Star Wars the High Republic – Into the Dark (Review)

BY CLAUDIA GRAY

Thank you Netgalley and Disney Books for the ARC.

Maybe I haven’t totally changed my mind about Claudia Gray as a writer for the Star Wars Universe, but my opinion of her work has definitely improved. Was this a great book? No. But was it good and did it keep me interested? Certainly. Did this book have numerous flaws? Without question. 

I really don’t like when there are like five or six characters to follow along in a story. I think it’s oversaturating the plot. Maybe it’s because one or two characters would be too short of a book, but the constant jumps between perspectives are exhausting to follow – especially in an ARC that has poorly laid out pages on the ebook format. There was one “main” character, Reath, and initially, I thought I’d be very connected to this Padawan who wanted to hide out in the Archives all day, but he actually became like a typical preteen boy, and his neurosis seemed very anti-Jedi at the end. I didn’t like him as much as I had hoped.

I did like the Wayseeker, Orla. Wayseeker is a term I hadn’t heard before, but it’s just a grey Jedi; someone who operates independently of the Council. 

I didn’t appreciate Gray adding new species, planets, cities, peoples… I am really exhausted by continuously having to update my reference texts that I’ve spent so much money on. It’s so unnecessary; you have a bazillion options available to you, just choose some that have already been written about. 

There are also some inconsistencies with regards to when the Jedis have their force sensitivities. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but to feel something so deeply in the Force that… doesn’t actually happen or exist… seems odd to me. It’s definitely a plot hole. 

Another issue I had with the text was the random mentions of sex. First of all, sex is implied in the Star Wars Universe, it’s so unnecessary to this world. Secondly, it added absolutely nothing to the plot in any way, shape, or form. And it was done on more than one occasion. It was truly lacking purpose. But I guess Gray wanted to cater to her YA fans by just mentioning the word “sex” (I don’t get it).

This seems like a lot of complaints, but here’s what I did like about the book:

  • I thought the world-building was great; I felt like I was on the station and in Coruscant
  • The philosophy and spirituality throughout the text was really profound and meaningful
  • I definitely wanted to know what would happen in the world and wanted to keep reading
  • I like this timeline and I’d be interested to keep reading books from it
  • I like the Sith and Sith lore… tell me more, tell me more…

But here’s what I didn’t like:

  • The action wasn’t exciting
  • The entire ending seemed rushed and half-hazardly all tied together
  • I genuinely didn’t care about the characters enough to worry about what happened to them
  • Random plot holes/points that made no sense

Overall, I’d give this book a three out of five stars. 

Gray continues to be an “okay” Star Wars author in my books (definitely not as bad as Carson who is AWFUL). 

I am excited to see where these books go, and I am excited to see what becomes canon/confirmed through this High Republic series.

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