Book Review, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Into the Dark (Star Wars Disney Canon Novel) by Claudia Gray

Not everyone who hears the call to adventure wants to answer it….

Jedi Padawan Reath Silas loves adventure—reading about it, that is, not living it. Content to spend hours browsing the Jedi Archives on Coruscant, Reath dreams of being one of the great scholars of the Jedi Order. But Reath’s master, the well-respected and virtuous Jora Malli, has other plans: she’s taken a post at Starlight Beacon, the Republic’s shining new outpost on the edge of known space. As her Padawan, Reath must join her, whether he likes the idea or not. (And he most definitely does not.)

So Reath reluctantly boards the ship that will take him and a few other Jedi to the dedication of Starlight Beacon, where Master Jora waits for him to start their new adventurous life on the frontier. But trouble in hyperspace leaves the ship and other nearby vessels stranded, with only an eerie abandoned space station reachable for shelter. And the secrets hidden there will not only bring Reath to a crossroads but, if left unchecked, could plunge the entire galaxy into darkness….

Into the Dark is the introduction of the High Republic era for the young adult genre. Like A Test of Courage, this book coincides along with part two of Light of the Jedi. You do not need to read it in order to understand this book, but I highly recommend it for a richer experience in the current state of the galaxy. Personally, I enjoyed this book more than Light of the Jedi. The pacing of the book stayed steady and was medium (not too slow or fast) and I could get into more of the characters. 

Reath Silas is a Jedi Padwan who is not like what we are used to seeing. Instead of adventure, he is more of the scholarly side. He enjoys his time within the archives of the Jedi library instead of practicing different lightsaber techniques. His Master, Jora Malli, tries to encourage him to be balanced in both the scholar and adventure, and takes a permanent position on the Starlight Beacon, the Republic’s shining new outpost on the edge of known space. And this begins Reath’s adventure and puts the knowledge he learns in the archives, to the test. Reath is a well-written character and one I am looking forward to reading during this era. He grows so much in this book and, as a reader, you can clearly see it from beginning to end.

Along with Reath Silas, there are three more Jedi that get their introduction into this era: Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus, Jedi Knight Dez Rydan, and Jedi Wayseeker Orla Jareni. All three characters are well written and have grabbed my attention. I can not wait to read more about their adventures. Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus, like Reath, is a scholar and a mystic and someone who Reath looked up to during this voyage without his Master. He was very unsure of himself, even toward the end of the book. I believe it has something to do with a failed mission he and Orla Jareni had experienced in their past.

Jedi Knight Dez Rydan is a charismatic knight. He took a hard hit on this journey. Toward the end of the book, he was not the same Jedi and most likely never will be. Jedi Wayseeker Orla Jareni is a character I am most excited about. She had left the Order to explore an unknown region on her own. I believe Wayseeker is the new form of Grey Jedi from the legends canon. One who walks their own path, neither light nor dark.

Besides the Jedi, the author introduces readers to the crew of the Vessel: Leox Gyasi, Affie Hollow, and Geode. All three are part of the Byne Guild. Leox is a skilled pilot, showing his skills when he had to sneak past a Nihil Cloud without expending enough power to show up on their sensors. Affie is Leox’s co-pilot and adopted daughter of Scover Byne, the head of the Byne Guild. She is a smart character and wants to prove herself and the guild she can take over one day when Scover retires. 

I love the father, daughter thing going on with Leox and Affie. The two are perfect for each other and Leox is a great mentor for Affie. I love these two characters and hope for more of them in the future. Geode is the navigator and a rock. Yes, you read that right, a rock. In all honesty, I do not know the point of this character besides his role towards the end. I think he supposed to be a funny, but I felt like he was a pointless character. Maybe he will have a bigger role in future books.

There are two antagonists in this book. The author reintroduces the Nihil and introduces the Drengir. The Drengir are sentient carnivorous plants and, as readers, we learn they are connected to the Dark Side and use it to mind-control their prey. I have to say, so far I am not impressed with any of the antagonists in this era so far. I am hoping the more I read this era, the more this will change for me.  

An ancient space station is the primary setting of this novel. There is an eerie and off feeling about the location, as if there are many secrets. It was well developed and as a reader; I have a feeling this will not be the last we see this station. There has to be a bigger part for this station with the secrets we learn.  

Into the Dark was a good book and, so far, my favorite in this era, but not my favorite Claudia Gray Star Wars novel. Like I said in the beginning, Light of the Jedi, Test of Courage, and Into the Dark are introduction books for this era in their age groups. There are a lot of character and world building. My interest in this era has not faltered. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Star Wars and the era way before the Phantom Menace. This is also good for those who like space adventure books.

I give this book a 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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