Convergence is the first adult book in the second phase of Star Wars: The High Republic, and after the heartbreak that was phase one, it had a lot to live up to. I’m happy to report that it is in fact my favorite Star Wars book of the year. It’s quite literally a Star Wars book that could stand on its own, but treats romance with the respect it deserves. It honors all aspects to make this not only a Star Wars novel, but a tried and true romance novel.
Phase two of The High Republic takes a jump 150 years in the past before phase one. This is done in order to explain the origins of the nameless terror Marchion Ro brought to confront the Jedi in The Rising Storm and The Fallen Star. Sticking with a similar publishing strategy, Path of Deceit is a young adult novel, and the first published in the phase, followed by the middle-grade book Quest for the Hidden City.
Convergence takes a less direct approach to building a bigger background. It focuses on a specific conflict in the Outer Rim, with the Path of the Open Hand meddling in the background. The conflict is between E’ronoh and Eiram, neighboring planets that share a moon, and have been in conflict on and off for centuries. Their latest conflict started five years previously when E’ronoh’s prince crash-landed and died on Eiram. In Convergence we pick up at the five year point, following Princess Xiri of E’ronoh and Prince Phan’tu of Eiram. The must work with Jedi Knight Gella Nattai and Republic representative Axel Greylark to restore peace to their planets. Along the way, they’ll encounter numerous attempts at assassination, a behind-the-scenes puppeteer, and disgruntled citizens all in their attempt to root out the main threat.
Zoraida Córdova makes her entrance into The High Republic fanfare incredibly strong. She takes every potential little detail, and expands upon each one, never missing a beat. She treats the romances in Convergence incredibly well. Especially since romance in science fiction is often times mistreated, and made fun of. Xiri, Phan’tu, Gella and Axel are so well intertwined as the main characters, and they’re all treated fairly. Which is hard when you have so many main characters! The narrations’ can oftentimes get tangled, but Córdova switches personas quite effortlessly. Not to mention how fast you can get attached to all of them.
The romance in Convergence is spectacular. It is a Bridgerton Anthony and Kate romance on steroids. There’s an intense connection, with a sense of duty to those around you. It’s a partnership of convenience while finding the best part and choosing love the whole way through. But there are also common romance tropes that allow for a progression of the story, and immense heartbreak when we get a surprise from a character.
There’s a lot of talk in Star Wars about hope, and Córdova never misses a chance to bring it in here. Not to mention making sure it’s a thought-provoking moment. This is the first time we see how wars affect the little people of the galaxy. It’s a more intimate tale versus what has come previously in The High Republic. This makes for a more intense connection to the characters involved. Gella is an amazing Jedi Knight, and I’m dying to see her future adventures, and Axel. Well, I’m definitely concerned about the Cataclysm cover when it comes to Axel.
Convergence as a story can almost feel quite segregated from the rest of Star Wars because of its intimacy and smaller cast. This would be the perfect introduction for a new Star Wars reader. While there are lightsabers, it doesn’t necessitate a huge learning curve for someone to jump into this. It also maintains its distance from the other books in this wave of phase two. There are smaller references in the background you can miss if you’re not paying attention.
Zoraida Córdova truly put her heart and soul into these pages. Not just for the romantic parts, but Star Wars as well. Every Star Wars book is unique, and Disney’s pickup of the franchise allows for it. It’s just so impressive that the publishing groups allowed for two romance-themed books to come out back to back, and that both are incredibly strong. I know I called The Princess and the Scoundrel the ideal romance, but both novels are fantastic and cover a different portion of romance. Convergence is a triumph, not just for Córdova, but for Star Wars as a whole. This is certainly a book I will reread, and I hope you’ll give it a shot too. – Katie Rentschler
Convergence is available now at your favorite bookstore, in hardcover, e-book or audio.