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!