The second wave of The High Republic books are underway, headlined by the brilliant and devastating novel The Rising Storm, written by Cavan Scott, that serves as the headliner to this wave of storytelling.
That book tells of the Republic Fair, hosted on Valo and meant to serve as a display of the Republic’s resolve, strength, and unity around a year after the Great Disaster. But a Nihil attack derails any hopes of accomplishing that and instead leaves the Jedi and the Republic in a desperate fight for light and life, stranded on the world amidst a furious enemy bombardment without any hope of backup.
That’s because the Nihil knocked out the communications on Valo, preventing anyone from calling for aid. That’s where the junior novel in this wave, Daniel José Older’s Race to Crashpoint Tower, comes into play. This article will deal with general spoilers for the book but will avoid any specifics.
Tying in brilliantly with Scott’s novel and featuring some overlap in characters (like Ty Yorrick, most prominently), Race to Crashpoint Tower centers on a young Jedi padawan named Ram Jomaram, who was stationed at the Valo Jedi Temple but who loved being a mechanic more than other Jedi responsibilities. Ram works alongside his droid, V-18, and some Bonbraks, fixing and repairing things in his garage – when he comes to discover that something is wrong with the communications. This leads him to investigate, and he discovers the first indications of a possible attack. He attempts to alert the Jedi and Republic about this before it’s too late, but the attack comes nonetheless, leaving Ram and his team with the unenviable yet incredibly important task of trying to re-take Crashpoint Tower and get the communications back up and running in order to provide a sliver of hope – all while making an alarming discovery about another enemy seemingly working with the Nihil.
Compared to The Rising Storm, this book is a return to the fun-loving adventure type Star Wars story; yes, it deals with the devastating Nihil attack, but it doesn’t delve into it nearly as head on. Instead, it’s the inspiring story of a young padawan stretched out of his element taking on daunting odds to help save his friends and the Republic. Along the way we encounter other characters we’re familiar with, most notably Jedi Padawan Lula Talisola and her friend Zeen, who are starring characters in The High Republic Adventures. I absolutely love how interconnected these stories all are and how The High Republic authors are very intentional about telling the same coherent story. This book and The Rising Storm intersect really well, and both books intersect really well with the established comics too – so much so that I was surprised just how much! As someone who’s been reading the comics, it was really cool and rewarding to realize in both of these novels how all of these stories are building off of each other. It’s one of my favorite things about this High Republic storytelling initiative so far, and it’s made it all the stronger. It really feels like this is all the same story, in the best way possible. It’s not overlapping to the point of being repetitive, but connected to to the point of being rewarding.
So I think we’re beginning to get the big picture more and more with this era, and here’s what it is: if you’re just wanting the big picture, overall story, then read the main novels (so far Light of the Jedi and The Rising Storm). These books provide the galaxy-defining events that the other books and comics all deal with, first the Great Disaster and then the Republic Fair. If you just read those books, you’ll be fairly up to speed on the larger happenings of the galaxy at this time, and there are lines in there to fill you in just enough about the other stories. But while sometimes Star Wars storytelling doesn’t always reward those of us who follow along with every little detail, the High Republic definitely does. You won’t regret reading these books and comics, because they’re all interconnected. They’re dealing with familiar characters and events, from a different perspective, and so far they’ve all been telling really compelling stories. Race to Crashpoint Tower is no different. While it’s probably not an “essential” read to keep up with this era, it’s still a very good and enjoyable one.
My grade: 9.0/10