Book Review | Star Wars: The High Republic ‘Quest for Planet X’
Max takes a space detour to join the Quest For Planet X in Lucasfilm’s latest addition to The High Republic initiative
The High Republic Phase II is chugging along, and giving us tons of fun reading material for all ages to enjoy.
The Quest for Planet X is a middle-grade novel written by Tessa Grafton and ties into the adult novel Convergence written by Lydia Kang. Lydia’s novel has the tone of an adult novel. And Quest is very similar in the vein of Quest for the Hidden City. I have become aware of how this whole storytelling initiative is laid out.
Convergence was very dark and showcased the brutality and exhaustion of war, while Quest was extremely PG in almost everything that occurred. I understand that it is for kids, and having people die or go through emotional trauma is not something they are looking to do. However, sometimes (for a super-fan such as myself), I find adventures where nothing irreversibly bad happens to be childlike or bland. Adventures need consequences and you don’t need to put on the kid gloves just because it’s for children. Then again, many parents may disagree with me.
THE JEDI PADAWANS
The strength and depth of this book’s writing were building up the characters for sure. And the very real consequence is that sometimes things don’t work out and you have to abandon your desire to be responsible and benefit more people. The characters are all young teens starting from 12-16. Rooper the Jedi Padawan. Sky Graff, the rich kid, and Dass Leffbruk, the happy-go-lucky aspiring hyperspace prospector.
Rooper is a very cute character. She is 15 years old and already is an accomplished Jedi whose heart is pure, and cares deeply for Dass who she almost regards as a little brother. Sky Graff is also an interesting character as they do not identify as male or female. And I must confess I had difficulty figuring out what gender she was assigned at birth. Based on a few scant details, it appears to me that Sky was born female but self-identifies as male like their older brother Helis.
HELIS AND SKY
Both Helis and Sky are the scions of the infamous Graff family. A bunch of rich hyperspace trailblazers with questionable morals. In the adult books, several of them commit murder and are arguably evil. But this book shows that this batch of family members is moral. Sky is obsessed with finding the mythical planet X (for reasons unknown in the beginning) and very much misses his father who vanished a year prior. He convinces Dass to join him on his quest and then manages to guilt Rooper into helping as well.
Sky, who stole an awesome ship from Helis and Dass has split from his father Spence to go on this potentially dangerous mission as well. Lastly, Rooper has left Batuu without permission from his master, Silandra Sho. So this is a tale of 3 teenagers who sneak out and do something without parental permission. Throughout the novel, I expected Sky to betray the good-hearted Rooper and Dass. But I was pleasantly surprised to see he isn’t a bad guy at all. Just obsessed with Planet X.
I also liked the Path of the Open Hand member who tries to abduct them on their journey. But due to circumstances, ends up joining them and developing a slight parallel of Stockholm Syndrome with the children. This individual isn’t a bad being and you will instantly recognize them from Path of Deceit. They originally feel that Rooper is abusing the Force like all other Jedi, but as he gets to know Rooper – it is fun to watch his anger and beliefs shift.
A LOST IN SPACE ADVENTURE
So, the character development was very fun to read. I was also initially super-excited to have a Lost in Space-type adventure. But due to the lack of “consequences” for the characters, I was a little disappointed. Things like nobody dying, and Helis not being ridiculously furious at Sky for stealing his ship. And the fact that the Path individual was able to retrieve his family so easily was not very believable to me. Yet, I cannot deny that the realism of the stark realization that sometimes when you are on a never-ending quest and have lost sight of what you want, the journey can be a fool’s errand, was very poignant to me. Sky is so desperate to reach Planet X that he loses sight of what is truly important. And he must come to terms with the sobering truth that the whole quest really will not be the answer to the question he is seeking. Sometimes, kids need to learn these lessons even though it is heartbreaking. It’s part of growing up.
Gratton is a good writer. There is no denying that. The tie-in to the final consequences of Convergence fizzled out quicker than I would have liked. And the whole happily-(almost)-ever-after for a majority of the characters was just a little too complacent for me. Yet the whole failure of Planet X made up for it a bit. Overall, I admire the writing and character development. I also liked when Rooper deflected laser cannons in space. She will certainly become a very powerful Jedi when she gets older. But overall, this adventure earns a B- from me.
Star Wars: The High Republic: Quest For Planet X is available to order now.
Will you be adding this latest volume from The High Republic to your collection? Sound off below and share your thoughts.
Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!