Star Wars: The High Republic – Cataclysm is an adult Star Wars novel written by author Lydia Kang and published by Random House Worlds. This book is the final adult novel of Phase II of the High Republic and is a direct “sequel” of sorts to the audio drama, The Battle of Jedha.
I was able to get an early review copy of Star Wars: The High Republic – Cataclysm from Random House Worlds but for those who did not, it’s on sale TODAY in pretty much every legit book store in the United Stats.
This post is my spoiler-free review.
Star Wars: The High Republic – Cataclysm by @LydiaYKang A Drunk Wooky Book Review #starwars #highrepublicTweet
Star Wars: The High Republic Cataclysm takes place immediately after the Battle of Jedha and ties into the E’ronoh and Eiram storylines neatly. As the Jedi, the Republic, and the warring planets of Eiram and E’ronoh try to make sense of what happened during the Festival of Light and Peace Treaty talks on Jedha one thing is clear… all evidence points directly to Dalna and the Path of the Open Hand.
It has become clear that the Path of the Open Hand are not the peaceful group they claim to be as the mystery of what started the Battle of Jedha becomes clear within the inner circles of the different groups involved. The bombings, the deaths, the chaos, etc. all point to their involvement.
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One of the key elements of this book that I enjoyed is the breakdown in communication within the Jedi order and the Republic. Without having access to reliable communication beacons the heroes of the story have a difficult time communicating with one another. And while all signs do lead back to Dalna, there a different splinter cell type groups that come to this conclusion on their own, without it being a part of a bigger picture plan to investigate properly. Leading to smaller groups traveling on their own to Dalna to investigate where they eventually run into other groups while there doing the same.
This communication lapse has a reason, the book goes into it, but it leads the protagonists of the story making decisions in a silo without knowing the bigger picture. This creates scenarios of extreme frustration for the reader as well as beautiful revelations from the characters as they realize just how big of a moment they are in. And how much danger they’ve put themselves, and others, in by acting rogue and taking matters into their own hands.
The book is well written and tells a fantastic, yet gritty, story. This book is much like the final adult novel of Phase I, The Fallen Star, in a way. It starts with a sense of hope, a sense that things will be made right, all while giving the reader an intense feeling of terrible things to come.
The story/plot is largely centered around what will be known for centuries as “The Night of Sorrow.” A confrontation between what was the Path of the Open Hand, the Republic, and the Jedi on Dalna that, while not surprising, has remarkedly dark tones throughout.
Things I loved:
Cracks showing in the Path of the Open Hand. Throughout the book, Kang seeds discontent and shows imperfections in the leadership of the Path of the Open Hand. Actions taken in previous novels have taken a tole on the organization and this infighting has caused all eyes to be set on Dalna. Causing this battle to happen sooner than it seems the Path was hoping for.
Jedi Relationships and Comradery. As I mentioned earlier, this book is written in a POV style with many different groups converging on Dalna either simultaneously or in short order of one another. This allows the characters to have their own micro-stories occurring between the big picture plot of the book. I liked this because you got a nice look at how different Jedi relationships and how much they mean to each other. This characterization was sorely missed in previous High Republic novels from Phase II and made it harder to connect with the characters. Also, spoiler, Yaddle is in it.
Fanaticism at it’s finest. A highlight of Phase II for me has been the Path of the Open hand. The parallels between the path and real life cults have been really well done in my opinion. This book takes it a step further as we see how radical the Path has become. How much they HATE the Jedi and how using this hate has created undying loyalty within the ranks of the cult. They truly see themselves as the “good guys” and will justify doing terrible things all in the name of altruism.
Things I didn’t love.
The Eiram and E’ronoh Story: While I think the concept of two warring worlds coming together through their Prince and Princess’ marriage, first because of duty, then out of love, is interesting I feel like this storyline has been shoved down our throats a bit. It is important to the overall story and I get why it’s there but I found myself just waiting to get through the chapters focused on this.
The Story Feels Incomplete: One of the best parts of the High Republic initiative is also one of the more frustrating parts. At the end of this book, I feel like I only got a partial conclusion story. Characters who were in this book and who were referenced in this book do not have their stories wrapped up by the end. I assume they will be concluded in either the Quest for Planet X or Path to Vengeance but it was frustrating to get small clues about what happened without getting confirmation. I do love how all of the media intersect in the High Republic but I feel like Phase I did a better job of telling complete stories in the books without relying so much on reading everything.
In conclusion, I recommend reading this one. There is a ton of action and this book does a great job of seeding how the Path of the Open Hand eventually evolve into the Nihil. It’s worth your time if you’re a High Republic fan.
Grand Admiral Frik!