The Saga Continues: ‘Convergence’ by Zoraida Cordova

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Convergence by Zoraida Cordova kicks off Phase Two of the Star Wars High Republic and in a somewhat surprising choice from the writing team, we’re traveling even further back in time – many generations before the events of Phase One.

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In Convergence, we are introduced to the twin planets of Eiram (the planet that Starlight Beacon will provide aid in the novel The Fallen Star) and E’ronoh which have been locked in a Forever War for generations. On Eiram, the people are starving and fearful of the powerful monsoons that sweep away buildings. On E’ronoh, endless droughts are causing hunger and poverty as money is constantly diverted to funding more technologically advanced spaceships to fuel the war.

When the Jedi and the Republic arrive to provide aid, they see an opportunity to open peace negotiations which lead, seemingly inevitably, to a betrothal between Phan-tu Zenn the adopted prince of Eiram, and Captain Xiri Al’baran, princess of E’ronoh, and one of her planet’s strongest military leaders. But as wedding plans are hastily put in place, it becomes evident to everyone that there are forces all around who are determined to keep the planets at war no matter what the cost.

Working with the couple is Jedi Knight Gella Nattai, who has been assigned to the Outer Rim in what she considers akin to punishment after a bad decision on a previous mission that resulted in her losing members of her team. Doubting herself, Gella will need to rely on her connection to the Force to keep the fragile peace together and understand her connection to the roguish Axel Greylark, the playboy son of the Chancellor who has also found himself sent to the warring system against his wishes as Republic representative in order to get him away from the gambling dens of Coruscant. As Gella’s faith pushes against Axel’s distrust of the Jedi, the two will have to work together to understand what is really going on and who is behind the attempts to reignite the war.

As the opening book in a whole new phase of Star Wars storytelling, Convergence has a lot on its shoulders – not least because it needs to introduce us to a whole new cast of characters living in an unfamiliar period. One of the ways it eases this dumping of new information is by sticking to a familiar core plot scenario: two opponents at war that begin to negotiate peace through an alliance between their young heirs. It’s a trope we’ve seen dozens of times and that familiarity helps guide us through this new era, giving us the space to breathe that allows the more unique elements of this story to not get lost.

The characters here are all immediately likable, except for the obvious anti-hero of Axel whose playboy shenanigans make him something of an antagonist to all, even if it is obvious that he’s hiding something painful close to his heart. The young Jedi Knight Gella reminded me of Elzar Mann in phase one as she grapples with her connection to the Force following a major change and it was fascinating to watch her relationship with Axel grow and shift, something we’ve rarely seen so far from the usually stoic Jedi.

Phan-tu and Xiri are both fairly typical young heir characters although I appreciated the diversity of Phan-tu’s heritage and the obvious choice to make Xiri the warrior figure and Phan-tu the more nurturing of the pair. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen their “love from opposite sides” trope in Star Wars – Claudia Grey’s Lost Stars tells the story of Rebel/Imperial lovers – but the pair both do justice to the trope, coming across as fully rendered characters and not the two-dimensional cutouts they so easily could have been.

Overall, Convergence is a fun, easy read that sets the tone for this new phase of the High Republic and has me excited to read more from it. What more could you ask for?

GeekMom received a copy of this title for review purposes.

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