Into the Dark adds brilliant depth to the High Republic era of Star Wars

Photo: Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark - Book Cover.. Image Courtesy Disney Publishing Worldwide
Photo: Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark - Book Cover.. Image Courtesy Disney Publishing Worldwide /

After dominating the internet for all of January, Star Wars: The High Republic is back again to take over the Star Wars fandom this February. The newest release, Into the Dark by Claudia Gray, is a brilliant novel that follows several complex characters after the event known to the era as The Great Disaster. This article will solely discuss this novel with no tie-ins to those released in January, and will not contain spoilers.

During a live stream with all of the authors of the High Republic novels, it was said that, as long as a reader had knowledge of the Great Hyperspace Disaster, any reading order would be okay. Into the Dark certainly proves this, as it creates a great standalone story on its own. The effects created by the Great Disaster are something expanded on and explored in this story.

During this novel, there are two timelines. One explores what is happening currently within the disaster, and the other explores events that happened 25 years earlier, all of which have a direct impact on the characters now. There is no doubt that the events that take place in this novel change these characters forever, leaving most in drastically different mindsets than where they started.

The era of The High Republic is vastly different from anything fans have seen from Star Wars. While the prequel movie trilogy gives viewers a small taste of Jedi in their prime — with trained lightsaber duals, formal council meetings, and helping others being some of the highlights — even those three movies show fans why a downfall happens and what causes it. The Jedi, at that point, seem rather stretched thin and most all are fierce warriors. The High Republic has an entirely different tone.

The best example in this novel is Reath Silas. Reath is an incredibly smart Padawan, who, until the events that take place in the novel, is mainly just an academic. Sure, he took lessons to wield a lightsaber like all the other Padawans, but he much prefers learning about history. He loves research and spending time in the Jedi Archives at Coruscant. He doesn’t have to battle every day or guard anyone if he doesn’t want to; he can just soak up knowledge all day.

It isn’t until his master Jora Malli makes other plans that he even considers a future as anything different. Jora decides to push Reath outside of his comfort zone and takes up a post in an entirely different area at the shiny new Starlight Beacon! While Jora travels ahead and waits for him, Reath boards the Vessel, where he gets to meet new people that will end up being more important than he could ever realize.

When the Great Disaster strikes, the Vessel becomes stranded in an unfamiliar area of space. The passengers of this ship are stranded for a period of time on a station that contains something truly dark. In this novel, readers will learn of two different enemies who are both deadly and standing in the way of the main characters. Just when it appears the worst is over, or that possibly the story is calming down, even more is revealed. It’s truly mind-boggling.

This book tests all of the characters in different and unimaginable ways, leaving some so changed that their lives will never be the same again. Even Reath is pushed to his limits, and in the end, readers may be surprised by how far he will go for himself and his people.

One thing that fans will love about this book is that, by the end, nobody seems like the cookie-cutter “good guy” hero. There is no Obi-Wan wannabe or Princess Leia knock-off. There is talk of love within the Jedi, and questions that fans wouldn’t expect to come from Masters of the Force. Nonetheless, fans will be able to see why these characters are who they are and why they make the decisions they do.

Claudia Gray created an absolute masterpiece with incredible depth. This is a must-read for any Star Wars fan in 2021.

The Great Disaster created a ripple effect across the entire galaxy. Actions that these characters take may create effects unimaginable to the future of this era. If Charles Soule started the creation of a butterfly effect with Light of the Jedi, then Claudia Gray created the stunning design of a Monarch into the timeline with Into the Dark.

dark. Next. A family review of The Great Jedi Rescue

Have you read any of the High Republic novels yet? Are you going to be buying Into the Dark? Tweet me your thoughts @Mamadeadhead on Twitter.