Into the Dark’s Reath Silas and A Test of Courage’s Verestra Rwoh return for another adventure in Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland
It’s time to return to The High Republic era in Justina Ireland’s Out Of The Shadows. But can this hotly-anticipated novel live up to the hype? Let’s find out.
STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC – OUT OF THE SHADOWS | Justina Ireland
Sylvestri “Syl” Yarrow has just lost her ship to the Nihil, barely escaping with her life. Determined to convince the Republic of what’s going on in the Berenge Sector, she travels to Coruscant. But the only one that will listen is Xylan Graf, the ultra-rich descendant of hyperspace prospectors.
Meanwhile, Vernestra and her Padawan Imri have been called back to Coruscant to go on a special mission. Their assignment is to accompany Xylan and Syl to the Berenge sector to investigate a possible Hyperspace weapon. Reath Silas and his Master Chomac Vitas are also assigned to accompany the group to the Berenge Sector. But when it becomes clear their host is being less than truthful, the Jedi and Syl might be in for a fight they didn’t count on.
This YA title had a lot of political maneuvering. And not just by the Republic officials but by the Jedi as well. The Grafs and Senator Starros are each playing one another, and the Grafs are also playing the Nihil. The Jedi are placating Senator Starros and going along with the Republic’s slow response to the Nihil threat. Everyone is manipulating someone or multiple someones.
Vernestra, unfortunately, finds herself being used by Senator Starros to manipulate and embarrass Xylan, much to her chagrin. Syl is also being used by Xylan but has enough life experience to know she’s being used. The outcome of all this manipulating and backstabbing will have some interesting implications going forward with The High Republic as a whole.
Our Point of View characters in this novel are Vernestra, Reath, Syl, and Nan. The Nihil girl from Into the Dark. Nan has the least chapters, followed by Reath, with Syl and Vernestra having the most. I was kind of disappointed that Imri didn’t get any point-of-view chapters. And that instead, we had to hear of his struggles with his burgeoning empathic abilities through Vernestra and Reath. It would have been nice to have his view on his powers. Plus, Vernestra and Imri are both Ireland’s characters from A Test of Courage so I expected his point of view. Although, it’s impossible to know who on the team created which characters for sure and which were collaborations.
Vernestra still struggles with being a young Knight. Her young age makes her a bit naïve as to how she is seen by others. And not realizing at first that she’s being used. At the same time, she struggles to know if she’s doing right by Imri and not knowing how to help him with his empathic abilities. Which she fears could be Dark Side tinged. She’s also dealing with her own mysterious power, but I don’t want to spoil that. As a final note on Vern, if I’m interpreting a few lines about love, sex, and dating correctly, Vern is another Asexual character added to the cannon.
Syl is struggling with the realization that she didn’t fully know her mother. Through the course of the novel, she learns her mother was not only college-educated but nearly obtained a doctorate in Hyperspace Theory. She then learns she might not be dead, but collaborating with the enemy. And she begins to question all the hard lessons her mother taught her. And all the times she left her for months with friends to learn a lesson. Syl is also a lesbian meaning this book adds two LGBTQIA characters to the cannon.
This book brought back characters from previous YA and MG novels and introduced us to new ones. I hope Syl and her girlfriend Jordonna return for a final battle with the Nihil. I also want to see Imri’s and Vernestra’s abilities explored more. However, this wasn’t as exciting overall as I was hoping. It had its moments of action and adventure. Mostly towards the end, but this was mainly a political novel. Thankfully, it wasn’t as complicated as adult political ones are. It also had some points that seemed to be distractions from the main plot, but later became relevant. The plot really picked up though when all the characters met up.
However, that’s not to say this was a bad book, because it was an enjoyable read and an interesting story. As I said, the ending will have some implications for the plot going forward. What exactly the Grafs are planning and where the final Path the Oracle gave Vernestra leads will make things interesting. This was kind of a bridge between this phase and the next and I’m excited to see it play out.
I give Out Of The Shadows four stars. It will easily be enjoyed by teen and adult fans but is perhaps best relatable for older teens due to the point of view of characters being seventeen and eighteen.
Star Wars: The High Republic – Out Of The Shadows by Justina Ireland is published by Disney Books and is available to buy now.
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I’m Mina, the Jedi Librarian. I’m a teen services librarian, lover of all the books, and a lifelong Star Wars fan. I’m also secretly a Jedi.