Claudia Gray once again delivers another instant favorite! Into the Dark is overflowing with loveable characters full of depth, growth, and quirks. We take our next steps deeper into The High Republic and find even more danger and darkness along the way. I love how the story takes a few of the Star Wars archetypes we are so familiar with and changes them up. In a galaxy as massive and deep as Star Wars, it’s great when storytellers find ways to change things up and give us something new.
How deep into the dark do we go?
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
Adventure, Excitement, A Jedi Craves Not These Things.
Meet our main dude Reath Silas! He’s an up and coming Padawan on his first mission away from the temple!
He doesn’t want to be on an adventure! He likes homework! He wants to study! He is that guy! Reath is so much more reserved than the usual Jedi Padawans we have met before. Watching him be tossed out of his comfort zone is an absolute joy. Reath has to the opposite problems of every over-adventure-eager Padawan we’ve seen!
Our Jedi are headed to the frontier and are in need of transport and who, pray tell, will answer the call.
Enter: The Vessel
Captain Leox Gyasi with his charm, wisdom, and whimsy make him my FAVORITE THING EVER. Claudia Gray mentioned Captain Gyasi as a space Matthew McConaughey. so DEFINITELY read the story with that lens as it makes all of his dialogue infinitely enjoyable.
Co-pilot Affie Hollow is a young woman who has lots of questions for Reath about the Jedi and Republic since she’s lived a life out on the fringes.
And finally Geode. Who is basically a rock. A capricious rock person. Who is also my favorite thing ever.
Reath travels with a few Jedi companions. Masters Vitus and Jareni. Along with his master’s former Padawan Dez Ryder! As the baby of the group, they all have much to teach Reath about being a Jedi and they all are unique in their approaches and relationship to the Force. Master Vitus has more in common with Reath as they are both interested in the histories and learning about ancient lore and artifacts. Jareni is another person who doesn’t quite fit in with the Jedi council. Dez definitely fills that big brother role in Reath’s life as is common in former Padawans. Not only are all the characters interesting and varied, but seeing them through the eyes of young Reath is a huge part of his growth and learning.
The story takes place soon after the Great Disaster (which we learned about in Light of the Jedi) and our characters find their travel plans interrupted, leaving them stranded in unfamiliar territory. The tone of the story is definitely evolving and becomes a bit dark as we go on (no, pun intended!)
Forest of Evil
This story introduces a new enemy to the Jedi.
Sentient, evil, carnivorous, mobile plants. While that may not sound very scary to us, who have seen Jedi carve up just about anything with lightsabers, the Drengir pose an extreme threat to our Jedi. Their numerous tentacles and bodies could regrow rapidly. Which rendered our good ol’ dependable lightsabers less than lethal. It’s clear that this new species is a major threat to The High Republic and a problem the Jedi may have trouble solving.
Bits and Pieces
The story is full of adventure (despite Reath’s wishes,) exploration, mystery, and darkness! The tone of the book surprised me as it went along. While I wouldn’t call it a horror story, there were some thrilling moments and scares for our characters along the way. There were countless details that I loved like the Kyber Arch, Padawan parties, the Amaxines, under the Jedi Temple, Wayseeking, the Byne Guild, and the Starlight Beacon! The characters bring originality and depth to the tale and I hope we see more of them in the future.
Okay just give me everyone…
- Sal P.