The Fallen Star
By Claudia Gray
- The Fallen Star
Author: Claudia Gray
- Series: Star Wars: The High Republic
Publisher: Del Rey
- ISBN: 9781529150148
- Published: January 2022
- Pages: 368
- Format reviewed: Hardback
- Review date: 05/01/2022
- Language: English
The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray is released on the first anniversary of the creation of The High Republic Universe, a bold move by the Star Wars novels to create their own sandbox in which to play, free from the Skywalkers. There are comics, YA books and more. At the centre are the core novels that act as pillars for the series to rest on. The Rising Star by Cavan Scott brought many of the most popular character together and put them in great peril, killing some. If Rising Star was the Earthquake of the series, Fallen Star is The Poseidon Adventure in space.
With the threat of the Nihil petering out, the High Republic is once again entering a new era of peace and stability in the Outer Rim, but the demise of the Nihil may have been exaggerated as their true leader remains hidden. The latest plan is to attack the Starlight Beacon, a symbol of all that is the High Republic. If the Nihil can down this monumental space station it will be a crushing blow to both the Jedi’s power and their reputation.
It is hard not to be excited when the new High Republic meaty novel comes out as by now you know you are in for an exciting ride. Fallen once more brings together many of the disparate characters from the series and places them in or around Starlight Beacon. Unbeknownst to the Jedi, there are saboteurs on board who plan to shatter the station into two pieces and send it to a fiery annihilation on a planet’s atmosphere with all trapped aboard. It is up to the Jedi to save the Beacon, or at least as many people as they can.
Fallen really does feel like a classic 70s disaster movie, but in the Star Wars universe. You have your celebrities, in this case from the High Republic books, trapped together in an impossible situation. Like these movies, the start is a slower burn. Gray uses the time to gather the characters together and crank the tension. The action really starts when the explosions do.
From this point on it is a matter of survival. The Jedi may be powerful, but even they cannot contain a disintegrating space station. The sense of threat is high and once again not all will survive – might not be too long until there is no one left! Tension is increased by the civilians who find themselves trapped on Starlight Beacon. The Jedi have a duty to protect others over themselves. There are several tense sequences that have you on edge. Gray intelligently flits between different sets of characters, not just Jedi, but space farers and even trapped Nihil. The motivations of the disparate groups are not always in alignment adding yet more terror.
On a wider level there is plenty to explore with the Nihil and the High Republic. Where is it all going to end. Certainly, in more bloodshed. This series is all about following the Jedi in a period of ascendency, but the Force is all about balance. The Nihil are here to weaken the Jedi and that too is exciting to read.
This is a cracking action thriller and despite being set in space, feels nicely contained. The danger is on the space station and the book focuses here. You can pick up and read this book as part of the core ‘adult’ series, but those who have indulged in the wider High Republic offerings will gain even more. It is wonderful to read something that is very Star Wars but is free from the vast majority of lore from the movies. Gray takes up the mantel of writing a bombastic High Republic novel and succeeds with aplomb.
Written on 5th January 2022 by Sam Tyler .