This review was originally posted on The Geeky Waffle. It has been reposted here with permission.
Up to this point, every High Republic story has felt like a roller coaster in its own right. A slow build followed immediately by unpredictable twists and turns that leave you winded but ready to go one more time. The Battle of Jedha, George Mann’s latest entry in the sprawling High Republic saga pulls double duty in this respect, a roller coaster in its own right, while also serving as the tipping point, the fulcrum, the steep drop that is going to carry us straight to the end of Phase 2.
Putting aside the poor, beleaguered metaphor in favor of another, less convoluted one, The Battle of Jedha, the lone audio drama in Phase 2 of the High Republic feels more like a mid-season finale than anything else. It comes at the direct halfway point between all the books (not including the comics, which publish in a slightly more nebulous fashion) and sees major plot points and characters from Path of Deceit, Quest for the Hidden City and Convergence all collide in the holy city of Jedha for peace talks gone terribly wrong.
The story primarily follows Jedi Master Creighton Sun and Jedi Knight Aida Forte who were sent to oversee the signing of Eiram and E’rinoh’s peace treaty, and Jedi Master Silandra Sho, on Jedha for a pilgrimmage but who finds herself wrapped up in the talks as they very quickly become less than peaceful. Also along for the ride are the Path of the Open Hand – the Mother, the Herald, Marda Ro – who have come to Jedha to preach their ways, hoping for a place among the many faiths that call the holy city home.
As with Quest for the Hidden City, Mann wonderfully captures that ambiance of adventure and mystery that convey his characters along, and strikes such a balance between each of them that at no point did the drama feel like it was any one person’s story.
And because every generation of Jedi must have their Obi-Wan Kenobi, I found myself walking away from this partial to Creighton Sun, who is exactly that.
The one true downside, for me personally, has less to do with The Battle of Jedha and more with audio dramas as a whole, and that is the lack of dramatis personae. As a visual learner, I would have appreciated a list of names going in, purely so I can visualze who is speaking at any given time, especially when there are some names that might look different, but sound very similar.
Spending so much of the story at the epicentre of Force-centric faith is one of the more interesting aspects of the book, as it puts the beliefs of both the Jedi and the Path into stark perspective in a rather interesting fashion. Melding politics and religion too, as the very presence of the Jedi at the peace talks does just that, was also another aspect that really caught my attention. The implications of that alone are something I would have gladly spent a lot more time with. Given how instrumental they were to even getting to the peace talks in the first place, I’m curious to see how this plays out going forward.
The Battle of Jedha releases January 3, 2023. Special thank you to Del Rey for the advance copy for review purposes.