Book Review – The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray

Into the Dark

The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray is the first YA novel in the Star Wars: The High Republic multimedia series, which is set 200 years before Star Wars Episode I. Jedi Padawan Reath Silas may not be as Force-sensitive as his peers, but the young apprentice works hard to earn his mettle within the Jedi Order, determined to become one of its great scholars. His ideal routine of plunging into the Archives of the Jedi Temple on the planet Coruscant is stripped away, however, when his Master, Jora Malli, becomes the Jedi commander of Starlight Beacon, a space station on the Republic frontier in the Outer Rim territories of the galaxy.

Reath isn’t the adventurous type, but where his Master goes he must follow. Travelling to Starlight separately from her,  with Jedi Masters Orla Jareni and Cohmac Vitus, and Jedi Knight Dez Rydan, he is struck with trouble sooner than expected. A disaster in Hyperspace forces their transport ship to seek refuge on a derelict space station, along with a number of other refugee spacecrafts. While the reason for the catastrophe eludes them, the station itself holds a dark secret: an overbearing presence of the Dark side of the Force that Reath and his fellow Jedi struggle to understand. If they’re not careful, a nightmarish scourge that has been dormant for eons could be released upon the galaxy.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – July 21, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Nothing at the moment! 👻 I’m between books. No progress made on Hope is the Thing with Feathers: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson either.


Recently Finished

Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters Vol3Over the weekend I read through Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters Volume 3 by Jason Ciaramella et al, finishing up this little trilogy of Godzilla comics. This time around the creative team was entirely overhauled. Something tells me higher-ups somewhere weren’t happy with the way the comic was going. I don’t blame them, I haven’t been fond of this series at all, though this was certainly the best one. Gone is the weird cynicism and painfully unsubtle cultural commentary. This is simply wrapping up the story, such as it is, having the psychic twins try to control Godzilla himself and having the soldier man pilot Mechagodzilla and square off against the old King of the monsters as well. It’s more action-packed with the clear objective of just ending it all. In that way it made for simple fun, with platitudes about the human spirit tacked on at the end.

Into the DarkThe other night I also finished reading The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray, the first YA novel in the Star Wars: High Republic multimedia series. Overall, I really liked this book, though it’s not one of Gray’s better Star Wars novels. My biggest gripe with it was how it introduced the Drengir, carnivorous plant-like beings that are deeply tied to the dark side of the Force. This is technically their first appearance in the series, but I first met them in the comic book series, which made them a lot more menacing. This made them feel too much like just another sapient species, when they’re supposed to be nightmarish. I wish I’d read this novel first too, because the conflict with them seems tentatively resolved by the end, which would have made their resurgence a bigger deal. Nevertheless, I’m excited to see how this conflict spans the series.


Reading Next

Hellboy The God MachineGood Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman is next on the docket! I’m hoping I can get it finished and reviewed before the month is out. It’s a little over 400 pages long, so I’m going to have to really push some reading quotas to get through this. Seeing as it is such a dream duo as Pratchett and Gaiman, however, I’m hoping that I’ll fly through those pages. After that, I think I’m going to start reading Hellboy: The God Machine by Thomas E. Sniegoski, which is the next book I plan to read for my series challenge. I’m particularly curious about this book, though given the series track record I shouldn’t get my hopes up.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – July 14, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

I’ve made a bit more progress on Hope is the Thing with Feathers: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, though only a little. I read through the chapter of poems about Love from the first series.

Into the DarkI’m still making my way through The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray. I’m closing in on 300 pages, but I’ll still have a little ways to go after that. I think I could have finished it over the weekend under normal circumstances, but I had made some summer plans that ate up that time. Can’t dedicate all of my summertime to reading. At any rate, I’m still really enjoying this book, though it hasn’t yet leaned into the horror like I was hoping. It’s been taking its time building up to that, though it’s still a lot more foreboding than Star Wars novels typically are. One of the most interesting things about all of these High Republic stories I’ve been reading is that they’re doing what the prequels should have done but never really did: actually giving a nuanced look at what it’s like to be a Jedi Padawan. I’m really enjoying the world-building that this is doing.


Recently Finished

Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters Vol2Last night I read through volume two of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters by Eric Powell et al. It wasn’t as blatantly critical of pop culture and politics as the previous volume and some of the story was actually halfway decent. The idea of the emergence of giant monsters being something humanity is utterly unprepared for is an interesting idea. I’m definitely interested in a story like this, examining the human cost of all of this destruction, the refugees it would create. Problem is, the book is still weirdly irreverent and painfully cynical, to the point where the shortcomings of humanity’s countermeasures always felt like a punchline. It’s woefully on-the-nose too. I think I rolled my eyes the hardest when a mob of people were desperately fighting over supplies, and an onlooker remarked “Makes you wonder who the REAL monsters are…” Give me a break.


Reading Next

Plans have not changed on this front. I’m sure I’ll be finishing volume three of Kingdom of Monsters, just so I can finish this weird little trilogy up. I’m still committed to reading Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman next too, it’s only a matter of finishing up Into the Dark first.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – July 7, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Still no progress on Hope is the Thing with Feathers: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. I’ll pick it back up any day now. 😅

Into the DarkMeanwhile, I’ve started reading The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray, the first YA novel set during the High Republic era of Star Wars. I’m a little over 150 pages in at the moment. Though this book has been a bit of a slow burn so far, I’m really into how this story is integrated with Light of the Jedi, the cataclysmic incident at the start of that book being the reason a trio of Jedi and a bunch of other refugees find themselves holing up in a derelict space station. While I’m sure it won’t get too extreme, it’s developing into a genuine horror story, which is an uncommon thing to see in the franchise. I believe this is actually setting up the monsters I’ve seen in the High Republic comic book series, so it’s a shame I didn’t read this book first.


Recently Finished

Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters Vol1Over the weekend I read through the first volume of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters by Eric Powell et al. Oh geez, this was not what I was expecting. I think I need to retroactively thank my old comic shop for botching my subscription all those years ago. The art is very good and the monster mayhem is just fine, but the story is a weirdly shallow and irreverent critique of popular culture circa the late aughts. Potshots are taken across the board at the Media, Democrats and Republicans, aggressive rednecks, judgy liberals, and more! There was a laser focus on fictional equivalents of Lady Gaga and the Jersey Shore for some reason, making me painfully aware that even back then we lived in a Society. I didn’t hate it, though, it was a humorous relic. There were two murderous psychic schoolgirls who bond with one monster and declare themselves the new Queens of France too. The whole book should have been about them.


Reading Next

Good OmensI do intend to continue with the second volume of Kingdom of Monsters, for whatever that will be worth, but I think for my next novel I will finally crack open Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman. I’ve been a big fan of both authors for so long, and really loved the miniseries, so it’s about time I actually get around to reading this book. It is a bit of a shame that most of the story will be familiar to me, but I will not be deterred. Maybe it will touch upon some elements left out of the miniseries that will better justify a second season. I’m excited about that, but also confused. I liked it as a one-and-done sort of thing.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – June 30, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

I’m between books at the moment, but technically still at the beginning of Hope is the Thing with Feathers: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. I haven’t read any more of it since last week, though, so I’ve got nothing to say this week!


Recently Finished

Slaughterhouse-FiveI read through all of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut since last week. Hooray for me, sticking to yet another reading deadline. I’m on a small roll here. So, at first I thought I had remembered very little of what interested me about this book enough to buy it. As it turns out, I did vaguely remember the bit about the aliens and time travel. This was an excellent novel, one of those books that you start reading and immediately recognize as 𝐿𝒾𝓉𝑒𝓇𝒶𝓉𝓊𝓇𝑒. That’s not always a fun thing to run into, but I really enjoyed reading this book too. It was so darkly humorous, dryly matter-of-fact, and utterly bleak. One passage actually hit me like a surprise brick too. An unexpectedly strong emotional response is always welcome. This is one of those books that I’m not sure how to go about reviewing. It would feel a little presumptuous. I still may, I haven’t made up my mind yet.


Reading Next

Into the DarkI still intend to start reading Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters by Eric Powell et al soon, especially with my having read through three novels since my last comic book now. In accordance with my recently laid out summer reading TBR, however, I am also going to start The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray soon. It hasn’t been all that long since I last read a Star Wars novel, but I was good about staying on top of my challenges in June, so I welcome the detour. With the follow-up to Light of the Jedi having also arrived at my doorstep the other day, I want to make sure I stay on top of all the books coming out in this series.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray

Master & Apprentice

Star Wars: Master & Apprentice is a standalone novel by Claudia Gray, set in the new canon of Star Wars. Set several years before Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the story follows Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his 17-year-old Padawan apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi at a crossroads in their relationship. Though they’ve been partnered for some time, they are at odds with one another, Qui-Gon a maverick who often disregards the inflexibility of the Jedi Council and Obi-Wan more rigid and committed to following the Jedi Code to the letter.

Their partnership is put at risk of ending altogether, however, after the Council extends an unexpected invitation for Qui-Gon to join them, meaning he can no longer keep an apprentice. He takes some time to think it over, fearing he will fail Obi-Wan as a teacher if he leaves him, yet wondering if another master may be better suited to teaching him. Despite so much uncertainty between the two, they embark upon what may be their final mission together, after an old friend reaches out to Qui-Gon for help.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 17, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Hellboy Oddest JobsI’m only sitting about 48% of the way through Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, which isn’t much progress since last week. My attention got a little divided over the weekend and I haven’t done any reading over the last couple of days. The two stories that I did read were pretty good though, the first dealing with the devotees of an old god in Scotland defending their deity’s shrine from undead U-boat sailors. The second offers an explanation for the long lost colony of Roanoke after a race of salamander people attack a small coastal town in North Carolina. I enjoyed the latter most because Hellboy needed to embark on a search for something throughout the deserted town in order to resolve the conflict peacefully, rather than just punching his way through the problem.


Recently Finished

Master & ApprenticeI got a surprise delivery last week, with my new copy of Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray arriving in the mail. I’d been told to expect it, but hadn’t received a shipping notice or anything, so it’s sudden arrival was quite a pleasant surprise. I devoted time over the weekend to finishing it up, though I was regretfully unable to have a review done by now as well. It should be posted in the next couple of days. I got cut off just as things were getting really good, as it turns out, the climax having more surprises in store for me than I was expecting. The only drawback was that it felt like everything wrapped up and resolved too quickly. The way the events unfolded was fine, but I feel like there was leftover baggage between characters that I would have liked explored more. Some of the tension was only deflated by the end, rather than resolved.


Reading Next

The Song of AchillesI pretty certain The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller will be next on the docket for me, though there is still an ARC I want to check out first. If it strikes a chord with me I’ll be reading that next. I am getting pretty excited to finally read Song of Achilles, though, as it’s weirdly a book I’ve often recommended to people but haven’t actually gotten to myself. I enjoyed Circe so much that I have high hopes for it. I also purchased two more volumes of Berserk by Kentaro Miura, which I’ll likely make short work of in the next week or two.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – January 27, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray is officially on hold for the time being. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, as things are ramping up to the climax, but I will have to wait for my new copy. I will refrain from mentioning it in future posts until I can continue.

Me Talk Pretty One DayIn the meantime, I started reading Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, the author’s 2000 collection of personal essays. I have sorely missed reading Sedaris’s writing, which manages to strike funny and poignant chords quite well. I’ve read through part one of the book so far, which is a collection of anecdotes that covers a range to times throughout his life as well as members of his family. What’s been most amusing is how familiar I am with these people and phases of his life. I suspect that having read his book Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002, is the most responsible for this. I think it covered a lot of what he developed into anecdotes here, particularly his stints as an artist, creative writing teacher, and mover.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Age of Rebellion - VillainsKeeping the Star Wars train going, last night I finished Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Villains by Greg Pak et al. As with the other books in this “Age of” series, the issues within were one-shots about specific characters: Grand Moff Tarkin, Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader, and IG-88. As with the others, each story was enjoyable fluff of varying quality. None of them were bad or boring, but as something celebratory and short they can’t do much with the characters. The story about Jabba the Hutt stood out, however, as tales centered around him are a lot less common. I’ve read so many Vader stories, however, that this was an inconsequential drop in the bucket. Worth checking out if you’re not looking to invest a lot in reading Star Wars comics, though.


Reading Next

Hellboy Oddest JobsOn the comic books front I know I’m going to move on to the Star Wars: Age of Resistance books. I’m excited to get to those, as we haven’t had as many tie-in stories to that era, I assume because the movies were still coming out. In terms of books, nothing from my yearly list is really speaking to me at the moment. I’m not sure why. I am however interested in starting the one unread Hellboy anthology I’ve got left: Oddest Jobs, edited by Christopher Golden. With that book out of the way I’ll only have the novels left to get through.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – January 20, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Master & ApprenticeI’m still in the midst of Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray. It’s grown on me more since last week, which I’m happy about, the more it has delved into the challenges faced by Jedi Masters and their apprentices as they try to forge a meaningful partnership. Additionally, I’m really appreciating the closer look at what Jedi attitudes toward the end of the Republic era were regarding prophecy and how the visions of the future recorded by ancient mystics should be considered. I wanted to have the book done by now, but funnily enough, I literally couldn’t have. As it turns out, about 47 pages of First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher are bound within my copy, and 49 pages of Master & Apprentice are just missing, so I can only get so far before I need a new copy. A bewildering predicament, to say the least.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Age of Rebellion - HeroesKeeping up the Star Wars trend, last night I finished reading Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Heroes by Greg Pak et al. Just as with Age of Republic, it’s a selection of single issues about a different hero from the era of the Original Trilogy. This is not a larger collected volume, however, so it only covered hero characters. I enjoyed it well enough, though I’ve read enough comics about these characters at this point that a small collection of one-shots isn’t going to be anything special. The stand-out issue for me was about Leia, where she had to put her skills of deception to the test and play the role of a bounty hunter against the likes of Bossk, in order to prepare for Han’s rescue.


Reading Next

Me Talk Pretty One DayI still have every intention of starting Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris next—I’m probably going to have to start it before I even finish Master & Apprentice, what with my copy being wrong. My nonsensical faith in the infallibility of printed books has been compromised significantly. I shall continue to love and enjoy them, but something in my heart has been permanently dulled forever more. Future instances where I’ll just hold a book and consider it shall never be the same. Then again, maybe I’m being too dramatic.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – January 13, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Master & ApprenticeI’m just over a third of the way through Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray, and I’m enjoying it well enough, though it’s a little slow so far. I haven’t been as swept away with Gray’s writing in this book as I have her other Star Wars titles, but I’ll reserve judgment for when it’s all done. She has done an admirable job with Qui-Gon and young Kenobi, though, as The Phantom Menace really doesn’t give a lot for anyone to gone on as far as their characterization. The book has appreciably gotten into the finer details of the dynamics between a master and their Padawan, as well as the myriad of ways Jedi are trained at their temple on the planet Coruscant. As the story gets into the meat of the conflict the Jedi pair have become embroiled in I’m hoping I will start to feel more engaged with it.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Age of RepublicIt has been a rather Star Wars focused week, as I finished reading through the comic book volume Star Wars: Age of Republic by Jody Houser et al, which collects all of the Age of Republic one-shot issues. Focusing on both heroes and villains, each issues focuses on a specific character from that era of the saga. They weren’t especially deep stories, as you can only do so much in a one-shot issue, but there was something to enjoy in each of them. I was especially fond of the Anakin issue, which gave us a story where he acts more considered and compassionate as a Jedi than his usual brash, combative nature. It’s a side of him we can always stand to see more of. The first issue was about Qui-Gon Jinn as well, which was a nice supplement to Master & Apprentice, though it had nothing to do with the events of that novel.


Reading Next

Me Talk Pretty One DayTo take a little detour from all the fantasy I’ve been reading lately, I think I’ll get back to an author I’ve neglected for a while now. I’m sure there’s a few that qualify, but I’m specifically going to start reading Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, which is a collection of humorous, autobiographical essays. I haven’t read one of his books for three and a half years, which is an absolute crying shame. I’ve certainly acquired a few more of them, at least, so I’ll have another at the ready the next time I want to start one.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.