A character-driven mission that leaves readers wanting more
Author Justina Ireland does it again with her new novel The High Republic: Out of the shadows!
This is the second novel for young people in The High Republic publication campaign set hundreds of years before The Skywalker Saga. Out of the shadows takes place after the tragic attack on the Republic Fair described in The storm that rises and Crashpoint Tower Race – the first books published in the second wave of the first phase of the campaign. Ireland also wrote the intermediate level novel The High Republic: a test of courage for the first wave of stories, which came out earlier this year. You can read our book review here.
Out of the shadows follows the continuing adventures of Jedi knight Vernestra “Vern” Rwoh, her Padawan Imri Cantaros (A test of courage), Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus, and his Padawan Reath Silas (In the dark) as they are tasked with investigating unusual activity in the Berenge area. They are joined by Sylvestri “Syl” Yarrow, Jordanna Sparkburn and Xylan Graf. There are four narrative perspectives throughout this story: Vern, Reath, Syl, and Nan – a young Nihil member we met in In the dark.
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This story really stands out for its strong character work. It features fascinating and complex characters that really make this novel a top contender in the campaign – including Syl, who is a transporter who is just trying to make ends meet after losing his mother to an attack. by Nihil. Syl is certainly one of the strongest and most exciting characters featured in the books so far. It is filled with anger, longing, uncertainty and skepticism. Ireland does a great job of dealing with those feelings that Sly tries to overcome as the story goes.
Ireland also skillfully introduces her previous characters seen in her mid-level debut novel to a more mature audience, like Vern. There is more room to explore the young Jedi prodigy in a book aimed at older readers, which really carries that story. We see a lot of conflicting emotions within the character that we only got a glimpse of in the previous book. Vern has a lot of self-doubt in this story, which ultimately makes her more accessible. Despite being one of the youngest Jedi Knights, her hesitation and wavering thoughts show the audience that she is only human, or should we say Mirialan. His journey of self-discovery is truly intriguing and inspiring and pushes the story forward.
In addition to the captivating look at the inner thoughts and feelings of each of the characters as well as the Star wars-esque adventure similar to most stories, Out of the shadows also explores the politics of the galaxy at this time. We see senators facing the threat of the Nihil, a wealthy family who discovered the roads of hyperspace a hundred years before the feuds, and the Jedi questioning their role in it all. It’s a perspective we don’t get too much Star wars, and it is appreciated as this era continues to build and expand. I predict we’ll see more of them, which might help explain why the Jedi Order is as it is in the movies.
Overall, Out of the shadows turns out to be another success for The High Republic publication campaign. The characters really carry that story, rather than the plot itself. The plot, in my opinion, will set up another aspect of the bigger story within The High Republic universe. Ireland does a great job of explaining the events that happened in previous novels without spoiling the main plot points, giving the reader a chance to read this one for themselves. I will say this is definitely my favorite book in this campaign so far! It ends on a satisfying note, but leaves you wanting more, which is great as stories from that era will be coming out for the foreseeable future.
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Star Wars: The High Republic: Out of the Shadows is available for Pre-order now, and will be available in stores on July 27. Stick with Nerds and Beyond for more Star Wars: The High Republic new.