5 reasons why you should read Star Wars: The High Republic

Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit, written by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland. Image courtesy StarWars.com
Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit, written by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland. Image courtesy StarWars.com /

If you have even one foot in the Star Wars literary sphere, you most likely have heard of Star Wars: The High Republic. To some, it is a well-loved, episodic tale with some of the greatest storytelling in Star Wars canon thus far. To others, it is an unfamiliar, apprehensive behemoth of a project that many fear they will never make a dent in.

To be fair, reading more than 15 different items (and counting) is a daunting task. I myself took quite a bit of friendly nudging to crack open the first novel. However, reading Star Wars: The High Republic is easily one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had with Star Wars media.

If you’re still on the fence, here are five reasons why you should read The High Republic.

1. The Jedi are actually peacekeepers.

In much of Star Wars canon, especially the Prequels, the Jedi Order is entrenched with the Republic. The Jedi are meant to defend the Republic worlds, and we see this most prominently in The Clone Wars, as Jedi generals discuss battle tactics and lead legions of clones into war.

In The High Republic, the Jedi and the Republic exist as different entities. The Force-wielders keep mainly to themselves and focus on community, even called “monks” by others. They are occasionally called upon to assist with Republic defense, but for the most part, they are the peacekeepers we are often told about.

The High Republic offers a different, refreshing version of the Jedi. They are not corrupted by war or by the unknown workings of the Sith, and healthy community relationships thrive. This peaceful era of the Jedi is a breath of fresh air.

"“The Jedi are not warriors, nor should we ever be.” – Jedi Master Stellan Gios, The Rising Storm"

2. The Jedi Code is interpreted in a healthier way.

In support of the first point, the Jedi Code is important in The High Republic, but it’s not taken as literally as later eras of Jedi. (I’m looking at you, Master Kenobi.) Star Wars fans are familiar with a strict adherence to the Code, in which no emotions or attachments should be allowed.

The High Republic Jedi Order understands that a full, literal obedience of the code is not possible. All living beings experience emotions, and true mastery of emotions is not completely shutting them out, but learning to feel them and then let them go. This way of viewing the Jedi Code once again offers a different, healthier view of the Jedi.

"“We are living creatures rich in the Force, with everything that brings. Joy, affection, and yes, grief. Experiencing such emotions is part of life. It is light…But while we experience such emotions, we should never let them rule us. A Jedi is the master of their emotions, never a slave.” – Jedi Master Indeera Stokes, The Rising Storm"

3. You will fall in love with the characters, protagonists and antagonists alike.

New characters galore! The High Republic offers an array of unfamiliar names and faces (we are over 200 years BBY), but the authors do an incredible job of making the reader invest in these characters’ stories. From an emotionally-sensitive Wookie padawan to a pale-skinned Wayseeker, you will be rooting for the Jedi and their friends from page one.

The antagonists, evil marauders called the Nihil, are the perfect foil to the Jedi. They are chaotic and destructive, with no consideration for living things. Watching these two organizations go head-to-head is an exciting battle of lightsabers and wills.

4. The project spans many different forms of media for a unique experience.

The High Republic is not just an incredibly long book series. It’s a multimedia project, which means that the story is told through different formats. Novels, of course, but also weekly comic releases (or collections), audio dramas, and even manga. The use of different mediums to tell the same story is incredibly effective; the reader is never bored.

And although novels are the most common medium for The High Republic, there are releases across all age levels: adult, young adult, middle grade, and young readers. Star Wars fans of all ages can enjoy this incredible story.

5. The High Republic is some of the most brilliant Star Wars storytelling to date.

Overall, The High Republic is simply a great story. New characters with a familiar ideology that we love go head-to-head with another organization that threatens their very existence. It’s a classic battle of good versus evil, with everything we love about Star Wars mixed in: exciting fight sequences, compelling political conversations, and protagonists we root for.

What is so impressive about The High Republic is that one cohesive story is told across various mediums by many different authors. Not once do timelines or characters clash or authors write over each other. It is a monumental, collaborative effort, which in turn enriches our beloved Star Wars community. And this is just the beginning.

Star Wars: The High Republic Phase II begins on Tuesday, October 4th. Path of Deceit, the first Phase II novel, is available for pre-order now.