Jedi Padawan, Ram Jomaram is much more at home in the garage tinkering with machines than meditating and his craftiness with electronics is required when, in the run up to ‘The Republic Fair’ on his homeworld of Valo when a long range communications array at Crashpoint Tower is damage by Nihil raiders, leading Ram on a life-or-death mission to repair the tower and survive a Nihil invasion.
Daniel José Older’s first novel in ‘The High Republic’ series is a Middle Grade adventure whose events run concurrently with those in Cavan Scott’s ‘The Rising Storm’ and the two even cross over on occasion with characters and specific events referenced and even shown from different perspectives. For me this just adds legitimacy to ‘Race to Crashpoint Tower’ because there are many who would write it off because it’s “for kids” but actually it adds another layer to the already amazing ‘The Rising Storm’.
Older adds a few characters from other parts of ‘The High Republic’, some in a supporting role whilst a pair of them, from Older’s own ‘High Republic Adventures’ series take on major roles and assist Ram through the story. Whilst it was fun having them in another medium, there was a necessity to finish the most recent issue as to not be spoilt. Older has confirmed that the characters not involved with ‘Race to Crashpoint Tower’ will have their story told in the next arc of ‘High Republic Adventures’ which is hinted at in this book.
The story is fast paced and incredibly engaging, Ram isn’t the typical Jedi Padawan and seeing how he engages and sees the Force, like how Avar Kriss sees it as a song and Burryaga as an ever growing tree really fits with his character. Having him be a not-typical Jedi allows him to be relatable to more people and shows kids (the target audience) that it’s ok to be who you are and doesn’t do it in a preachy way. When we think of Jedi we instantly see them like Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon or Luke Skywalker so having a more tech savvy mechanic Jedi is new and fun.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed that the audiobook wasn’t narrated by Marc Thompson, who has become the unofficial voice of Star Wars for me (like how Kevin Conroy will always be the voice of Batman), instead this was narrated by Todd Haberkorn, who does a great job and really injects the fun into the story with his enthusiastic reading.
I have seen folks online questioning if this is an important part of the overall story, an honesty I would say it is. Aside from the fact that characters cross over and ‘Race to Crashpoint Tower’ shows events and adds more depth to moments shown in ‘The Rising Storm’, this book even explains and gives the story around what could be seen as a throwaway line from the end of Cavan Scott’s novel, so if you want the full story of the events of The Republic Fair then yes, buy this (audio)book and read (or listen).
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