)
Again, Claudia Gray is at the top of my list, because she just handles the characters and the story so well. It’s hard to impress me with a YA book, but she does so here. Maybe it’s because Reath Silas is my favorite Padawan, and he is heavily involved in the storyline in this book. It’s also the only book that deals directly with the Drengir (a threat that is mostly dealt with in the comics). The Drengir are carnivorous, evil tree-beings, and have the potential to be very silly (and hence work best in the comics), but she handles them well here, at least as well as they can be handled. She also introduces the Vessel crew in this book, and Leox and Geode are some of my favorite minor characters in the whole era.
3. Light of the Jedi, by Charles Soule (First adult novel)
The very first adult novel, and first High Republic book to come out, is a great read and does a fantastic job at introducing this new era and its Jedi. It’s clear we’re in a very different time period here, and have Jedi who are very different from the prequel Jedi; Soule does a wonderful job bringing them to life in this story. The book begins with the Great Disaster and the fallout from that event, as well as introduces the new villains, the Nihil.
4. The Rising Storm, by Cavan Scott (Second adult novel)
For some reason, it was hard for me to get into this book on my first read; but on my second read, I loved it. This book deals with the Nihil attack on the Republic Fair on the planet Valo. It’s executed quite well, and I love Elzar Mann’s story arc. There’s a lot going on here, with multiple points of view, but it all comes together wonderfully.
5. Midnight Horizon, by Daniel Jose Older (Third YA novel)
I was excited for this book, as it starred Reath Silas again (among others), but I found it to be a slow start. It was well into the third act before it suddenly got very, very good. I suppose you could call it a slow burn leading up to the explosion, lol. It concerns Reath and his master, Cohmac Vitus, along with Jedi Master Kantam Sy and Padawan Ram Jomoram going to Corellia to investigate a possible Nihil threat there. One thing Older did very well is characterization, and the relationships between the characters. As throughout all of the High Republic stories, this one’s central theme is how the Jedi should deal with attachment and love, and their struggle with their emotions. Oh yeah, and the Nihil threat, lol. (Check out my review of the book here).
6. Out of the Shadows, by Justina Ireland (Second YA novel)
I had a hard time with this one. I’m guessing it’s because it didn’t mainly concern the Jedi; rather, it was about a young woman named Sylvestri Yarrow, a cargo pilot who lost her ship to the Nihil and who goes to Coruscant, first to tell the Republic about the Nihil activity, and second, to try to get her ship back. She gets pulled into a scheme involving a wealthy young man from the Graf family, a Nihil plot to create some kind of gravity weapon, and how her missing and presumed dead mother is involved in it all. The only interesting part was when she and Vernestra Rwoh run into Mari San Tekka, and the old woman gives Vernestra some coordinates that are still a mystery.
I’ve read the middle-grade books of Phase One–A Test of Courage, Race to Crashpoint Tower, and Mission to Disaster. They’re all quite good, but I don’t really have a favorite out of them. I’d rank them equally.
By the way, here’s a few more alternate covers I found:
I can’t wait for Phase Two, which reportedly takes place 150 years before the events of this phase. It kind of threw me at first, but I’m confident the creators know what they’re doing and there’s a very good reason for this. I believe Phase Two starts in October of this year.
I love Star Wars fan art, I love the High Republic, and I love the artist Jake Bartok. This post combines all three, showcasing some pieces I haven’t shared on this blog, or haven’t even seen myself until recently.
This one shows the characters of the YA novel Out of the Shadows: Vernestra Rwoh, Reath Silas, Sylvestri Yarrow, Lourna Dee. I’m not sure who the hooded figure on the left is. Maybe Cohmac Vitus?
Every Star Wars storytelling era must have a trio of one woman, and two men who share friendship and/or relationships. For the High Republic, it’s Avar Kriss, Elzar Mann, and Stellan Gios.
This is a nice cast photo: in the front is Bell Zettifar, Vernestra Rwoh, and either Reath Silas or Imri Cantaros, I’m not sure. In the middle is Burryaga. And lining the back is Indeera Stokes, Loden Greatstorm, Nib Assek, and Porter Engle.
This is a great one of Padawan Bell Zettifar and his master, Loden Greatstorm. And Ember, of course!
This is a fun one showing various characters, including Vernestra with her purple lightwhip, and Zeen Mrala in the back (the pink one), a Force-sensitive friend of the Jedi. Marchion Ro, the Eye of the Nihil, is at the top center. Oh, and the Jedi vectors are shown in the corners. They’re Jedi ships that are piloted by the Force, which is pretty cool in my opinion.
This is Bartok’s medieval version, which he likes to do sometimes. I like the shield with the Jedi symbol on it, and the swords inscribed with Aurabesh. Vernestra’s whip at her belt is a nice touch. And does Marchion Ro have horns??
This is a nice tryptic showcasing various characters. On the right in the far right corner is Lilly, a Jedi from the manga Edge of Balance, which I’d like read soon. My daughter’s name is Lilly, so I automatically love her, lol.
These are absolutely gorgeous images, and I’m always interested in what he’ll do next. Check out his work on Twitter@JakeBartok.
What do you think of these images? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
The High Republic is an exciting new era in Star Wars, taking place two hundred years prior to The Phantom Menace. That means lots of new, interesting characters to get to know. However, since Yoda is so long-lived, he is quite alive during the High Republic, at a mere 700 or so years. I thought I’d take a look at some Yoda representations during the High Republic era.
This one seems to be an earlier concept piece prior to the release of Project Luminous (the name the creators gave to the High Republic publishing initiative):
This is an amazing image of Yoda with Jedi Knight Keeve Trennis; I believe it is a comic variant cover:
This is a more detailed and stylized concept piece of Yoda in his “Temple” garb (a fancier, more formal version of Jedi robes):
This gorgeous image is of Yoda with Jedi Master Avar Kriss, and is another comic cover variant:
Here’s Yoda in his “Mission” garb, a plainer and more utilitarian version of Jedi robes:
Yoda is definitely a well-respected part of the High Republic Jedi Council, but is not the Grand Master yet.* His appearances are few and far between in the novels, but has a slightly larger role to play in the comics, especially the High Republic Adventures, in which he leads a group of younglings and Padawans. It’s always great to see this iconic, wisdom-dispensing character in any era.
What do you think of these images? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it.
For light and life!
*Edited–He actually is a Grandmaster, but he shares the post with two other Jedi: Lahru and Pra-tre Veter.
I don’t have a lot to report this week. I’ve been reading Mission to Disaster, by Justina Ireland, the middle-grade High Republic book recently out, and I’m almost done with it. I don’t usually do reviews for the middle grade books, but I might do so this time. It’s quite good.
Other than that, March is looking wide open as far as books and shows go. Moon Knight premieres on the 31st, but other than that, there’s no Star Wars or Marvel show that I can think of that will fill up the month. There’s also no big book releases. The months of April through August (at least) will keep me busy with a new book release per month, but March? Zip. What’s a Star Wars fan to do?
Well, catch up on other things, for one. I remembered I’d ordered Before the Awakening, by Greg Rucka, on my Kindle a while ago but never read for one reason or another. It’s a YA book (I think) that has some stories about Rey, Finn and Poe before the events of The Force Awakens. I’ll probably dig into that.
I’ve also ordered the combined comics of the Marvel High Republic series, as well as the High Republic Adventures. I’m pretty excited about this, as I’ve long wanted to read these comics. I’m not a huge comic fan, but I know that the story being told in the High Republic era encompasses both books and comics. There are characters that feature mainly in the comics (like Avar Kriss, Keeve Trennis, Skeer, and many others), as well as storylines that I feel are important to understand the totality of the High Republic era.
I also think that, with a storyline that has no live-action medium (or even an animation), the comics really fill in the look of the High Republic. What do these characters look like? What about the ships, and the droids, and other aspects of the High Republic that we’ve never seen before? The comics answer those questions and gives us a visual to latch onto. So yeah, I can’t wait to read these!
Oh, and by the way, we’ve got a cover for the YA book by Kiersten White about a young Obi-Wan Kenobi coming out on July 26th:
Obi-Wan looks pretty intense here, lol. Definitely on my pre-order list.
That’s really about it right now. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
Daniel Jose Older’s YA novel Midnight Horizon is the third, and last YA offering in the first phase of the High Republic books, and it was an enjoyable read. It takes place just before and during the events of The Fallen Star, the adult novel by Claudia Gray that tells of the Nihil attack and destruction of Starlight Beacon.
The Nihil are also causing problems on Corellia (Han Solo’s home planet); while the marauders have long plagued the Outer Rim, most of the Inner Rim is complacent that they wouldn’t dare attack a Core world. They also believe that the Jedi and Republic forces have hunted down and destroyed most of the Nihil and that they’re not that big a problem anymore. Oh, how wrong they are.
Corellia is famous for its shipyards, and it makes sense that the Nihil would want to attempt to steal some ships for their own nefarious purposes. Their plan is surprisingly sophisticated, but it’s interrupted by a group of young people that include Jedi Padawans Reath Silas and Ram Jamoram (and their masters, Cohmac Vitus and Kantam Sy), and a young native with pink hair named Crash who runs a protection agency.
Most of the book is a slow burn of character development and setting up of events that lead to a huge, rather exciting climax in the last part of the book. I will admit that I wasn’t particularly wowed by the first part of the book, and Crash was not a character I found interesting in any way. I’m a little tired of brilliant adolescents who vacillate between teen angst and impossible feats of valor and wisdom. But that’s YA for you–I’m not the ideal reader.
The Jedi, of course, are exceptions to this very biased opinion of mine, lol. Reath Silas is my favorite High Republic Padawan, precisely because he originally was the bookish, studious type who, while quite skilled with the lightsaber, hoped that he never had to use it. He didn’t want adventures. He wanted to live in the Jedi Archives. And I could totally relate. But, over the course of several YA novels, he’s been forced into living a life of war with the Nihil, and it’s rather poignant to see him struggling with that transition. And I love seeing him mentor the younger Padawan Ram, who is also struggling with the transition. He just wants to tinker with machines.
Mostly I preferred the scenes with the older Jedi, Cohmac and Kantam. Until the very end of the book, they took a backseat to the younger characters, but they, too, had their own emotional struggles to deal with. Since Into the Dark, Cohmac has struggled with his emotions and the Jedi Order’s stance on how to deal with them (though the High Republic Jedi are still much more open with attachment and emotions than the prequel Jedi). Kantam Sy (a non-binary character) had even left the Order for a time when they were young, to explore their burgeoning need to explore life outside of the Jedi. They tell this story to Cohmac during some of their down times.
All the Jedi, Masters and Padawans alike, struggle with their emotions and their attachments to each other and others, as the story unfolds. Especially as they find out what’s happening to Starlight Beacon; they worry for their friends and struggle with rage against the Nihil.
Even Crash, who lost a good friend at the beginning of the book, struggles with attachment–she decides to distance herself from her other friends in order to prevent being hurt again in that way.
The end of the book was inarguably the best part, as it climaxes into a battle between the Jedi and their allies and the Nihil in the shipyards. And we get a surprise appearance from a familiar green friend, who has also figured into some of Kantam’s memories in the book.
In the end, this was a pretty good book, but I do prefer Claudia Gray’s Into the Dark, as far as YA High Republic novels go. I do like how we get to know Corellia a bit more during the High Republic, its politics and inner workings (and we get to see the Grindalids, the White Worm gangs that rule the sewers and underground passageways that we see in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the book Most Wanted). And I finally got to see some of the characters from the comics, like Lula Talisola, Zeen Mrala, Krix, and others that Older created for his High Republic Adventures comics.
I would give Midnight Horizon 3.5 out of 5 lightsabers.
Have you read Midnight Horizon? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
Now that Phase One of the High Republic has concluded (for the most part), it’s time to look forward to Phase Two (called Quest of the Jedi), which I believe will start releasing this fall. Starwars.com just released the titles of the first wave of books in Phase Two along with the authors:
Unfortunately, there are no covers yet available, but as soon as they are final I’ll post them here. Justina Ireland and Claudia Gray are the only two original authors writing for this first wave, but I imagine we’ll see more of Cavan Scott, Charles Soule, and Daniel Jose Older. I’m looking forward to reading these new authors and what they can bring to Star Wars!
The High Republic era is led by Chancellor Lina Soh, who is often flanked by her two targons, Matari and Voru. Named after ancient Coruscanti gods, the targons are pets, comrades, and protectors who can sense Lina’s emotions. It’s probably the coolest thing I’ve seen in the High Republic, among a lot of cool things.
Lina is a great visionary for the Republic at this time, and is responsible for the idea of Starlight Beacon, which was meant to be the first in a network of such stations across the galaxy. It is one of her Great Works, meant to bring the galaxy closer together, particularly to bring the Outer Rim into the fold. Lina Soh coined the term “We are all the Republic,” and came up with the theme of The Spirit of Unity for the Republic Fair. She believes the galaxy is stronger if everyone works together. A simple, if idealistic, belief that doesn’t prepare her for the scourge that is the Nihil: mauraders who take what they want in violent, cruel ways, and has no respect for the Republic or the Jedi, or the sanctity of life, for that matter.
Lina has a 17-year old son, Kitrep (“Kip”) who doesn’t always like the limelight of being the Chancellor’s son. But they are close, and he was one of the first at her bedside when she was injured during the Nihil attack on the Republic Fair (she lost part of a leg in that attack).
Here’s a little blurb about her from Starwars.com:
Here is a part of her speech at the dedication of Starlight Beacon:
“You know I envision a galaxy of Great Works — connected and inspiring and filled with peace for all citizens. I believe this is possible, but not because of me, or any special ability of mine. I believe it is possible because of us. Because we can and will work together to achieve it. We are, every one of us, a great work. I see a galaxy where we use our strengths to shore up each other’s weaknesses, where we understand and celebrate our differences and hold them up as valuable. We are a Republic where every voice matters, whether in the Core or on the farthest planet at the edge of the Rim.“
She’s a true foil to the selfish anarchy of the Nihil.
Here’s a lovely rendition of Lina by Ironickdesigns:
(There may be some spoilers for The Fallen Star in this post).
The Fallen Star, by Claudia Gray, is the third adult book in Phase One of The High Republic series, and it does a great job of wrapping up the “beginning of the end” of the the Jedi and The Republic at their very best.
This trilogy has shown the rise of the Nihil, a group of anarchist mauraders who take what they want, when they want, without regard to the lives of others. In Light of the Jedi, the Nihil cause the Great Disaster; in The Rising Storm, they attack the Republic Fair on Valo; and in this book, they insidiously attack the star of Chancellor Lina Soh’s Great Works, Starlight Beacon. Meant to be a light in the darkness of space across the Outer Rim, the state-of-the-art space station is home to a Jedi contingent, an advanced medical bay, and a place of refuge for people who need help.
Once again, the Republic and the Jedi believe the Nihil threat is nearly over, but they are wrong. They have no idea the Eye of the Nihil, their leader, is Marchion Ro, who has worked in the shadows, and who has sent a secret group of followers to the station to incapacitate it. They’ve also smuggled a creature onboard that somehow affects a Jedi’s connection to the Force. So when things start to go wrong, the Jedi are weakened.
Jedi Master Stellan Gios has stepped in as Marshall while Avar Kriss is on a mission to find Lourna Dee, who the Jedi believe is the Nihil leader. Elzar Mann, his good friend and fellow Jedi Master, has joined following a sabbatical after struggling with the dark side in the previous book. Elzar is accompanied by Orla Jareni, a Jedi who has become a Wayseeker, or one who explores the Force on their own, outside of the Order. Also on the station are Jedi Master Nib Assek and her Padawan, the Wookiee Burryaga, Jedi Master Indeera Stokes and her Padawan Bell Zettifar (along with his charhound, Ember, of course), and a Jedi we haven’t seen yet, Regald Coll (who happens to think he’s hilarious).
Also on board are pilots Affie Hollow, Leox Gyasi, and Geode from the Vessel (all were in Gray’s YA book Into the Dark); Nihil collaborators Chancey Yarrow and Nan, who were brought on board as prisoners; as well as several other pilots who happened to be on the station when things start to go wrong.
The Nihil saboteurs manage to sneak on board, cut communications, disable the escape pods and just about everything else; then blow up part of the station which causes them to move into the pull of the planet Eiram’s gravity (the station had been on a mission to help the planet after a devastating storm). So basically Starlight will eventually fall into the planet’s atmosphere and plummet to the surface, presumably killing all on board and a good portion of a coastal city on Eiram.
The Jedi begin a problem-solving mission, but their efforts are sabotaged by the mysterious creature that is roaming the station–one that instills crippling fear and paralysis in any Jedi who comes near, blocks their access to the Force, and that will literally suck the life out of them, reducing them to dry husks if they don’t get away. Several Jedi fall prey to this creature, whose description is deliberately vague, from the disoriented and terrified Jedi’s point of view.
The entire story takes place on the station (except for the few brief scenes with Marchion Ro on his ship), which leads to a kind of claustrophobic feeling, a feeling of urgency and anxiety.
The most interesting character arc in the book for me is Stellan’s–Stellan is a picture-perfect Jedi, the poster boy for the Jedi Order and the face of the Jedi for the Republic. Now, he’s cut off not only from the Order but from the Force itself, and Stellan is having an identity crisis. He doesn’t know who he is outside of the Order or without his connection to the Force, and it seriously affects his confidence. The very name of the book, in my opinion, not only refers to Starlight Beacon, but to Stellan himself. His friends, Elzar and Avar, had always referred to him as their “polestar,” a moral compass for them both. But now Stellan barely knows which way is up, lol.
Elzar, too, struggles in this story. When he is on retreat with Orla, he comes to realize his descent into dark-side emotions is a result of his denial of his feelings for Avar. Interestingly, I think Elzar is a foil to Anakin. Anakin struggles with similar emotions, and I think he would have done much better during the High Republic. First of all, when Elzar recognizes the dark side in his emotions and actions, he goes straight to his friends, confident that they will help him. And they do. He gets support, love, tears and hugs, special retreats. He’s taught to deal with these emotions, not bury them, not deny them. It’s a different situation, but I can’t help but think of Anakin’s mishandling when I read about Elzar.
Anyway, Elzar has decided to back off from the Force for awhile until he feels confident he’s dealt with these things properly, and as a result, doesn’t initially feel the disorientation the other Jedi feel on the station. This forces him to step up and become a leader when Stellan is out of commission, something he’s never felt comfortable with, and does a fine job. But Elzar isn’t completely out of the dark side woods yet.
I wish Avar were more a part of this story, but she’s been featured mostly in the comics, so even though she arrives on the station at some point, her part in this story is told in a comic. This frustrates me a bit–I want more of her, and of other characters that have been exclusively in the comics, like Keeve Trennis and Skkeer, but I can barely keep up with the books, never mind the comics (financially anyway, lol). I’m hoping for an omnibus of the High Republic comics soon, so I can get it all in one place, at once.
But that’s a minor complaint. It’s an excellent book, and ends this phase in a dramatic and foreboding way. I’m sad that we won’t see these characters again for awhile, as Phase Two is going even further back in time, to 150 years before this story. I’m disappointed about that, but have faith that the writers know what they’re doing. At least the next book in this wave is a YA book called Midnight Horizon by Daniel Jose Older, and focuses on Jedi I got to know in Gray’s Into the Dark, Master Cohmac Vitus and Padawan Reath Silas.
I would give The Fallen Star 4.5 out of 5 lightsabers.
Have you read The Fallen Star? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!