REVIEW: Star Wars – The High Republic – Path of Deceit (2022)

A Book by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland

Star Wars – The High Republic – Path of Deceit is an interesting way to start an entirely new chapter of The High Republic multimedia initiative. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad, it just is a choice they made I suppose. With Light of the Jedi (The first book in phase one) we got an action-packed disaster story that had the reader on the edge of their seat right from the get go. This book, however, is an insanely slow burn that does more to set a mood than actually move any sort of plot along, that is until the very end. In a lot of ways that reminded me more of some of the books that came out towards the end of Phase One of the initiative versus some of the more fleshed-out books in the series. That isn’t to say this is a bad book or anything but this truly would not be the way that I would start a fairly important second phase of an entire franchise at all.

“A provocative and thrilling young adult adventure set in the world of the High Republic, 150 years before the storytelling of Phase I. Meet mysterious cult members, daring explorers, Jedi peacekeepers and more!”

I think some of my issues with this story come from the fact that it is once again more of a romance novel at times, something that seems to characterize the “young adult” line from this. That isn’t to say that I’m hung up on the fact that most Star Wars books are, in fact, action books, but when one sees the title “Star Wars” there is a bit of a understanding that we’re going to get some sort of War story that this just does not deliver on. There is a bit of action, intrigue, and world building here, but it takes a back seat.

What this book does succeed in, is providing a look at an entirely separate Force-sensitive group that isn’t the Jedi. That has honestly been one thing that I have felt was somewhat odd in the entire duration of Star Wars material, that the Jedi and the Sith seem to have a monopoly on utilizing the force even though it’s been established that it can pass through anybody and is around everybody in any given time. The introduction of The Path of the Open Hand is a very welcome thing for me, and I honestly hope that more groups like this are established and perhaps some pop up later on in the timeline.

It was also VERY interesting that this appears to be the beginning of an origin story to The Nihil, or at least Marchion Ro, to some degree. We meet characters that are likely his ancestors, have the same name, and are the same race, and even see references to The Gaze Electric being built, the ship he ends up commanding. How this all fits together will be interesting.

If you have been a fan of some of the more romance oriented books in this franchise so far, including some of the other books that Justina Ireland has written (she is a co-author here), you will likely enjoy this one quite a bit as it feels very much in line with some of the previous books that she has written. With this being a young adult book the focus shifting from battles and action towards interpersonal relationships between characters and romance definitely fills the niche that that genre normally has for better or for worse.

Personally, as somebody that plans to read all the books in this initiative, these sorts of books are definitely not my favorite ones. That said, I have found that more than any other style of book in the series, these are usually the ones that flesh characters out the most and explain some of the relationships between said characters. For example, in the book New Horizon, the overall plot of the story was not very important in the grand scheme of things considering it took place towards the end of the entire timeline, but I noticed that it had a lot of admirers online due to the way that it handled character interactions versus any of the other stories in the series. If this is something you value in a Star Wars novel, I’m sure you will love this just the same.

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