I was thrilled to see recently some revealed covers for the next wave of High Republic books that will be coming out starting in January 2022, and thought I’d share them here. To recap, here are the first two waves of Phase One (Called the Light of the Jedi):
Phase One, Wave One:
Light of the Jedi (Adult), by Charles Soule
Into the Dark (YA), by Claudia Gray
A Test of Courage (Middle Grade), by Justina Ireland
Phase One, Wave Two:
The Rising Storm (Adult), by Cavan Scott
Out of the Shadows (YA), by Justina Ireland
Race to Crashpoint Tower (Middle Grade), by Daniel Jose Older
I’ve read all of the Adult and YA books, but only one of the Middle Grade books, A Test of Courage, and only because I accidentally ordered it on Kindle, lol. It was actually pretty good! Here’s the next upcoming wave:
Phase One, Wave Three
There’s a ton of High Republic comics out there, too, but I don’t read those. I try to keep up with the events in them, but I can’t always do that. One I’d love to read, however, is this upcoming comic with Marchion Ro in it. He’s a fascinating character, and I’d love to know more about him.
The three Phases of the High Republic are:
Phase One: Light of the Jedi
Phase Two: Quest of the Jedi
Phase Three: Trial of the Jedi
Each Phase has three waves, I’m assuming, so that means a lot more High Republic books, and a lot more great stories! What I really love about the High Republic is that it focuses on the Jedi, for the most part, which is my favorite part of Star Wars. Anything Jedi, and I’m on board, lol.
What do you think of these covers? Do you like the High Republic books? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
So I finally caught up with all of my reading and finished four, count ’em, four books this week!
Out of the Shadows, by Justina Ireland. I finally finished this YA High Republic Star Wars book, mainly featuring young Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh and a young hauler named Sylvestri Yarrow. I’m really enjoying the High Republic stories, and this one’s not bad, but I also felt it was kind of all over the place. There seemed to be a lot going on, and yet nothing really seemed to happen, if that makes sense. There was a lot of characterization, which I like, but the plot was a bit dull, concerning a possible Nihil weapon being built in an out of the way sector of space. But it’s about Jedi, which is what I love about the High Republic, so I’ll keep reading!
Freefall, by Alex Segura. This is the other YA Star Wars novel I’ve been working through, this one about a young Poe Dameron and his time with the Spice Runners of Kijimi. This one was fine, as well, a solid story about 16-year-old Poe wanting to get away from the boredom of Yavin 4 and kind of accidentally getting involved in the Spice Runner organization. The only reason he really stays is because of Zorii Bliss, but she is clearly more invested in the group than he is. It’s a decent coming of age story for Poe, when he finally decides what path he wants to pursue in his life.
Truth and Other Lies, by Lyra Wolf. This is the latest Loki novel I’ve read, and it concerns mythical Loki and his relationships with the other gods of Asgard. This one is borderline paranormal romance, and it seems Loki’s slept with quite a few of them, including Sif, Thor’s wife, and Odin himself. But it’s when he meets the human woman Sygin that he falls head over heels. It’s also a sign that Ragnorok is coming, with Loki at its center, as The Destroyer of Worlds. Quite entertaining, actually. It’s the first of a trilogy, and I’ll be starting the second book, The Order of Chaos, soon. Here Loki is ginger-haired and green-eyed, incredibly vain but witty and passionate.
I Was Anastasia, by Ariel Lawhon. This is a novel my book club is reading, and it’s split between the events leading up to the murder of the Romanov family in 1918, and the story of Anna Anderson, the woman who claimed to be Anastasia. Since Anderson was proven a fraud in 2007 through DNA results, the book was less about “is she or isn’t she?” and more about “how in the world did this woman pretend to be Anastasia for 60 years? And why?” Although I was more interested in the real Anastasia and the lead-up to the murders, this was an interesting and ultimately heartbreaking read, for both Anastasias.
With all these books finished, what’s next? Well, the next Loki book, as I mentioned, as well as the next book club book, which we’ll choose in a few days. But I was also thinking about exploring the Old Republic in the Star Wars universe. I haven’t done that yet, and since there will be no more High Republic books out until January (except the comics) I thought it was high time. So I’ve ordered the first Revan book by Drew Karpyshyn. I think I’m ready to dive into that era of Star Wars.
On the Marvel front, I watched All Hail the King, a short (15 min) film with the Mandarin aka Trevor Slattery, the “villain”/actor from Ironman 3, and his time in prison. At first it seemed kind of pointless, if diverting, but then it got to the point in linking to the new Marvel movie Shang Chi and the Ten Rings. Oh, okay. So there’s that. (I haven’t seen Shang Chi yet, and probably won’t until it comes out on Disney+. But don’t quote me on that).
I much more enjoyed the new What If? episode with Dr. Strange. These shows have been fun and entertaining, with characters switching roles or what have you, but this one was really quite moving and heartbreaking. Besides Loki, Dr. Strange is my favorite Marvel character, and this is my favorite What If? by far. This one wasn’t so much about a hero turning evil (although that’s what happens), but about grief and the impact it has on an individual, and the entire universe. Really good stuff. I’m just wondering who the heck The Watcher is, to be honest. What’s his purpose? He can’t interfere, he can’t change things. He’s not a god, as he tells Dr. Strange, the first time he’s actually spoken to anyone he watches. I guess he’s just a celestial observer of some sort, lol.
Finally, in my quest to acquaint myself with more Tom Hiddleston work, I discovered a gem called OnlyLovers Left Alive. TH and his Marvel co-star Tilda Swinton (The Sorceress Supreme–who happened to show up in the What If episode above) are modern-day vampires that have been alive for several centuries. Now, I haven’t been into vampires since Anne Rice in the 90s, but this film was really quite fabulous. It meanders along like a dream, with Adam and Eve (yeah, those are their names, lol) doing their vampire thing–Adam is a musician, creating music (anonymously) and tinkering with technology in an abandoned part of Detroit, while his wife Eve lives in Tangier with her multitudes of books, hanging out with her vampire friend Christopher Marlowe (yeah, that one) who apparently wrote all of Shakespeare’s works. They don’t kill people for blood (not anymore, anyway) and have to find it some other way, especially since most people these days have contaminated blood (alcohol, drugs, chemicals, etc.) Mostly they just hang around and listen to music and talk about Life and stuff. But then Eve’s wild sister Ava shows up and causes trouble. I absolutely loved it! Hipster vampires, lol. Oh, and I love how Adam calls humans “zombies.”
That’s it for this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
Star Wars obviously has some great main characters, but it’s also filled with intriguing minor characters as well. So I thought it would be fun to do a series on these small but significant characters in the various Star Wars films.
The first one that came to mind, and seemed the most interesting to me, was Lor San Tekka (played by Max von Sydow). If you’ll remember, he was the person Poe Dameron met on Jakku at the beginning of The ForceAwakens and received some important information from him. It turned out to be a partial map that led to Ach-To, location of the first Jedi Temple, and of the missing Luke Skywalker as well.
When I first saw TFA, I had so many questions about this character: who was he, actually, and how did he acquire this information? How did he know Leia? How did Poe find him? And what the heck was his name (it was never mentioned in the film)?
We learn his name in the The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary, along with some other vital information about him. I don’t have that book, but learned some things about San Tekka during the course of my own research.
It turns out that San Tekka is a member of The Church of the Force, which is a group of beings who are not Force sensitive but believe in the power of the Force, and that there can be no balance in the Force until the Jedi return. The Church was forced to go underground during the Imperial era, but had more freedom during the New Republic. The village he was in on Jakku, Tanual, was made up of members of the Church of the Force (who unfortunately were all killed by Kylo Ren’s forces, as well as San Tekka himself).
Speaking of Kylo Ren, Lor San Tekka makes an appearance in the comic The Rise of Kylo Ren. San Tekka is an explorer, and one of his missions as a member of the Church of the Force is to locate ancient Jedi artifacts. Luke Skywalker, after the Battle of Endor, explores the galaxy also looking for Jedi artifacts before he begins to rebuild the Jedi Order. San Tekka accompanied Luke on several missions, including in The Rise of Kylo Ren. This is presumably how Leia knew him, and Kylo Ren, of course.
Kylo Ren: “Look how old you have become.”
Lor San Tekka: “Something far worse has happened to you.”
From The Force Awakens
So how did Poe find him? This is recounted in the comic Star Wars: Poe Dameron. In it, Poe and his team, Black Squadron, follow in San Tekka’s exploratory footsteps. They meet with a spiritual people called the Creche, whom San Tekka lived with for a time to learn about their culture.
Light of the Jedi Spoiler Alert!
Lor San Tekka is an explorer, and he comes from a long line of galactic explorers. One thing I found very interesting in the High Republic novel Light of the Jedi is that we meet some San Tekka ancestors. Marlowe San Tekka and his husband Vellis are visited by Jedi Knights Avar Kriss and Elzar Mann, during their investigation into the Great Disaster. Since the Disaster occurred in hyperspace, they went to the San Tekkas, who are the head of the San Tekka empire: the family had made their fortune in hyperspace prospecting, finding routes through the wild spaces of the galaxy. It was dangerous work, but the San Tekkas seemed to have a knack for it and sold the navigational data for a fee.
There’s another San Tekka in the book, one that Marlowe and Vellis know about but don’t share with the Jedi: Mari San Tekka. She was a relation who had been kidnapped by the Nihil when she was young, and is now over 100 years old. Mari has a special talent: she can find routes through hyperspace with her mind alone, and can navigate a ship through these paths with her mind. The Nihil–specifically, Marchion Ro and his father before him–have used that ability to give the Nihil the gift of the Paths and made them strong. It also caused the Great Disaster, orchestrated by Marchion Ro.
So Lor San Tekka comes from an important, and formerly wealthy, family (they might still be wealthy, I don’t know) connected to hyperspace lanes. He comes from a long line of explorers, people who may have had a special (Force connected?) talent in finding these routes.
I find this information about a minor character from a Star Wars movie all very fascinating. It took me a few years to figure out who the guy actually was and get my questions answered, lol, but that’s okay. I’m very eager to find out more about the San Tekkas in later installments of the High Republic novels.
What do you think of Lor San Tekka? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
So I usually review Star Wars books on my other blog, The Star Wars Reader, and I try to make them spoiler-free in case people haven’t read them yet and think they might want to. The point is to give a general idea of what the book is about so one can decide if they want to read it, without giving away major spoilers.
If you’re looking for a spoiler-free review of Light of the Jedi, you can go here to read it. Go there now, and don’t read any further. You’ve been warned.
But I wanted to also write a spoiler review for anyone who’s curious about the High Republic and what it’s all about, but doesn’t necessarily want to read the books. It’s a big, new addition to the Star Wars universe, and kind of a big deal as far as Canon goes. But not everyone wants to get into the books. If you’re that person, this post is for you.
This is more like a recap rather than a review, so to prevent this from being one looooong post, I’ve decided to break it up into three parts. This post will cover Part One of the book, The Great Disaster; another one will cover Part Two: The Paths; and another will cover Part Three: The Storm. Ready? Here we go:
Part One: The Great Disaster
Light of the Jedi takes place during the High Republic, roughly 200 years before The Phantom Menace. It’s a golden age–the Republic is at peace (their motto is “We are all the Republic”) and the Jedi are at the height of their powers.
But then the “Great Disaster” occurs: a transport ship called the Legacy Run encounters something in their path during hyperspace–something that is supposed to be impossible. In trying to avoid it the ship falls apart, and its debris scatters throughout neighboring space at near-lightspeed, threatening billions of lives in inhabited nearby systems.
One such system is the Hetzal system: an agricultural planet called Hetzal Prime, and its two moons, the Fruited Moon and the Rooted Moon. Minister Ecka on Hetzal Prime sends out a distress call, knowing full well there’s probably no time for anyone from the Core to arrive in time to help. He also knows there’s not enough time or ships to evacuate the billions of people on the planet, but all he can do is send out an evacuation order anyway and hope for the best. He and a group of techs, including a young genius named Keven Tarr, decide to stay on the planet and do what they can.
Luckily, a Republic ship called the Third Horizon is nearby, on its way back to Coruscant from the new space station called Starlight Beacon. It’s headed by Admiral Kronara, and a group of Jedi led by Jedi Master Avar Kriss.
Avar stays aboard the Third Horizon while a group of Jedi fly out in their Vectors, mosquito-like ships that the Jedi can control with the Force. They and a couple of pilots, Joss and Pikka, are planning on destroying a piece of debris headed straight for one of the moons. Avar, on board the Third Horizon connects to the Force and mind-links with the Jedi, to support and guide them. (In Legends, I believe this is called Battle Meditation).
One of the teams include the Jedi Master Te’Ami (a Duros), Nib Assek and her Padawan Burryaga, and Mikkel Sutmani (an Ithorian). The Padawan Burryaga, a young Wookie, has a special talent for feeling the emotions of others to a very strong degree. He tells his master, Nib Assek (who has learned Shyriiwook to better communicate with her Padawan), that there are people inside the debris fragment, terrified people who had been travelling on the Legacy Run.
Suddenly the mission has gotten much more complicated–not only must they prevent the fragment from smashing into the moon, but now they must somehow save the people inside that fragment.
Meanwhile, Jedi Master Loden Greatstorm and his Padawan Bell Zettifar fly down to the surface of Hetzal to help in any way they can. They find a mob of people trying to get through a tall gate surrounding a private residence that harbors a ship–one that can hold many more people than the family that owns it. But the family have put armed guards on the wall to keep the desperate people out. Loden confronts the guards and nearly convinces them to let the people in, but then they are attacked from behind by another group wanting to get on the ship. Meanwhile, time is running out as the debris fragments get ever nearer.
In another part of the system, Captain Bright, a Nautolan, of the Republic ship Aurora IX, and his two lieutenants Peebles and Innamen, arrive at a solar array that has been hit by a fragment. The array is quite unstable, but Captain Bright feels they must look for survivors. They do find injured survivors, but the array is dangerously close to exploding. They find a way to delay the explosion, and Captain Bright sacrifices himself to give the others time to get the injured off the station and onto the Aurora.
Meanwhile, Te’Ami’s team have come up with a plan to save the moon and the people on board the fragment: together, the Jedi will slow and hold the fragment with the Force, while Joss and Pikka attach cables to it to further slow and stop it. It would be difficult, but they have to try.
It works, but there’s a new threat: Avar Kriss senses a fragment heading toward one of Hetzal’s three suns, but there’s something about it that makes her uneasy; she senses something through the Force. After consulting some scans from Keven Tarr, it’s shown to contain liquid Tibanna. The LegacyRun had been hauling it, but now it was careening toward the sun and once it reaches it, it will explode–and the sun along with it, and presumably the rest of the system. Total annihilation.
Avar again links all the Jedi in the system, and then even more Jedi farther away, in different systems. Together, they all strain to move the fragment enough to make it miss the sun. It’s immensely difficult, and some Jedi even die in the attempt–but they make it work. Through the Force, they manage to move the fragment so it misses the sun, and continues on harmlessly into space.
I found this line interesting: “Across the galaxy, cheers of relief and joy. Yes, scowls from those who lived in darkness, hoping for the Jedi to fail, to be crushed, to die–but they were few.” A reference to the Sith in hiding? That’s what I’m assuming, an acknowledgment that they’re out there somewhere, but they’re not a part of this story. So far, anyway.
The Great Disaser is over–at least in Hetzal. But in the Ab Dalis system further along the hyperlane the Legacy Run had been traveling on, more fragments emerge. One hits a densely populated world in the system, and twenty million people die. This is the first Emergence. It’s assumed that many other Emergences will occur, and this is obviously a problem.
During the Ab Dalis Emergence, we are introduced to the Nihil. These are the space mauraders that are the villains of the story, and they take advantage of the situation here to raid some transports trying to get away from the destruction of the planet. The Nihil destroy several of the transports, then use poison gas kill the passengers of the others as they board them, wearing their terrifying masks.
So, going into Part Two, the Republic and the Jedi have two problems: the Emergences, and how to predict and deal with them, as well as the Nihil, who have become a growing threat to the galaxy.