A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I ummed and ahhed about whether to give this book four or five stars for a while, but then I realised that my only issue with it was that it wasn’t what I expected it to be, and it’s not fair to judge a book against my expectations, I should review it for what it actually is.
You see, I moved straight on to reading this after Light of the Jedi, rather than reading a non-Star Wars book, as I usually do after reading a Star Wars book, because I assumed it would be a quick read. I thought I’d plow through this in a matter of days, and I was wrong. It’s a smaller sized hardback book, with larger type and it’s aimed at a younger audience, so I thought I’d finish it quickly. But what I found was a much deeper and engaging book that I expected. So, it’s not the book’s fault that I wasn’t able to finish it quickly and move on to another Witcher novel!
This book mainly deals with the subjects of loss and grieving, and how the grieving process can lead you to a dark place…which is especially dangerous for a Jedi (which is why attachments are discouraged, after all). We not only see this through the young Jedi Padawan, Imri, who loses his master, but also through a young boy called Honesty, who loses his father. Both of these deaths occur during a Nihil attack that leaves these two boys, along with young Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh and the even younger Avon Starros (an ancestor of Sanna Starros, who’s currently hanging out with Doctor Aphra over in her comic), stranded on a moon called Wevo, where the rain is so caustic that it can burn through their flesh.
Eventually they discover that they have company on Wevo, the Nihil who destroyed the ship they were travelling on and who are ultimately responsible for the death of their loved ones. Naturally this leads them facing the moral quandary of whether to take revenge or seek justice…and, well, it’s a Star Wars book so you can probably guess how it ends, but there are enough twists along the way to keep you from getting bored.
The characters are compelling and the book leaves you wanting to know more about all of them, and I believe we will, at the very least, be getting more of Vernestra and Imri (who have already had a brief cameo in the High Republic comic series), but I very much hope we also get to see more of the brilliant Avon too.