Justina Ireland brings us the next thrilling tale in the era of The High Republic; Out of the Shadows. The story follows Sylvestri Yarrow and a few familiar Jedi as they try to unravel the mystery behind a new rumored Nihil weapon, navigate traitorous political dealings, and follow clues to uncover hidden truths! The story itself reads more like a mystery or thriller than a straightforward action or adventure. Ireland keeps the questions coming as we move forward looking for answers!
This book is a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one!
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
Syl is a down on her luck pilot who recently lost her mother in a Nihil attack. As tragic as that is, she’s also had trouble trying to survive as a trader, barely scraped by with her small crew, and it seems her troubles with the Nihil aren’t quite over and her only worldy possession (her ship) is the one last thing she’s trying to keep afloat.
This is the first time the main character of a High Republic is a simple person trying to make their way in the galaxy! Most Star Wars stories are about heroes with destinies, leaders finding their calling, or villains with galactic designs on the galaxy. Syl is just someone trying to survive just like everyone else. It’s really a breath of fresh air to focus on someone like her in a grand galaxy. Much like a Han Solo or Tam Ryvora, Syl has her own dreams. Mostly centering on not ending up in debt which I’m sure many of us can relate to! Watching her story unfold, learning about her motivations, and seeing her grow is definitely the best and most unique thing about this book by far.
Masters and Apprentices
Vernestra Rwoh and Imri Cantaros (who we met in Ireland’s previous The High Republic Book; A Test of Courage) are back! Things have changed since their adventure on Wevo and so has their relationship. The story dives into Vernestra’s worries and wants as she tries to be the best Jedi Master she can be. There are some really interesting and unique Force abilities both Vernestra and Imri wrestle with. While Rwoh is still every bit the prodigy she still lacks experience and some things can only be learned by living them.
Master Cohmac and Reath Silas (both introduced in Claudia Gray’s Into the Dark) are also prominent characters in this book! Also with a new dynamic watching them interact with Vernestra and Imri works beautifully. Both share memorable moments with Vernestra throughout this adventure.
The Hyperspace Savant.
The plot revolves heavily around the Oracle. If you’ve read the other High Republic books then you are familiar with Mari and the Paths which are instrumental in the Nihil’s conquest. Our heroes desperately untangle the threads to figure out the Nihil’s plans for the galaxy.
And Mari San Tekka is the key.
Speaking of San Tekkas, we also learn much about the hyperspace family themselves. And not only the San Tekkas but their political/professional rivals:
Both families introduce us to a whole new world (cue Ariel) of wealth and resources that leave quite the impression on our main characters. Both families have political and business dealings across the galaxy. But are there darker secrets hidden?
That’s a question I just kinda threw out there…
I’m not gonna answer it.
Lighting the Way
We learn more about hyperspace and the ways the Nihil are utilizing it against their enemies. If you keep up with The High Republic then you are familiar with the Nihil and their paths. This book dives into a bit more details as the Republic and Jedi work together to uncover the newest Nihil threat.
The Nihil themselves are also at work on newer weapons, and a few familiar faces readers (and characters) might recognize definitely show up.
Bits and Pieces
This book dives deeper into more of the hidden and devious dealings within The High Republic that our intrepid heroes face. The characters are all wonderfully written and it’s a thing of beauty when Star Wars is able to bring us such a diverse cast of wonderfully fleshed out representation.
This book is a must-read for anyone curious about the politics of the era and the toll it takes on working people who are just trying to make their way in the galaxy. If you’re looking for something more of a Star Wars thriller or mystery then this is the book for you!
- Sal P.