A new wave of Star Wars: The High Republic stories is here with new characters and dangerous missions! One of those stories — The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower — takes fans on a hilarious, action-packed journey that can capture readers of all ages.
Race to Crashpoint Tower is the second middle-grade novel (targeting children 8-12 years old) within The High Republic publishing campaign, the first being A Test of Courage. Race to Crashpoint Tower follows two young Padawans who have to learn what being a Jedi is all about as they fight dangerous threats against the Republic. The High Republic stories are set hundreds of years before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which kickstarts the events of the Skywalker Saga. Written by Daniel José Older, this book does a great job at intertwining characters introduced in previous stories within the campaign and keeping it simple enough for young readers to follow along.
The 27 chapter-long novel packs a punch in a short amount of time. An intense mission on the forest planet, Valo, is expertly written in only a little less than 200 pages. And while the mission itself is high stakes, Older is able to throw in truly funny moments that will make you laugh out loud.
Race to Crashpoint Tower tells the story through two very different perspectives: Jedi Padawan Ram Jomaram and Jedi Padawan Lula Talisola. Ram, who lives on Valo, is more mechanic than fighter. He would rather be in a garage working on machines than wielding his lightsaber and attending diplomatic events. Lula, on the otherhand, is the opposite. She’s traveled the galaxy with her master and has fought threats, including the infamous Nihil, a group of anarchistic marauders. Sabotage to the comms tower on Valo during the Republic Fair brings the two together. As the Nihil attack the city, the two young Padawans must work together (with the help of some other friends along the way) in order to get the comms back up and running.
The dynamic between Ram and Lula is really interesting, and anyone reading can relate to them in one way or another. Older does a great job portraying their inner thoughts and insecurities as well as enriching the character development throughout the story. Ram, content with where he is, has to learn how to step up and put what his master has taught him into practice, even though uncertainty plagues his mind. Lula has to put aside her pride of wanting to be the best Jedi ever and envy of others to learn the true balance of the Jedi, which will ultimately help her succeed.
Like A Test of Courage, this book is primarily about characters that are around the same age as the targeted audience. This is a book for kids, about kids, and that truly makes it a strong story. Kids will be able to relate to the characters they’re reading about more than if the story was about adult characters. However, Race to Crashpoint Tower isn’t limited to younger readers. Older fans will equally enjoy this easy, fast-paced read.
Now, I can’t review this story without mentioning the progress Star Wars and Lucasfilm are taking toward more inclusivity within its stories. Older adds an amazing, subtle touch that goes a long way. Lula’s master, Kantam Sy, is non-binary. The use of they/them pronouns is used throughout the book, which can, in turn, normalize this for younger fans and teach them to be welcoming to all. This makes the far, far away galaxy feel closer to home for people of all walks of life.
Whether you’re reading the entire High Republic campaign, or hoping to find a short, fun read that works as a stand-alone story, this middle-grade novel is for you. The writing did seem to be aimed more for the younger ages in the middle-grade range compared to A Test of Courage, but regardless, it’s an easy read that helps expand the ever-growing Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower is available for pre-order now, and will be available in stores on June 29. The new adult novel within this new wave of stories, Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm, is also available for pre-order.
The next book in The High Republic publishing campaign, Out of the Shadows, will be available on July 27. You can pre-order it here. Stay tuned for a review on that as well right here on Nerds & Beyond!