Author Justina Ireland does it again with her new novel The High Republic: Out of the Shadows!
This is the second young adult novel in The High Republic publishing campaign set hundreds of years before The Skywalker Saga. Out of the Shadows takes place after the tragic attack at the Republic Fair depicted in The Rising Storm and Race to Crashpoint Tower — the first books released in the second wave of the campaign’s first phase. Ireland also wrote the middle-grade 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 continued adventures of Jedi Knight Vernestra “Vern” Rwoh, her Padawan Imri Cantaros (A Test of Courage), Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus, and his Padawan Reath Silas (Into the Dark) as they are assigned a mission to investigate unusual activity in the Berenge Sector. They are joined by Sylvestri “Syl” Yarrow, Jordanna Sparkburn, and Xylan Graf. There are four narrative points of view throughout this story: Vern, Reath, Syl, and Nan — a young member of the Nihil whom we met in Into the Dark.
This story truly stands out due to its strong character work. It introduces compelling and complex characters that really make this novel a top contender within the campaign — including Syl, who is a hauler just trying to make ends meet after losing her mother to a Nihil attack. Syl is definitely one of the strongest, most enthralling characters introduced in the books so far. She is filled with anger, longing, uncertainty, and skepticism. Ireland does a great job navigating these feelings Sly tries to work through as the story goes on.
Ireland also skillfully introduces her previous characters seen in her first middle-grade novel to a more mature audience, like Vern. There is more room to explore the young Jedi prodigy in a book meant for older readers, which really carries this story. We get to 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 relatable. 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. Her journey of self-discovery is truly intriguing and inspiring and drives the story forward.
On top of the captivating look into each of the characters’ inner thoughts and feelings as well as the Star Wars-esque adventure similar to most stories, Out of the Shadows also explores the politics of the galaxy during this era. We see Senators dealing with the threat of the Nihil, a wealthy family who discovered hyperspace routes a hundred years prior feuding, and the Jedi questioning their role in all of this. It’s a perspective we don’t get too much of in Star Wars, and it’s appreciated as this era continues to build and expand. I predict we will see more of this, which could possibly help explain why the Jedi Order is the way it is in the movies.
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Overall, Out of the Shadows proves to be another success for The High Republic publishing campaign. The characters really carry this story, rather than the plot itself. The plot, in my opinion, will set up another aspect to the bigger story within The High Republic universe. Ireland does a great job explaining the events that happened in the previous novels without spoiling major plot points, giving the reader the option to read this one on its own. I will say this is definitely my favorite book in this campaign so far! It ends on a satisfying note, yet leaves you wanting more, which is great since stories within this era will be coming out in the foreseeable future.
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 news.