Saturday, January 22

Review of The Fallen Star

“A flaw more and more common among Jedi.”

The Republic’s power has been questioned twice. The great hyperspace calamity came first, followed by the Republic Fair debacle, and now the Republic’s pride, Starlight Beacon, is under siege. Will the Jedi be able to conjure a miracle, or will Starlight be extinguished for all time?

Pride is a sign of impending doom.

The Republic and the Jedi in The Fallen Star are proverbs because they contain truth, and none is more true than this.

The Republic, including the Jedi, has gotten enamored with their own hype, and as a result, they have misjudged the Nihil. After the hyperspace disaster and the Republic Fair disaster, one would think the Republic would take the threat of the Nihil much more seriously. They’ve trivialized the threat to their detriment, and Marchion Ro takes full advantage of it. He plays the Jedi to perfection, preying on their arrogance and compassion, ultimately leading to the destruction of Starlight Beacon.

To assist hammer home the idea, a couple different characters throughout the novel reiterate this concept of pride. It’s a little surprising that this issue was already addressed in the Prequels, and given that this is set 200 years before the Prequels, you’d think the Jedi would have a better handle on it. It’s a fantastic topic to explore, but it doesn’t feel fresh, which is irritating.

The Book

I despise spoilers, yet for some odd reason, the marketing for this book implied that Starlight Beacon would be destroyed and that many people would die. This makes reading this novel an odd experience because you’re never startled when someone dies, and knowing that Starlight will turn into stardust before the end removes a lot of the commitment.

The deaths of significant characters also lacked the impact that you’d expect, which is a problem I’ve had about the series since the beginning. There has been an excessive amount of activity. The High Republic has felt as if someone were attempting to grow a tree and began with the branches rather than the seed. It’s been difficult to relate emotionally to the characters since there are so many people and events happening in so many various places (comic, middle grade, young adult, and adult volumes). I wish I could claim that any of the deaths moved me, but I couldn’t.

The new peril that the Jedi face was the most intriguing aspect of the novel. The Great Leveler, originally glimpsed in The Rising Storm, will be familiar to readers. It feels like a ysalamiri, a fear monster that preys on Jedi, suffocating their connection to the Force, paralyzing them in fear, and turning them into husks. The fact that the Nihil began the series by interrupting hyperspace and plunging the Republic into chaos is an interesting comparison. By disturbing the Force, they now threaten the fundamental fabric of the universe and the Jedi. As the manifestation of “fear,” this new threat feels a little on the nose, but it has potential, so only time will tell how effectively it works.

Claudia Gray’s clever writing helps The Fallen Star fly by, although it isn’t as polished as her earlier work. There are several difficulties with the story’s editing, as well as some logical issues with plot aspects, that drew me away from the book. There have been a few occasions when I’ve thought to myself, “Why didn’t they just do it earlier?” There would have been more persons saved.” The Fallen Star is a fine book, but not a fantastic one; it receives a 3 out of 5 star rating.