Spoilers ahead for this book, if you haven’t read it and plan to I suggest you stop now

I never dived into the world of Star Wars novels in the past, the films give me my fill of story, and Jedi: Fallen order had temporarily quenched my thirst for a quality Star Wars video game. Then came along the introduction of a new era, a time totally detached from the Skywalker saga that we know so well, the time of the High Republic 200 years prior. The promise of fresh ideas and a look at the Jedi Order at the peak of its powers was enough to convince me to dip my toes in. Light of the Jedi was the book that convinced me to take the plunge, and it’s safe to say that I don’t regret it. As is the case with the first book in a series, there are a lot of names to remember, with several intertwining story arcs taking place simultaneously.

What this does is build a strong foundation for the new series, introducing main characters and the forces (pun intended) at play during this era. Forces such as the visionary behind the high republic, Chancellor Soh, the Jedi at the peak of their strength, through characters such as Loden Greatstorm and Avar Kriss. Also the Nihil, the antagonistic force of the story, an otherwise standard group of marauders made extraordinary through the ability gifted to them by Marchion Ro to bounce through hyperspace like never before. Although you don’t spend a huge amount of time with any one character, the core cast has been well established through this first entry. To top it off, the ending leaves you itching for more, which makes it great timing seeing as the second entry is releasing at the end of the month. The emerging leader of the Nihil, Marchion Ro manages to capture the Jedi master Loden Greatstorm, with his intentions for the Jedi shrouded in mystery.

For me, the highlight of this era so far is that it truly shows us the strength and capabilities of the Jedi. The ability that they show is colossal in comparison to the powers those in the order have during the prequels of the Skywalker saga. During the first act of the book, the Jedi as a collective carry out a task of epic proportions which acts as a perfect showcase for the abilities that the Jedi were once capable of. The catalyst for this story is a destroyed ship exiting hyperspace in fragments and destroying whatever they collide with. The Jedi, in one joined effort, manage to alter the course of one of these fragments that were set to collide with the planet Hetzal prime, which would have resulted in the entire system being destroyed. This was the moment that it really sunk in how powerful the Jedi could be, and were. In hindsight, this really emphasizes their downfall, even before order 66, as they became too entangled in politics during the prequels.

Although this new era lacks a certain gravitas that the Skywalker saga has, it impresses in other ways. Where there is no chosen one to save the galaxy and bring balance to the force (as of yet), there is a promising set of characters who all play an important role in the story. Where there is a galaxy at war in the originals, there is one at peace during this era, with the Nihil appearing to be the only threat bigger than planetary disputes. What does remain is the underpinning focus of the narrative, the Jedi Order, and their part to play in the story. Reading about how they fly with grace in their Vectors (2-person all purposes Jedi ship), with skill that is unparalleled throughout the galaxy, and how they stand as a beacon of hope for all they come into contact with is certainly a high point for the book.

Light of the Jedi brings a strong start to the table for the first new-era brought to the Star Wars universe, with all the tools necessary to build on this success in the upcoming entry The Rising Storm.

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