It’s the penultimate episode of 2 Princess 2 Scoundrel, as Han and Leia encounter a variety of fish friends, art exports, and Jedi tails. Are you currently being eternally punished? Let us know by hitting us up on Tumblr!
This week’s discussion: The Princess and the Scoundrel, chapters 49-54.
This week’s glistener question: Come up with a Star Wars fish. Must have a silly name.
After the high that was reading Path of Deceit, I was worried that I’d find myself feeling let down by any and all future High Republic installments. I should have known better. That’s not how Star Wars: The High Republic works.
Star Wars: the High Republic: Convergence: a Star Wars the High Republic novel by Zoraida Córdova is what I would describe as a dual-genre novel. The genres, in this case, being romance and political thriller. In fact, it’s quite fitting that this novel grapples with the duality of these two genres given that pairs, dualities, partnerships are not just a theme, but foundational to this story.
The action takes places on the dual-planet system of E’ronoh and Eiram, two planets perpetually linked: physically, ecologically, culturally, and politically. And in the grand literary tradition, at war. The seemingly unending conflict between these two planets creates a perfect backdrop to witness the Jedi Order as diplomats and peacekeepers, an aspect of their role often alluded to, but so much less often seen in practice (due mainly to the fact that they are so often taking up arms à la the Clone Wars or putting themselves in a corner as punishment for having resorted to taking up arms à la Luke Skywalker).
The conflict is messy and deeply entrenched, and as we flip from viewpoints of characters living on Eiram to characters living on E’ronoh and back again, I found myself fully empathizing with their contrasting viewpoints of the age-old conflict, while simultaneously frustrated at their inability to reach a compromise. (Luckily, there are no real world parallels for me to examine more deeply here, given that in my personal conflicts, I am always right and my opponent is always wrong.) Watching this conflict unfold and experiencing the frustrations of the Republic and the Jedi as they try to bridge the gap between the two worlds is a fascinating exploration of human nature and a thought-provoking commentary on the role of mediators. I loved seeing the Jedi in this role and hope we get to see more of this in the future.
The cast of characters were entirely new (with a couple of minor exceptions) and while I oftentimes find myself lost when jumping into a cast of new characters, that was not the case here. It wasn’t long before I was faced with a complete inability to identify a favorite character. The Jedi masters were thoughtful and wise, but with a surprising sense of humor. The Jedi Knight was confident, yet insecure, questioning her place in the Order and the Galaxy. The Jedi Padawan was exuberant and optimistic. The princess was loyal, but deeply emotive. The prince was really just trying his best. The Chancellor was haughty, but loveable. The other Chancellor was exhausted. And the son of the other Chancellor was….well.
Axel Graylark will probably be the stand-out character from this book, as he well should be. You’ll love him. You’ll hate him. You’ll love to hate him. Trust me when I say that I don’t throw around this term lightly – he is the epitome of a fuckboy. But, the kind you root for, despite everything. I never tired of his inner monologue and he always kept me guessing about his intentions and loyalties.
The continued recurrence of the dualities was a strength of this book. By focusing on pairs, I feel like I grew to understand each character as an individual, examining their personhood reflected upon the other. And pairs there were aplenty: the two queens of Eiram, the two Chancellors of the Republic, the two Jedi Masters, the two planets with future in flux, the two young heirs, who hold that future in their hands, and the Jedi knight and the Chancellor’s son, both looking to find their way in galaxy full of locations, but no place to call home.
I am continually impressed with the consistency of the High Republic stories, despite the ever-widening casts of characters, settings, and tones. Convergence is a worthy installment to the series, living up to the reputations of those that came before, while forging an exciting path forward. I hope this isn’t the last we have seen of these characters and, more importantly, of Zoraida Córdova, in the High Republic.
Danni wrote this. They are Rogue Six on Rogue Podron. Thanks to Del Rey for the review copy!
HELP US PRINCESS LEIA, YOU’RE OUR ONLY HOPE is written on ever wall in this castle, but Leia still hasn’t noticed and we are still waiting for Soran Keize to show up and punch everyone in the face. Please up-nut this episode.
This week’s discussion: The Princess and the Scoundrel, chapters 37-42.
This week’s glistener question: If Han got dressed, what would he wear?
The honeymoon continues! Han and Leia are enjoying their dream vacation aboard the Halcyon – they might even see each other at some point. In the meantime, though, there’s plenty of fruit, climate simulators, and work emails for us to enjoy.
This week’s discussion: The Princess and the Scoundrel, chapters 19-24.
This week’s glistener question: What would happen if you sprayed Watto with bug spray?
I’m a pretty shameless shill/stan/whatever for the High Republic at this point, but when I tell you that I was simply blown away by Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland…….whoof. Easily my favorite High Republic title to date.
I won’t lie, I was skeptical of the choice to throw us back 150ish years after we just met, got invested in, and had our hearts broken by the Jedi of Wave 1. However, this book immediately dispelled any concerns or sadness I had about not getting to continue on with that story because these characters and their actions not only directly inform what is happening in Wave 1, but introduce so many additional intriguing concepts and stories.
When it comes to Star Wars stories that I’ve watched/read/experienced, this book is easily the most philosophical with regards to the nature of the Force. The Wave 1 stories did some really interesting and new stuff when considering how the Jedi experience the Force and utilize it for good(?), but this book pulls that curtain even wider to consider the Force as a whole. There’s a moment early on where Jedi padawan Kevmo does something that, to us as experienced Star Wars fans, is pretty mundane – we’ve seen it plenty before. However, the reaction by cultist (and Marchion ancestor) Marda Ro made me stop, put the book down, and go for a walk to contemplate everything I’ve ever known about life and the universe and the Force. Gratton and Ireland were able to challenge my perception, understanding, and ethical consideration about such a simple and common use of the Force and that kicked off 300 pages of philosophical musings, debates, and explorations that had me hooked.
Kevmo, Marda, and Yana Ro are the main trio of characters in this book and each was fascinating to read about in their own right. As each chapter would end, I would loudly groan because I wasn’t ready to leave the brain of the character in question, only to immediately be sucked in by the inner monologue of the next. The way they each understand the concepts of the Force, life, and family, and in turn challenge each others’ perceptions of those things is the type of material that makes me want to drop everything and become a philosopher in the GFFA.
Also. There’s romance. I’m not usually into romance, but it’s a good romance. I was rooting for it from the get-go.
And that ending. No spoilers, but holy heck, it’s been a couple of weeks since I finished this book and I’m still feeling Some Sort of Way about that ending. I’ll be about to fall asleep, and suddenly sit up straight in bed, shout a few select words into the void at the authors, and then lay down again, as I continue to process what I read and count down the days until Path of Vengeance is in my hands and I can see what happens next.
Path of Deceit opens up the familiar Star Wars galaxy in new and interesting ways. That’s always one of the biggest tests of new Star Wars stories, in my opinion, and there’s no doubt that this book was successful. Pick it up, read it, cherish it, caress it fondly, reread those delicious philosophical debates and have an existential crisis of your own.
Oh, also there’s cult stuff.
100 flowers out of 10.
Thanks LFL Publishing for the review copy. I’m probably gonna buy, like, ten more.
Danni (they/them) is Rogue Six on Rogue Podron. They don’t sleep well, probably due to the regular yelling about fictional space books. They tweet things at @dannipurrgil.
Pack your bags, it’s time for the honeymoon! Han and Leia spend approximately 3.69 seconds together before Han is off looking for a card game and Leia is off looking for another ten work assignments. At least Captain Daddy Dicto is here to provide us with some eye candy.
This week’s discussion: The Princess and the Scoundrel, chapters 13-18.
This week’s glistener question: What else in the GFFA has a corporate sponsorship that we don’t know about and what is it?