Not going to lie.
Tears were shed during the reading of this book. And not just for the losses, but for those that survived as well.
A lot has been said about Cavan Scott’s novel ‘The Rising Storm’ and how he liked to kill people off, but he truly took the golden sceptre of character killer and handed it over to Claudia Gray for ‘The Fallen Star’. We all knew that death was coming, we’ve all seen the posters for the third wave of ‘High Republic’ content, with Starlight Beacon in flames, and the ‘Out of Print’ exclusive cover art with Starlight falling into an ocean. Essentially, what we’ve learned is sh*t is going down, literally.
In my review for ‘The Rising Storm’ I made reference to Scott’s novel being ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ of ‘The High Republic’, with is morose ending, however, if that were so, then ‘The Fallen Star’ is the ‘Revenge of the Sith’, whose ending held only a glimmer of hope for the Galaxy. I already mentioned the deaths, and there are a few.
The novel focuses on a Nihil attack against Starlight Beacon and the aftermath, told from the perspectives of a few characters who we’ve seen before through the ‘High Republic’ novels (some characters are only around for a brief moment because I suspect their side of the story will be released in another medium). The novel is tense, a race against time and a fight for survival. Chapter breaks at times feel like a chance to take a moment to catch your breath, but that doesn’t do anything to help you when the writing is so good that rather than take that opportunity you just hold your breath, dive right back in and just keep going until you are blue in the face.
Of course, this isn’t Claudia Gray’s first foray into the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Far, far from it in fact. There is a reason she has been a mainstay in the Disney-era of the publishing side. All of her books have been great, even the ones I didn’t think I would enjoy much but read because they were part of the ‘Star Wars’ canon like ‘Lost Stars’. I was far from excited for the Romeo and Juliet in space but I kicked myself for thinking that once I had started reading it. Gray perfectly crafted a whole novel focused on the Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan Master/Apprentice relationship and it was a highlight of 2019, so her involvement in ‘The High Republic’ came as no surprise.
For anyone who’s on the fence or wants to wait it out for paperback, don’t! This is one of those “must-read-as-soon-as-possible” books that is completely worth every moment spent buried in its pages. And no-doubt there will be spoilers out there pretty quickly so don’t wait, don’t hold back, just go for it. Dive into the third and final wave of the first phase of ‘The High Republic’ because trust me, it’s completely and utterly worth it.
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