Jedi Padawan Reath Silas isn’t sure if he’s ready for an adventure. Yet he finds himself boarding a small ship en-route to might-as-well-be-nowhere instead of remaining in the Jedi Archives where he feels most at home. Why? Because his Master said so. He has no other choice.
But when the Great Disaster hits, Silas and his newfound companions find themselves on a much more dangerous journey. Dark side energy, questionable plants, and a galaxy thrust into unprecedented chaos await the crew of The Vessel at every turn ... and there's something even darker waiting to strike.
Claudia Gray's first High Republic novel is not her first go at a Star Wars story, and it shows. Prepare to meet a cast of characters you'll never want to leave behind and dive into a story full of mystery, high-stakes action, and answers to questions about the Jedi and the Sith that will only leave you with -- you guessed it -- more questions.
Padawan Reath Silas is being sent from the cosmopolitan galactic capital of Coruscant to the undeveloped frontier—and he couldn’t be less happy about it. He’d rather stay at the Jedi Temple, studying the archives. But when the ship he’s traveling on is knocked out of hyperspace in a galactic-wide disaster, Reath finds himself at the center of the action. The Jedi and their traveling companions find refuge on what appears to be an abandoned space station. But then strange things start happening, leading the Jedi to investigate the truth behind the mysterious station, a truth that could end in tragedy….
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Claudia Gray has a great track record when it comes to Star Wars books which is the main reason why I was so stoked for this book. Although it doesn’t quite live up to her other works like _Lost Stars_ and _Bloodline_, _Into the Dark_ does its part in establishing the High Republic era with new characters, enemies, locations, and so forth. Although I would personally rank the entertainment value rather low, I still believe it to be a necessary read if you are looking for world-building content surrounding this era.
Admittedly, this one started slower than most of the other Claudia Gray Star Wars books I’ve read, but once she set the proverbial table, the feast was more than worth it! By the middle third of the book, it becomes clear that not everything was as it seemed and there was a fresh surprise around every corner – and I read the last third of the book in a single sitting! We’re introduced to an entirely fresh cast of richly detailed characters and presented with an intricately woven plot. By the end, Gray ties all the arcs into satisfying conclusions while leaving open paths I hope we get to explore with this new band of heroes.
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With Into the Dark, Claudia Gray writes the story of bookworm/historian Reath Silas who is dragged into an adventure he would rather not take. Gray has cemented her place among the greatest Star Wars writers with masterpieces such as Lost Stars and Master and Apprentice. After making her home run debut with original characters Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell, star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of the Galactic Civil War, Gray proceeded to write legacy characters for numerous consecutive books—Leia Organa, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. One of Gray’s strengths, however, is her creation of original characters. Drafting her to write a story with all-new characters in an all-new era is rife with possibilities.
Into the Dark excels in several key ways, firstly—its characters. The incorporation of Padawan relationships similar to what Gray established between Qui-Gon Jinn and Rael Aveross in Master and Apprentice is especially well-done. It’s very interesting to think about all-star, “illustrious” Jedi Dez Rydan through the perspective of Reath Silas. Both shared the same master and have a kinship of sorts, capitalizing on a strong element of Gray’s previous work. Furthermore, the massive cast of diverse Jedi is jaw-dropping, each with their own unique qualities. The two senior Jedi paired together on the main mission of the book, Orla Jareni and Cohmac Vitus, are exceptionally interesting original characters. They play off of one another with tremendous camaraderie and yet are vastly different. Orla is a Wayseeker, a Jedi who operates outside of the authority of the Council, who has taken such a path for reasons that are revealed through a series of flashbacks that take place periodically throughout the book. Cognac, like Reath, is a historian whose interest is piqued at the notion of being presented with unknown languages (which I love as a student of ancient languages myself)!
The mysterious setting was also another of the book’s strong points. I loved the mystery of the abandoned station, especially the arboretum. My imagination went wild with the thought of a plant-infested space station. Ultimately I wish they hadn’t spoiled the reveal of the villains with concept art on starwars.com, but hopefully that won’t be a detractor for everyone.
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