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4.3 out of 5
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  • Great sci-fi storytelling, lots of action.

    Before I continue, I recommend taking the extreme negative review(s) with a grain of salt. From a technical aspect, this book is very well-written with a comfortably clever dialogue as is common across the franchise. Telegraphing is minimal, action is frequent and clearly described even in more challenging settings, and storytelling is fluid. "It doesn't matter how far we run, or in what direction," Master Cohmac replied. "In the end, we always come back to the beginning." 'Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark' by Claudia Gray is the lastest release in the brand new era of stories which lays out the path of the Jedi prior to The Phantom Menace. Gray is one of a select handful of Star Wars universe authors chosen for this set of books. Already known for other stories within the franchise history such as 'Leia: Princess of Alderaan,' 'Lost Stars,' and 'Bloodline,' she's also released her own series.. the Firebird novels. Charles Soule authored the first of The High Republic era novels.. 'Light of the Jedi,' which was released in January and 'The Rising Storm' by Cavan Scott is due to arrive in June. "How can we split the Force in two? How can we justify such an act of violence--and it is violence, such a dividing, even the darkness divided from the light." 'Into the Dark' follows a padawan named Reath Silas who prefers the scholarly side of the Jedi Order. Most of his days at the Jedi Temple in Coruscant spent in the Archives studying, his Master takes an assignment in the undeveloped frontier in hopes it will broaden his interest in adventuring and help him achieve the much needed balance that's central to their practice. When the ship he's traveling on are forced to drop out of hyperspace due to a galactic-wide disaster, it's only the first in many things that begins to upend their plans. As the Jedi and their traveling companions have to take refuge on what appears to be an abandoned space station, the Jedi themselves begin to feel something at work within the Force that unnerves them. They suffer strange visions and feelings they can't explain. "Let me never forget," he thought, "that it is another living creature standing opposite my blade." Whether you're a Star Wars fan like myself or you just enjoy great sci-fi storytelling, there's nothing not to love about this book. It's filled with all the angst, mystery, and betrayal that the franchise has come to be known for throughout the years and the story itself is crafted expertly. There were things I expected to occur that never did and things I never saw coming until they were upon me. I express enough how rare those kinds of occurences are for me in any kind of media consumption.. but here we are. The dynamics between the characters are wonderfully fleshed out, especially within the smaller groups that have more familiarity with one another. The natural instincts to fall back on those they often knew best.. before the others.. sometimes worked against them and I feel the story constantly pushed each of them to see beyond their biases. "If you use your defeat to learn the path to victory, it was no defeat at all." ​ Of course, it wouldn't be a Star Wars story if it didn't make me well up with tears at least once.. and that certainly held true here. Gray did such a great job of weaving a connection between the characters and myself as a reader.. that I felt no indifference for anyone involved.. I was either deeply invested in their survival or their end. What I often love about this franchise is that even the 'heroes' are not infallible. They often suffer grave setbacks, question even the most desperate choices they're forced to make, and mourn the actions they eventually succumb to taking. It doesn't hurt, that Star Wars has taught me not to take even their most popular characters for granted.. because anyone can be lost, one way or another.. just as anyone can persevere, even if maybe we wish they wouldn't. (I received this title as an ARC. All opinions are mine and freely given.)

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