INITIAL THOUGHTS: The High Republic Wave Two
Updated: Jun 27, 2021
Citizens of the galaxy, prepare yourselves! The time of the Republic Fair is upon us and the next wave of High Republic stories is only one month away.
Here at Friends of the Force, we are reading at lightspeed to bring you the most comprehensive coverage in the months ahead. With the content embargo finally lifted as of today, we’re excited to share our spoiler-free reaction on Race to Crashpoint Tower by Daniel José Older and our initial thoughts on The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott!
SARAH HASS: Race to Crashpoint Tower sports a slim frame, coming in at just about 200 pages, but it packs a big punch! In this second installment of The High Republic’s middle-grade offerings, Daniel José Older gives us a story starring Ram Jomaram, a Jedi Padawan on Valo, where the Republic Fair is set to be held. Ram’s talents lie not with combat, but in mechanics, and he soon realizes that that local comms tower (aka Crashpoint Tower) is broken! On Ram's mission to fix the comms, the threat becomes much larger, leaving him with more of an adventure than he bargained for.
Older’s writing is wildly funny and action-packed. Readers will immediately fall in love with the characters of this story: there's our hero Ram Jomaram, the tiny bonbraks of his workshop, and, of course, his droid V-18. In addition to these new characters, we also see the return of Vernestra Rwoh from Justina Ireland’s A Test of Courage as well as Lula Talisola from the High Republic Adventures comics, also authored by Older. Older weaves all these stories together with a mastery, making their coming together feel natural and necessary. We also get to see more of the villains that we were introduced to in the Wave 1 stories, which are, without a doubt, some of my favorite moments in this book!
Race to Crashpoint Tower feels like a true sequel but still maintains its accessibility for readers who just want to hop into The High Republic during this wave of stories or who haven’t read all the materials of Wave 1. It’s a really fun ride and one that feels appropriate for middle-grade aged readers and older readers alike. Don’t sleep on this one just because it's written with younger readers in mind!
BRAD WHIPPLE: The High Republic is back and packed full of laughs, adventure, and an unforgettable coming-of-age story to kick off a new wave of stories. Race to Crashpoint Tower is Daniel José Older’s first time dabbling in Star Wars's middle-grade genre, and he does not miss by any means. This next set of High Republic stories focuses on the Republic Fair, revered as a symbol of unity, on the planet Valo; but when things can go wrong in a galaxy full of dangerous adversaries, they will go wrong. I have a bad feeling about this, indeed.
You'll be introduced to Ram Jomaram, a mechanical-minded Jedi Padawan who finds comfort in understanding what makes things tick and how he can improve them — this is best depicted with his hilariously witty droid V-18, who will definitely steal the hearts and minds of anyone who picks up this book. Race to Crashpoint Tower also has the best Star Wars ingredients baked into it when it comes to the traditional hero's journey. Ram's mission ultimately comes down to how easily he can break out of his comfort zone, which readers of any age can relate to.
What I appreciate most about Race to Crashpoint Tower is how easily Older integrates his The High Republic Adventures comic storyline featuring Lula Talisola, who appears alongside Ram on the cover. It's a testament to both the ambition and confidence of the High Republic team to weave all these stories together without fault and make the journey as a reader feel worthwhile and necessary.
Race to Crashpoint Tower is an excellent way to kick off your newest reading adventures in the High Republic. It's a perfectly timed pick-me-up story with lots of drama, some thought-provoking ideas about what it means to be a Jedi, and authentic characters that you understand inside and out. Plus, it will leave you hurting from laughter. What more can you ask from a Star Wars book?
If you’re wondering why we haven’t finished Cavan Scott’s The Rising Storm in time for today, let’s just say it’s a very thick book that clocks in at seventy-six chapters — that’s right, SEVENTY-SIX CHAPTERS of High Republic goodness! Here are our first impressions so far:
SARAH: I’m currently about 25% of the way through this book, and I’ll be honest with you: I’m scared. Knowing that things (obviously) won't go particularly well for our friends at the Republic Fair, I am sincerely worried about my favorite characters! Despite that, I am really enjoying this book. Now that we are a bit more settled in the world and time period of The High Republic, author Cavan Scott is really able to bring us something new. With more galactic politics in this book than in Wave 1, I am enjoying getting a sense of Soh's supporters and detractors. It feels like a clear continuation of the events of Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi, with us getting more of the characters I was most excited to spend time with — Bell Zettifar and Elzar Mann, specifically. I simply cannot wait to finish this book and give a full review on it!
BRAD: I'm 31% through The Rising Storm and I've been feeling nothing but absolute shock, awe, and wonder on every page. Taking place one year after the events of the Great Disaster, The Rising Storm jumps into a galaxy that's still on the road to recovery while simultaneously striving for the long sought-after goal of unity. This is less a standalone book and more of a true and natural continuation of Light of the Jedi, in which author Cavan Scott raises the stakes even higher and jumps right in with our favorite characters. Whether you're a fan of the Nihil, the Jedi, the everyday folk, or even politicians, there's a storyline you can attach to — I still have sixty chapters to go, and I imagine it's gonna get dicey! Whether it's the most minute detail or the grandest concept, Cavan Scott doesn't waste a single word in his writing, which often feels like some of the best in Star Wars publishing. I can't wait to read the rest of this and share my thoughts on the podcast!
Although we haven't started Justina Ireland's Out of the Shadows quite yet, we are so excited to go on an adventure with two of our favorites, Reath Silas and Vernestra Rwoh, as well as a new addition to the High Republic in Sylvestri Yarrow, who is described as being trapped in the political squabbles of opposing familial — when we hear there will be politics in our Star Wars, count us in! When it comes to her previous Star Wars work, Justina has only written for the middle-grade category, so we cannot wait to see how she makes the transition to Star Wars young-adult while also building on the previous YA installment Into the Dark.
We will have more fleshed out thoughts on Out of the Shadows in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned!
If you're a High Republic fan just like us, make sure to check out our previous podcast episodes covering the first wave of books from earlier in the year!
Race to Crashpoint Tower and The Rising Storm release on June 29, followed by Out of the Shadows on July 27. Be sure to follow our Twitter feed, blog, and, of course, the Friends of the Force podcast feed for all of our thoughts and reactions to wave two of the High Republic!