Friday, January 28, 2022

‘The High Republic: The Fallen Star’ Review: An Epic, Heartbreaking End to Phase I

More than a year ago, The High Republic Era came to be in a galaxy far, far away. Now, the final adult installment, The Fallen Star, is out for readers to enjoy (and by enjoy, I mean cry uncontrollably while clutching a stuffed bantha for moral support).

Written by Claudia Gray, The Fallen Star follows the aftermath of the deadly Republic Fair depicted in The Rising Storm. The Republic is recovering after the Nihil caused havoc on the planet Valo, and the Jedi believe they’ve reduced the threat of the anarchist group. Thus, where the story begins.

A lot happens in The Fallen Star — heartbreak, sabotage, an unknown disturbance in the Force, and much more that will make you audibly gasp as you read. It’s a great ending to the epic storytelling in this first phase of the elaborate publishing campaign.

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There are a lot of past characters who play a role in this story. In order to fully understand each character and how they got to where they are, readers need to not only read the previous two adult novels in Phase I (Light of the Jedi and The Rising Storm), but also the young adult books (Into the Dark and Out of the Shadows) as well. When you know the characters well, the events that take place are much more impactful.

While reading, there were moments when I would catch myself scratching my head. At times, I felt like many of the characters were acting out of character. For example, Stellan Gios was extremely prideful and Orla Jareni had bouts of anger, which I didn’t get while reading the previous books. However, I should’ve trusted the incredible High Republic team. There was a reason for this, and it moved the story along and progressed the many obstacles the Jedi face throughout the novel.

The pacing of The Fallen Star is fun and very exciting. It starts off calm and progresses into intense, high-stakes moments throughout the story. I was on the edge of my seat from the middle of the book to the very last page. I kept wanting to know what happens next, which for me is a big indicator that a book is well-written and the story is intriguing.

However, amid all the chaos and intensity, there are calm and touching moments that really help give readers a bit of a breather, specifically scenes between Bell and Burryaga. Their incredibly pure friendship makes you forget about the hardships the characters are experiencing.

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My biggest (and only) complaint is how often the point-of-view switches. All of the characters perspectives are easy to follow, but they change too often for me. A few paragraphs per character isn’t enough to fully grasp what is happening and what they’re feeling. And in my opinion, some of the perspectives didn’t even need to be there. For example, Avar Kriss. She only had a handful of moments in her point-of-view. We easily could’ve done without hers without compromising the story and her relationship with Elzar and Stellan. Her scenes felt like they were only thrown in there because she’s such a huge character in the bigger story.

Overall, The Fallen Star is an incredible book that will give you so much joy and satisfaction while also ripping your heart out. Claudia Gray does a great job pouring so much action and emotion into the story without overwhelming the readers. A great end to a great Phase I.

The High Republic: The Fallen Star is now available. You can buy it on Amazon or anywhere you get books.

The start of Phase II of The High Republic is set to be released in October 2022. Stick with Nerds & Beyond for more Star Wars: The High Republic news and reviews.

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