ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower’ Runs on All Cylinders

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower

Star Wars: The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower is the latest junior novel in the High Republic line of Star Wars media, written by Daniel José Older with illustrations by Petur Antonsoson, published by Disney–Lucasfilm Press. The Republic Fair is taking place on Valo and even the Chancellor is in attendance. But something is going terribly wrong and only Jedi Padawan Ram Jomaram is around to stop it.

Race to Crashpoint Tower is a book that runs on all cylinders at all times. Sometimes, this is to its benefit. It’s non-stop action is fun and filled with great twists and turns. Sometimes though, it’s a little too fast for its own good, glossing over interesting points that I wish it could spend more time on. Fortunately, by the end, the thrill of the chase outweighs everything else.

The High Republic started with a bang at the beginning of 2021 and Race to Crashpoint Tower is part of wave two of Phase 1 of the publishing line. Off the bat, I have to say, it may be a tad hard to follow some of the book’s points if you have not read at least Into the Dark and A Test of Courage, if not Light of the Jedi as well. Characters and plot points are integral parts of this story. While I admire and appreciate the interconnectivity of the High Republic, since this is a junior novel, it does somewhat worry me that it required so much background knowledge to fully understand. While I’m sure a younger reader who has only read the other junior novel, A Test of Courage can probably follow along, still, it’s a lot. Just as much so, it seems this book is perhaps tied directly to the ongoing of the other second wave High Republic books, Out of the Shadows and The Rising Storm. Either that, or there were just some obtuse moments. Regardless, considering the target audience of the book, it felt like it left too much up in the air.

However, Older does as a well a job as one can weaving these disparate elements into his book so that one can understand them as well as possible. A book series made collaboratively by a slew of authors cannot be easy, and I totally respect Race to Crashpoint Tower for attempting to fit in elements that place it concretely in the part of the greater story that it takes place in, even if it means having to read other media to fully grasp it all.

All of that said, what does occur in Race to Crashpoint Tower is good. The book’s two main characters, Ram and fellow Padawan Lula Talisola are equally endearing and possess unique attributes among Jedi characters. One of the greatest strengths of the High Republic so far has been the ways that each author has explained the Force and different Jedi’s connections to it. As a mechanic, Ram has a really unique and personal way of connecting with the Force that has never been seen before. Meanwhile, Lula is really deeply connected to the people around her. She gets the rare opportunity in Star Wars to embrace this quality while also doubting her own worth in comparison to Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh, the youngest Jedi to become a Knight in generations. Both characters are pushed beyond their usual comforts as they race to save Valo.

The book also features multiple non-Jedi Force users, begging so many questions that hopefully future installments will address. There are whole segments of the beginning of the book from Lula’s perspective, and some from Ram’s later as well that explore interesting questions about Force sensitivity, but they get dropped so completely thereafter that they almost feel completely out of place having even been brought up.

Lastly, while the book’s plot and setting are generally fun, I wish it spent more time before the action started letting the reader experience the Republic Fair. I don’t know if this setting will be part of other High Republic media, but it is such a cool idea that I would hate to never get to read or see what it was like before the chaos ensued. The story itself is neat though, with elements to the plot and characters that I have not experienced in a Star Wars story before; itself an impressive feat and a selling point.

Race to Crashpoint Tower is at times a bit too interconnected to its publishing siblings, but ultimately, that does not take away from the unique, if not brief, plot and character points throughout the book. I hope that some of its new characters, plot threads, and locations appear in other High Republic media, both so that I can more fully understand the context of this book retroactively, and because so many parts were so intriguing.

Star Wars: The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower is available June 29th wherever books are sold.

Star Wars: The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower
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TL;DR

Race to Crashpoint Tower is at times a bit too interconnected to its publishing siblings, but ultimately, that does not take away from the unique, if not brief, plot and character points throughout the book. I hope that some of its new characters, plot threads, and locations appear in other High Republic media, both so that I can more fully understand the context of this book retroactively, and because so many parts were so intriguing.