Book ReviewsBooksFeaturesReviews

Book Review: ‘Star Wars: Temptation of the Force’ by Tessa Gratton

Share this:

We’re currently heading towards the beginning of the end of the High Republic era with the second wave of phase 3 releasing over the next few months featuring comics, books and an audio drama. Author Tessa Gratton brings us her first adult novel in the High Republic with Temptation of The Force, the sequel to Eye of Darkness and a follow up to the rest of wave one of phase 3.

Temptation of the Force takes Avar Kriss, Elzar Mann, Burryaga and more on a galaxy changing adventure filled with romance, tension, fights and jaw-dropping cliffhangers. It is all beautifully woven together by Gratton.

This new novel weaves together threads from The Eye of Darkness by George Mann, Defy The Storm by Tessa Gratton & Justina Ireland and certain projects and ideas from Phase 2 of the High Republic to give us the most hopeful, romantic and climatic book of phase 3 and perhaps even the entire High Republic so far.

[Note: While I am reviewing this book independently and honestly, it should be noted I was given a digital copy of the book by Penguin Random House for the purpose of this review. This will be a spoiler free review outside of the setting of the story and general character arcs!]

Temptation of The Force is set three months after the traumatic events of The Eye of Darkness and Elzar Mann and Avar Kriss have reunited, with both characters having a lot to deal with physically, emotionally and with themselves. With these two characters is where the book and Gratton shines most, the theme of love is prevalent throughout the whole of Temptation of The Force whether it is between two people or love for the galaxy as a whole with all its beings and animals.

Temptation of The Force brings together lots of characters

Elzar and Avar are two characters who need each other the most as the book plays out. Both have been through so much throughout phases 1 and 3, and as they are brought back together after a year apart at the end of Eye of Darkness.

We see their complicated feelings for each other shine through in Temptation of the Force. Gratton writes a beautifully hopeful, genuine connection between the pair. They both have a lot to work out between them, such as Elzar reaching into the darkside previously, and Avar who is both ready and willing to show her feelings to Elzar but is scared about attachment. We truly see them shine when they are both together, both with their feelings and as two of the best Jedi the order has to offer.

Beyond their feelings for one another they both feel just as greatly about stopping Marchion Ro and the Nihil, and after The Eye of Darkness, things in that regard had never seemed so far away. But with Temptation of The Force being all about finding hope and love again even in the darkest of times, things start to look up for the Jedi.

With this book following on from not only The Eye of Darkness but also Defy The Storm, it brings in characters from both books. We find out pretty quickly that Avon Starros (known as Sunvale in this book) has built a device that allows the Jedi and the Republic, in small numbers, to cross the Stormwall without being ripped into shreds. This allows for the book to really find itself quickly and bring back some hope to the galaxy and to readers alike, and brings us straight into the action, allowing the Jedi and Republic to take the fight to the Nihil.

A good chunk of Temptation of The Force revolves around the liberation of Naboo (newly brought into the occlusion zone at the end of The Eye of Darkness) from the clutches of Nihil and General Viess, one of the main antagonists in the book. She is just as formidable as she was in The Eye of Darkness, and it is revealed in the prologue to Temptation of The Force that Porter Engle survived his encounter with Viess at the end of the previous book.

The pair in this book carry on their long fought rivalry, and both characters continue to surprise the reader and keep us on the edge of our seat. Tessa Gratton does an expert job in bringing all the history and connection these two characters have into this book and also leaves us with one massive bombshell towards the end that honestly made me gasp out loud…

Gratton brilliantly juggles plenty of characters and plot points carried from both books in Temptation of The Force. None more so than the blight, which was teased and first introduced in Defy The Storm, it plays a big role in this book. There is plenty of mystery surrounding the blight and what it means for the galaxy, and Gratton expertly gives this role of solving it to Marchion Ro, one of the main villains of the book.

Marchion Ro is perhaps one of my favorite villains in all of Star Wars. Beautifully menacing, haunting and reckless all in one. Yet, I believe he is at his very best in Temptation of the Force. Taking on a more aloof role in the book, we see how he interacts and deals with the mystery of the blight and just how much the politics of the Nihil bore him, leaving a lot of it to his ministers.

With Gratton having written other Ro’s back in phase 2, we see some teases and plot points brought through the Ro dynasty into this book, making Marchion even more menacing and crazy, readers will be scrambling to get to his next chapter as they read this book to uncover the mystery of the blight with him and see how he can use it against the Jedi.

Temptation of the Force by Tessa Gratton
Marchion Ro isn’t the only one investigating the blight in the book, Bell Zettifar and Burryaga return from The Eye of Darkness. They are still on the edges of Republic space helping out the systems and people closest to the occlusion zone. The pair end up being drawn into the mystery of the blight and intend to find out what it means for the galaxy.

Whilst Bell takes more of a backseat in this novel, Burryaga truly gets to shine in this book. Burryaga has been through a lot since being trapped under the ocean after The Fallen Star, we see how this affects him in the book and also how he overcomes this. Gratton beautifully paints Burryaga as a very compassionate character with so much love for the people of the galaxy, as he overcomes the feelings of loneliness and despair he felt at the bottom of the ocean.

Burry wants nothing more than to reach out to all the beings and help them in any way he can. This proves fruitful with the threat of the blight and its wanton destruction of every living thing, as well as later in the book where something happens through Burryaga’s journey and feelings that set the stage for a very interesting revelation, something which could be key to the rest of the phase.

Vernestra Rwoh, hot off the heels of her appearance in The Acolyte (in fact episode 3 of the show releases the same day as the book!) also has a role to play in Temptation of The Force. While it is a small role, she plays a very important part towards the end of the book and, in general, is just a great well-liked character to have tag along with Avar and Elzar. Especially with the tension between herself and Elzar which does play a part in Temptation of The Force.

Politics also play a part in Temptation of The Force with the Republic under just as much stress as the Jedi order, Chancellor Lina Soh and Nihil Minister Ghirra Starros play an intricate game of manipulation with one another throughout the book, with Ghirra pushing for legitimacy for the Nihil and a seat for them in the senate. Lina Soh has to juggle opposition from all sides as well as dealing with the Jedi, the blight and the still lingering presence of the Stormwall.

It’s always a delight when The High Republic delves into the politics of the era, and Tessa Gratton does not disappoint as she brings us plenty of political machinations and personality to the senate and Republic at large.

The downsides of Tessa Gratton’s new Star Wars novel

For me, there is not a lot that I didn’t absolutely love about Temptation of The Force. However, I did feel like some characters should have gotten a little more time to shine, especially not knowing where they might show up again. I also felt the book falters a little in the middle before it ramps up again towards the end.

The book also seems to ask more questions than it answers in some regards, with it being the middle book of the trilogy. We do get plenty of answers, but it feels late to be asking some pretty big ones this deep into phase 3. That beings said, I’m happy to be proven wrong for the rest of the phase, where I believe we will start to really get some big answers!

Summing up Star Wars: Temptation of the Force

Temptation of The Force marks a triumphant, engaging and phenomenal addition to the High Republic saga. Tessa Gratton truly excels and brings us engaging romance, expert action, beautifully written character arcs and two absolutely huge cliffhangers. This book is bound to have all manner of High Republic fans screaming, gasping and on the edge of their seat the whole way through.

Gratton has brought us some amazing High Republic works, a lot of which is brought into Temptation of The Force in more ways than you might expect. This book marks a beautiful blend of all three phases, showing off the richness of the High Republic and also just how well thought out the initiative is. Re-finding hope and love is the key to Temptation of The Force and you will have so much love for this book. I promise.

My Rating: 9/10

Star Wars: Temptation of the Force by Tessa Gratton is available June 11, 2024, most places books are sold. Are you planning on reading this one? Let us know what you think on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord!

The Acolyte Introduces Viewers to a New Era of Star Wars

the acolyte premiere review

Review: Pliable Truths by Dayton Ward (A Star Trek: The Next Generation Novel)

Pliable Truths A Star Trek The Next Generation Novel


Share this: