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.
Thanks for reading. For light and life!