Pathfinder Dass Leffbrook, Jedi Rooper Nitani, and prospector Sky Graf set out to win the Hyperspace Chase and be the first to map the way to the mysterious Planet X. But hyperspace prospectors might not be the only ones seeking the same goals…
Tessa Gratton takes us on an adventure through a galaxy that will surprise our heroes at every turn along the way!
Ancient navigation! Family bonds! Challenging beliefs! Batuu! And finding purpose, duty, and identity!
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
Fast and Furious
Like the name “Hyperspace Chase” implies there is plenty of starship piloting action! But unlike the hyperspace journeys we are used to, our heroes pilot through unmapped regions exploring new ground and facing new dangers. The era of The High Republic makes the perfect setting to highlight this kind of exploration! I’ve always been curious about and seeing the different techniques and technology!
(Insert TechFascinating.jpg hereeeee)
The idea of the pathfinding teams has been set forth in other phase II books but here we get to see how it really works. While Rooper, Dass, and Sky might not be a complete pathfinder crew, they each bring their skills, training, and experiences to work like one! Sky is an amazing pilot who can navigate and handle plenty of technical things! Rooper is a Jedi… (padawan)… who leads and protects, just like her master taught her. And Dass is a prospector who can navigate and pilot! When the going gets rough, it’s their cooperation and trust in each other that gets them through.
While they all want to find Planet X, they each have their own reasons. Along the way, the characters have to figure out what is important to them and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be. Seems simple, but much like real life, it can be surprising when you get there. Family is always a core theme of Star Wars but this story incorporates it in such a beautiful way that it really hits me hard.
Like… even better than Fast and Furious…
The High Republic has been such a beautiful space for representation and this book shines bright. Sky Graf is a nonbinary character who is trying to find their place. Not only do they search for how to find their voice within their family, but we see some of their struggles as they try to find out who they are. There are a few really beautiful scenes of Sky’s backstory that felt vivid and real. Taking the time to shine a light on experiences that connect to real people who often don’t see themselves is something to be proud of. It’s also something that I hope keeps becoming more and more common. It’s these small steps forward that keep us heading toward a better reality.
Bits and Pieces
The story is beautifully crafted and deals with some remarkably deep themes in a very real and grounded way. There are moments where the characters find their ways and beliefs challenged. The adventure through the galaxy puts them to the test and sometimes the answers aren’t what they seem. The relationships are more than surface level and surprisingly layered and mature for what one might expect from a middle-grade book. As I’ve always said, just because there is a target audience for this story doesn’t mean those of us outside of that target can’t enjoy it as well! There is plenty of Star Wars action and exploration along with a few familiar places that I especially enjoyed.
This is a must-read for anyone out there feeling a little lost finding who you are. The characters learn, grow, and come to realize what’s really important. There aren’t many better lessons that Star Wars can give us.
- Sal P.