It has been a year since the devastating Emergence hyperspace incident, but the Nihil continue to battle the forces of the Republic and the Jedi at every turn. In the aftermath of the attack on the Republic Fair on Valo, a new threat arises that could disrupt hyperspace travel in ways that make the Emergence disaster look like child’s play.
Out of the Shadows is Justina Ireland’s second book in The High Republic series. Her first book, A Test of Courage was a stand out for me with it’s focus on characters, more than big plot points. Her second effort continues her fantastic character work while at the same time actually using plot points from the series to bring an end to some mysteries, while also opening up doors for the forthcoming books. I cannot overstate how much I appreciated her focus on characters. Yes, there is a new protagonist introduced in the story, but she uses this book to focus on some characters that readers have previously been introduced in previous books.
The focus on Vernestra, Imri, Cormac and Reath as the main Jedi was exactly what this story needed. By not creating new Jedi, she added some much needed depth to these characters while expertly weaving the plot around the character development. This depth was not only given to the Jedi, but to character like Senator Starros, the San Tekkas, the politics of the Republic and the connections between the Nihil and high-ranking members of Republic society. Ireland has finally made things feel like things are coming together in this series.
Much has been made about this being the golden age of the Jedi, but in reality, this feels more like the silver age (especially if the Prequels are the bronze age). The Jedi are already struggling with their relationship with the Republic and to whom their allegiance should lie with. Should it be to the Republic or should their only focus be on the will of the Force? As we know from Qui-Got Qinn, “Your focus determines your reality”. With the Jedi Council not in complete agreement on the issue, it is no wonder that the rest of the Jedi are finding themselves divided on what is the best course to be taken with the Nihil and Drengir threats. Ireland does a wonderful job of portraying the political and moral quagmire that is forming on Coruscant with the Jedi stuck in the middle.
Out of the Shadows is my favorite book in The High Republic series so far. I hope that this focus on characters continues in future books, because when you care about the characters it makes the rest of the plot much more meaningful and engaging. The book is rated 4 out of five stars.
This review was completed using a copy of Out of the Shadows provided by Disney Lucasfilm Press.
This review first appeared on The Star Wars Report