Star Wars: The High Republic – Temptation of the Force | Review

Phase 3 of The High Republic kicks into overdrive with the latest adult novel, Temptation of the Force, bringing memorable moments, white-knuckle tension, and smooching to boot!

Star Wars: The High Republic – Temptation of the Force
Written By: Tessa Gratton
Published By: Random House Worlds
Release Date: June 11, 2024
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The next chapter in The High Republic brings us back to the adult novels with Temptation of the Force from Tessa Gratton. While all of the stories in The High Republic are geared to work together and move the overall story, generally speaking, these adult novels have served as the linchpins of everything going on. This is where the MAJOR, major events happen. Where the sprawling storylines (and characters) tend to come together and establish things that will impact the next wave of tales.

Temptation does this exceptionally well, all while still telling a (mostly) self-contained story. In fact, the longer I’ve thought about it, the closer it comes to being among my favorite High Republic books, sitting right up there with the initial Light of the Jedi. This is not something I say lightly. Temptation has that “it factor,” however and I imagine when all is said and done, it will be looked at as a standout in the whole initiative.

Riveting Story

As always, I’m going to veer away from spoilers, so I won’t be talking too much about the story. Generally speaking, with gaps now found in the Nihil Stormwall, the Republic and Jedi are working harder than ever to rescue those stuck on the other side. An unexpected (timing wise) defection lands them an opportunity to do something they haven’t been able to…fight back.

While Avar and Elzar take the spotlight on the cover, and definitely serve as the crux of the novel’s emotional beats, Temptation is still very much an ensemble adventure. As the pair work out their own feelings towards each other, while confronting some of their own failings, they put together a crack team of Jedi (most of whom we know and love) to strike at the heart of the Nihil.

Meanwhile, Jedi Knights Bell Zettifar and Burryaga, continuing their work on the border of the Stormwall, work to uncover a chilling new threat tied to some old enemies. Though answers to the new mystery seem few, unraveling them might be the key the Jedi need to deal with the terrible Nameless monsters. As the Jedi take to the fight directly to Marchion Ro and his minions, it becomes clear this conflict is entering an all new stage. One that could change the galaxy forever.

There’s also a fun little side-plot involving Porter Engle and General Viess. It feels almost entirely separate from the main plot going forward, but connects in some fun ways while managing to be compelling for its own reasons.

There’s a lot going on in this book, and the story doesn’t go where I thought it would. Hell, the midway point includes two major action set pieces that could have easily served as the finale in any other story. And somehow, the final act of Temptation manages to be even more intense. I’m talking legit white-knuckling tension going on.

Forward Progress

Temptation of the Force is incredibly well written. Tessa Gratton already impressed with her co-writing on Path of Deceit (Phase 2) and the more recent Defy the Storm. Temptation only cements how impressive her style is. She does an phenomenal job of getting inside the heart of these characters, while immersing you within the galaxy far, far away. Plus, the way she crafts action sequences paints a vivid picture. She manages to do all of this without heavy exposition dumps, keeping the pace running smoothly.

What I enjoyed most about the story, however, is how it feels like our characters are actually making some forward progress in their journey. For much of The High Republic (in regards to the main story with the Nihil), the Jedi and Republic have been getting their asses handed to them. They’ve had small victories here and there, mostly in terms of who they’ve been able to save, but it’s clear they’ve been on the losing end of this war. Temptation feels like things are finally coming together for our heroes (personally, emotionally, and on the war side), and it’s nice to see that happening.

It’s hard for me to look at The High Republic and not compare it to the Expanded Universe era initiative: the New Jedi Order and the war against the Vong. I loved (and still enjoy) the NJO stories, but one of the biggest issues I had with it, was how it felt like the heroes were losing all the way up until the end. The result was a victory that was more due to Deus ex Machina than anything else.

With Temptation of the Force, The High Republic deftly avoids this pitfall. Again, without trying to spoil anything explicit, the events of the novel feel far more decisive for our heroes. Not even talking about whether they’re winning or losing, but in how they’re responding to events. They’re moving from being reactionary to the Nihil threat, to planning ahead and fighting back. It’s a key difference and makes it feel like the larger story is shifting into a new gear.

Obviously, there are still plenty of projects left to go before this Phase wraps up. But everything about Temptation‘s story, and what it does with the characters, reaffirms my confidence in the overall plan/development of The High Republic while leaving me eager for more.

Strength of Character

Beyond the story and action, Temptation of the Force features great character moments. As the synopsis suggests, Avar and Elzar’s dynamic is at the heart of things, and I impressed at how well it works. I’m not entirely sure there’s going to be a happy ending down the road for them, but Gratton has done a great job of giving fans an engaging, and believable, Jedi love story.

Even with that focus, several of the other characters (especially Burryaga) are given a chance to shine. The character work throughout the entire novel is expertly handled; building on the aspects/traits we already enjoy from all the previous stories and bringing in new stuff to make them even more endearing.

Because of this character work, there’s a deeper level of emotional investment in the action sequences. It ups the stakes to the point I was seriously nervous to flip the pages towards the end; even as I had to know what came next.

Temptation of the Force is just a really, REALLY good book. In a series packed with excellent novels, it still manages to stand out. It’s so well written, I immediately started looking at Tessa Gratton’s non-Star Wars books. All in all, this book delivers the goods and sets the stage for The High Republic to get even crazier. Don’t even think about skipping this one.



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Jordan Maison
Jordan Maison
Lover of all things nerdy, Jordan's passion for books began at an early age and simply never stopped.