I have very little patience for gatekeeping in fandom, because people can like what they like, but for myself, I was a bit upset that Disney didn’t at least allow the Expanded Universe of Star Wars novels to get a final wrap up on some of the most important stories. Yeah, I went ahead and read fanfic that wrapped up the stories of Luke, Jacen, Jaina, et al. in a satisfactory way, but I still wanted more official novels that I didn’t have to go through a redo in my headcanon to figure out. Along comes The High Republic, and I was excited to dive in. I read Light of the Jedi the moment my library got it in, but then forgot to review it. With the second batch of High Republic stuff coming, I revisited the novel.
Light of the Jedi does a great job introducing a “new”-ish time period to Star Wars readers. A large number of new characters are thrown at the reader pretty quickly, so while we don’t get to spend enough time with any of them to get to know them better, we also get a feel that this world is pretty big. One of the most valid complaints with Star Wars in general, in my opinion, is that the universe is so big but feels small because a group of about 10 characters is responsible for basically everything in-universe of any import. With the large number of characters introduced in Light of the Jedi, I’m hoping this won’t be as much of an issue for this series.
SPOILER-ish stuff after this
The central thrust of the plot is a looming disaster of some kind of asteroid-things coming in and shattering a bunch of inhabited planets. But, plot twist, those “asteroids” are actually broken up pieces of an inhabited ship itself so the Jedi and others involved in trying to stop them from smashing all these planets can’t just blast them out of the sky! It’s got all the tension and big impact that some of the best space opera has, but also some of the campy silliness that is part of Star Wars. I was a fan of the main plot, even though I had to enormously suspend my disbelief at points. For example, the speed at which this debris is coming in seems to vary as necessary at the speed of plot. At one point, it’s said to be traveling at or near hyperspace speeds or lightspeed, but then it somehow takes minutes or hours to cross the space between a few objects. Light from the sun takes about five and a half hours to get to Pluto, so some of this timing is just… off.
The stakes felt pretty high in the book, though, because literally any character could die or be put in mortal peril. As a reader, I had no idea who might make it out or why. That’s because we don’t have the notion that any of these characters have to be immortal for the plot to continue. It certainly feels like a new page in the era of Star Wars novels, and I’m excited to see where it goes.
Light of the Jedi is a solid introduction to The High Republic. I’ll be reading more of these novels as they come out, and I’m hopeful we’ll get that Star Wars-y feel with a bigger universe than ever. Let me know what you thought of the book in the comments!
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