Review: Star Wars The High Republic: Chronicles of the Jedi

Since the beginning, reference books have been a staple in the Star Wars franchise. The High Republic is no exception. Cole Horton adds to this rich collection with the recently released Star Wars: The High Republic: Chronicles of the Jedi: An Illustrated Guide to the Galaxy’s Golden Age.

Beautifully bound and richly illustrated by artist Yihyoung Li, the volume is a fitting representation of the grandeur of this period in the galaxy far, far away. The original art alone – depicting a vast array of characters, ships, places, and events – makes it an attractive addition to any Star Wars bookshelf. But it’s more than just a picture book.

Unlike ‘behind the scenes’ reference books, Chronicles of the Jedi features an in-universe perspective. In an introduction written in first person, we meet Jedi Master Harli Cogra, who compiles this account shortly after Phase I of the High Republic.

Of course, he doesn’t say that – the initiative’s phases and waves are artifacts of our universe. Though Chronicles of the Jedi covers events and characters from every piece of Phase I media, it doesn’t name a single title. Since Master Cogra writes from his universe, he doesn’t point us to which book or comic to read for more about a given person, place, or event.

That’s part of the fun. The text is one Jedi’s effort to capture the era’s heroic deeds and courage. It uses an almost conversational style and feels like a work still in progress. Written mere weeks after some of the events it discusses, the engaging tone makes the book feel like a “first draft of history.” It captures an enduring sense of optimism during a time of growing prosperity, exploration, and expansion, tinged with a touch of mourning and trepidation after encounters with the Nihil and the Drengir.

The narrative recaps storylines from all the books and comics from Phase I, including the manga Edge of Balance. It presents brief biographical sketches of an immense cast of characters, including Jedi Council members that appear only once or twice.

That means full spoilers for all the major plot points from the phase, from the Great Hyperspace Disaster to the battle on Corellia. The book even concludes with a detailed accounting of the fallen and the missing after Fallen Star and Midnight Horizon.

The book is lighter on details from Phase II. Considering the timing of its publication, perhaps Horton was writing before the authors had all those events worked out. Given that and the upcoming third phase, we might see a second volume or an updated edition in the future.

The writing makes the book a handy reference as Phase III of the High Republic launches in Fall 2023. After hopping back in time for Phase II, it’s helpful to have a recap before we see what happens a year after Fallen Star. Combining that with the gorgeous art, Chronicles of the Jedi is a must-have for fans of the High Republic and Star Wars reference books. For light and life!

Star Wars: The High Republic: Chronicles of the Jedi is available from all booksellers or directly from Insight Editions.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.