The High Republic era of Star Wars stories, which takes placetook a major turn earlier this year after the novel finished phase 1 on a cliffhanger. Instead of continuing the story from this point, Phase 2 in the timeline.
Author Zoraida Córdova recounts the first major Phase 2 tale with a novel, which came out last month. It’s an era of exploration as the Galactic Republic expands, with Jedi Knight (and cover star) Gella Nattai leading a new cast of characters. She travels to Eiram and E’ronoh, at war between neighboring worlds in an uneasy ceasefire, to investigate a royal assassination attempt.
One of the problems with previous High Republic novels was that there was, which makes emotional connection difficult. Córdova avoids this by sticking to a few main characters and giving each a clear arc. The evocative writing begs you to read on, with clever language choices injecting color into the locations and beautifully detailed battles giving the action visual flair.
Aquatic Eiram and Arid E’ronoh played a part in Phase 1, but this is the first time we’ve fully explored them. And yes, they have similar names – to the point that it’s all too easy to mix them up (thinking “arid E’ronoh” will help).
Thankfully, each world’s main royal is distinct and memorable – Xiri A’lbaran is the daughter of the monarch of E’ronoh (and a genius pilot), while Phan-tu is the adopted son of the Queen of Eiram. Their evolving relationship is the emotional core of the novel, as they represent hope for the future. It’s fascinating to watch their journey unfold.
Gella, Xiri and Phan-tu are joined by a different kind of royalty: Axel Greylark, the arrogant son of a Republic Chancellor. Sent to represent the political interests of the galactic union, Córdova gives it depth by slowly revealing the trauma of her past.
Axel’s character leans too much into bad boy tropes; he is incredibly charismatic and dangerous. Despite this, his connection to the more believable Gella is one of the novel’s most compelling elements.
To spice things up further, a shadowy and wicked group attempts to end the ceasefire between Eiram and E’ronoh, but this element is not satisfactorily developed. It is largely left as a tangled plot thread for other High Republic books. Specifically, we learn more about these villains in Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland’s novel.stating that Phase 2 will continue the High Republic’s decentralized approach to storytelling.
Still, the presence of the villainous group adds a sense of danger to the central quartet’s journey through the two worlds, and Córdava offers us plenty of nuance in the political drama. The narrative occasionally loses momentum (especially in a side quest to a space station fight club), but a dark twist raises the stakes near the end of this 336-page novel.
Elements of the climactic action sequence feel too chaotic, with the roles of Xiri and Phan-Tu reduced to a disappointing degree. Ultimately, that’s forgivable since the novel comes to a satisfying conclusion that leaves its characters amusingly changed. The story will continue in Lydia Kang’s Cataclysm.
Star Wars: Convergence is a great start to Phase 2 of The High Republic, taking the time to develop a small, memorable cast and explore two fascinating worlds. Despite Axel’s incredible qualities and the story that gets a bit silly at the end, it’s still a worthwhile journey.