Book Review – The Battle Between E’ronoh and Eiram Culminates in “Star Wars: The High Republic – Convergence”

So far the second phase of Lucasfilm Publishing’s highly ambitious multi-platform initiative Star Wars: The High Republic has transported us to the planet Dalna (in the excellent young-adult novel Path of Deceit), where we met the enigmatic Force cult known as the Path of the Open Hand, and the twin worlds of Aubadas and Gloam (in the middle-grade outing Quest for the Hidden City), where the bat-like Katikoot species were turning into ferocious zombie-esque creatures due to ill-advised mining activities.

Now, in the first adult-targeted novel of Phase II, entitled Star Wars: The High Republic – Convergence, author Zoraida Córdova (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – A Crash of Fate) takes us to another pair of twin planets– this time the intertwined worlds of Eiram and E’ronoh, which have been referenced throughout The High Republic due to their infamously lengthy civil war.

In Convergence, Córdova smartly begins the story without any Jedi involvement (I’d been hoping for The High Republic to feature more non-Force-powered characters), instead choosing to zoom in on the heirs to the two perennially warring planets– namely Princess Xiri A’lbaran of E’ronoh and the adopted Prince Phan-Tu Zenn of Eiram. These two star-crossed royals only meet thanks to an unfortunate incident in the space between their two planets, and they soon become the only hope for the possibility of lasting peace. In addition to being a princess, Xiri is a starfighter captain whose latest mission to escort relief supplies to E’ronoh fails catastrophically due to the sudden arrival and interference of Republic cruisers and their Jedi accompaniment– not to mention the fact that one of her rookie squadron pilots has had his ship sabotaged by an unknown interloper. This crisis sets off a sequence of events that leads to both heightened tensions between the combating forces and a surprising glimmer of hope as Xiri and Phan-Tu begin to see something in each other that may transcend the many age-old differences between them. When we do start to spend time with the Jedi, it’s to focus on the character of Gella Nattai, whose previous assignment did not go as planned, so she now finds herself directionless in her path toward better understanding the Force. There’s also a wild card in the form of Axel Greylark, the aristocratic ne’er-do-well son of the co-chancellor of the Republic, who is assigned to monitor the situation between Eiram and E’ronoh for his mother.

Convergence is mostly about the circumstances during which these two planets come to put down their arms against each other, but it also has a lot to do with how these four main characters bounce off one another along the way. We’re meant to root for Xiri and Phan-Tu to find love (and peace between their worlds as a result) but are we also intended to “ship” the roguish scoundrel Axel and his new acquaintance Gella, the fully committed Jedi Knight? I think so, yes, but their relationship turns out to be quite a bit more complicated than that, though I won’t spoil why in this review. These characters are all fine, and I enjoyed watching how they get to know each other through the course of this adventure, but the problem I had with this book– which I admittedly struggled to get through more than any other entry in The High Republic so far– is that the narrative alternates between overly dry (the first third, after Xiri and Phan-Tu first meet, largely deals with an extended peace summit that drags on too long) and needlessly disjointed (the book can’t ever seem to decide who its actual villain is, or pick a consistently worrisome threat to this system’s future). The prose is often clunky and confusing, and I kept finding myself wishing the author would keep things more simple and clear. I remember thinking Córdova did a pretty good job with the relatively straightforward love story in A Crash of Fate, but with the scale of the proceedings ratcheted up so much higher in this novel, the writing and structure start to buckle under their own weight. The most interesting parts arrive when we start to understand who exactly is behind the ongoing sabotage and why, but even that reveal gets upstaged and pushed aside by a couple other arbitrary enemy factions who seemingly show up only to be temporary roadblocks to peace between these worlds. There are morsels of fun and insightful introspection to be had here, and the bulk of that comes from the interplay and dialogue among the characters, but overall I found myself having a hard time building up the excitement to read more as I went along. And for a series that has been fairly consistently charming like The High Republic has over the past couple years, I’d say that means Convergence just didn’t quite work for me.

Star Wars: The High Republic – Convergence will be released on Tuesday, November 22nd, but is available now for pre-order.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.