It is an age of exploration. Jedi travel the galaxy, expanding their understanding of the Force and all the worlds and beings connected by it. The High Republic: Convergence sees the Republic, led by its two chancellors, working to unite worlds in an ever-growing community among near and distant stars. On the close orbiting planets of Eiram and E’ronoh, the growing pains of a galaxy with limited resources but unlimited ambition are felt keenly.
Their hatred for each other has fueled half a decade of escalating conflict and now threatens to consume surrounding systems.” Written by Zoraida Córdova, The High Republic: Convergence, the first Del Rey novel of phase two, was released on November 22nd 2022.
The Story of Convergence
The story of The High Republic: Convergence centres on the “forever war” between the nearby planets of Eiram and E’ronoh. It explores the formation of a peace treaty that could potentially end a feud that has lasted for many years. Tensions between natives of the two planets and the Jedi and the Republic run high.
After two much smaller-scale stories (Path of Deceit and Quest for the Hidden City), it’s refreshing to go back to a more significant novel with an array of different perspectives and an abundance of action and excitement. The High Republic: Convergence has plenty to offer if you are a fan of larger-scale Star Wars stories. An example is dogfights, family conflict, bounty hunters and much more!
Unfortunately, there are moments throughout the story that, by the end of the book, feel unnecessary or inconsequential. Luckily, these are very minor and fleeting, but they can and do negatively affect the story’s pacing. Not only that but there are occasionally moments when I felt I had missed a chapter or a page. Therefore, I found myself reading back to understand what was happening in the story.
Author Zoraida Córdova weaves a story of war, how it can consume and how we find peace. She masterfully finds ways to show multiple sides and angles to the forever war, from outsiders like Axel Greylark and members of the Jedi Order to the monarchies of each planet, as well as the soldiers that fight this war for them. Córdova has crafted one of the more thematically relevant stories of the era. That’s not to say that the other books from the initiative don’t have strong themes, just that they seem much more crucial to the plot of this story with an exciting and engaging execution.
Rather than primarily focusing on a collection of different Jedi like the phase one novels, Convergence’s main characters all come from different backgrounds. This allows our protagonists to offer a whole variety of thoughts and views. Specifically on the Eiram and E’ronoh conflict. This wouldn’t have been possible if The High Republic: Convergence had only focused solely on the Jedi characters.
Jedi Knight Gella Nattai is the sole Jedi protagonist in this story. While there are other characters from the Order featured, they are reduced to secondary characters, changing things up from the Light of the Jedi era. Gella is independent and headstrong. Therefore, she often runs into conflicts before thinking, which has gotten her in trouble. She makes for an interesting Jedi character as she is self-reliant and doesn’t really have strong connections to others in the Order compared to what we are used to seeing in other stories. It’s more enjoyable to explore different kinds of Jedi in this era than before, and Gella is no exception.
Son to Chancellor Greylark of the Republic (one of two Chancellor’s at the time), Axel is a roguish figure. He is more likely to be found in casinos and cantinas than in the Senate. He admires fashion and flair, and he cares more for himself than anyone else in the galaxy. However, there is more to him than meets the eye. Axel is one of the most intriguing characters of the story and is consistently engaging. However, some of the revelations about the character later on do drag the story down, not that they are lousy story decisions per see. However, they definitely needed more time devoted to them and their development.
Daughter to the Monarch of E’ronoh and a fierce warrior for her people, Xiri A’lbaran evokes a lot of similarities to Leia Organa. An example of this is her royal ties and yearning for peace and prosperity. She shares many similarities with Phan-tu Zenn. Being heirs to their respective worlds, they both share the weight of ruling over their people and inheriting this war. Outspoken, courageous and headstrong. Xiri is possibly my favourite character introduced in this book and lives up to the legacy of Star Wars’ great female characters.
Adopted son of the Queen of Eiram, Phan-Tu Zenn is in some ways the reverse of Axel Greylark. Axel was born into high society and chose the life of a scoundrel. However, Phan-Tu, while not a scoundrel, was not born into royalty. Instead, he was adopted after losing his family in the war. He doesn’t forget his roots or where he came from. Therefore, his story of adapting from his past to his royal present makes him a very endearing character and a stand-out character of The High Republic: Convergence.
Phase II – Quest of the Jedi
In the first phase of The High Republic initiative, it could sometimes feel that the Del Rey novels were the essential stories of the initiative. Therefore, all the other books supported these significant events. Having read all of the books from the first wave of phase two, this seems to have changed going forward. Of course, we can’t predict what will play out in the rest of the phase. However, I would argue that Path of Deceit feels just as crucial as The High Republic: Convergence.
The stories play into one another, crafting a much more cohesive and well-rounded collection of books while standing on their own as stand-alone stories. Hopefully, this trend will carry over into phase three of The High Republic.
Convergence by author Zoraida Córdova offers a lot to love. Excellent worldbuilding, exciting themes and loveable characters, to name a few. Unfortunately, there are some notable obstacles in the way. An example is uneven pacing and underdeveloped ideas that stop this book from being perfect. At its best, The High Republic: Convergence is one of the most intriguing and relevant stories we have gotten. At its worst, it can be confusing and disjointed, ultimately making Convergence a mixed package.