Top positive review
4.0 out of 5 starsGreat Addition to THR
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 19, 2021
This takes place after “The Rising Storm.”
18-year-old Sylvestri Yarrow has inherited her mother’s ship after Chancey died at the hands of the Nihil. I chuckled when Syl wonders at the expense of owning a ship. I feel her, having recently bought my first house. The ship is randomly pulled out of hyperspace, and Syl and her small crew head to Coruscant to tell the Republic what happened. Because if it’s the Nihil, that is Very Bad.
Meanwhile, Vernestra doesn’t always feel like a good Master. After all, she can’t even help Imri with certain exercises to help his empathy--another Jedi does. I want to tell her that being someone’s Master doesn’t mean she’s their only teacher and guide. The two are still reeling from Valo, especially since Imri’s empathy has become much more sensitive. The two meet up with Reath and Cohmac, who have been doing some dangerous research in seeking out artifacts. It shows great growth in Reath after the events of “Into the Dark.”
Reath feels a bit inadequate next to Vernestra and Imri feels that. So Imri smooths/soothes Reath’s feelings, which puts Vernestra on edge. She feels like it’s manipulating others, even though Imri is using his powers and desire to help others to do just that. And yet, it can lead down a dangerous path.
Reath also gets melancholy about random romantic feelings which at first seems out of place but aligns with some things that Imri picks up with his empathy. Reath thinks of Nan--and of course there are some chapters from her POV.
Nan feels like she is making her way up to the higher levels of Marchion Ro’s Nihil and is quite haughty about it. Her goal of course is to become a Tempest Runner, and she even tries her hand when she’s sent on a mission to guard the Oracle. At first she feels like Ro is giving her mediocre work before remembering how much he cares for the old woman.
Then Nan finds out who Mari San Tekka really is, which reminded me as well, and she truly feels this is a mission to prove herself.
Lourna Dee has much up her sleeve, which is no surprise. I feel like she manipulates Ro in different ways, and he doesn’t always realize it.
So later, the phrase “Auntie Lourna” makes me shudder.
A man named Xylan Graf finds Syl after the authorities on Coruscant essentially ignore her. He has a similar story of his own but it happens to be a lie. Xylan (I love that name, by the way. It makes me think of Xanatos) is a shady guy, and his inkiness increases as the story progresses. I wanted to like him at first, because he’s 22, cute (and Syl is not attracted to males), and seems to genuinely want to figure out the hyperspace issue. I kind of felt the same when reading adult!Xanatos though, so like Syl I didn’t trust it.
The Graf family happens to be the rivals of the San Tekkas, and the political issues and conspiracies become rampant. It’s a bit confusing and instead of caring much about it I found myself just needing to be pulled along. Like Vernestra points out in chapter 15, politics is exhausting.
It’s just unfortunate that Syl doesn’t listen to her initial instincts and walk away from him. I get it though--she needed the funds and the Graf family certainly has them. He helps her hide away, and she notes that there are things in the lav that likely weren’t meant for humans. That nod at the need to attend to all species is really awesome.
As Vernestra, Imri, Cohmac, and Reath head to Coruscant (for different reasons), Vernestra experiences a hyperspace vision. She doesn’t initially tell Imri, which makes sense; but she also keeps her vision(s) from other Jedi, even after they make a pit stop on Tiikae after receiving a distress call that aligns with her vision. Her immaturity is evident, but I don’t mean that in a negative way. She’s freaking 17, of course she’s immature even within her maturity.
Within the vision is a voice of an elderly woman who calls to Vernestra. It’s obvious to the reader who that is.
It does baffle me that she’s not considered a Jedi Master. This is what bothers me with TCW: how can a person who’s [been] a Master not be a Jedi Master? The hierarchy makes no sense.
Even Cohmac calls her Vern, which angers me. Every time someone doesn’t bloody listen to her and respect her name, I want to punch them in the face. I have had students who want to be ‘Michael’ and not ‘Mike,’ and I call them by the full name. Not everyone needs a bloody damn nickname.
I do like how she ponders hyperspace in Chapter 10, and understands that “philosophy was [...] more often about embracing the possibilities, and there was no final answer on just what hyperspace was. Everyone knew how to use it, but only the scholars still debated its nature.” That is balm to my math nerdy heart.
I really enjoyed all the information and conversations about hyperspace physics, even with the secrets between families and people it uncovers. I read astrophysics books I don’t fully understand and enjoy them; so I would love to read about tangled-superstring projection where hyperspace and the Force share a cord.
On Tiikae, Vernestra meets a woman named Jordanna, who is the San Tekka deputy on the planet and whom the reader knows because of Syl. Oh yeah, the two have some deep history, which Imri uncovers. His empathy truly comes out in one scene when the four come upon each other on Coruscant. Man, Ireland KNOWS that awkward heartache of meeting up with an ex.
Jordanna’s pet Remy is freaking fantastic.
The phrase “bantha piss” comes up in chapter 13 and I didn’t enjoy that at all. I don’t know why ‘urine’ couldn’t be used instead.
Syl learns some not-so-secrets about her mom’s past which tie into a lot. She also meets a Gungan physics scholar, Professor Wolk. He is interesting, and doesn’t speak like the Gungans in TPM. I guess it’s because he left Naboo and assimilated, though that reason isn’t discussed.
Master Yaddle talks to Vernestra and not in Yoda-speak, which is also different. Then Vernestra meets a man (Jedi?) named Emerick Caphtor. I get the feeling that he, like Imri, is super empathic and suspect he’ll help the Padawan.
Vernestra had found an odd cube on Tiikae, but no one knows what it is. We do know the Nihil are after it, since it’s Ro’s box and Nan lost it. I’m so bad with names, that I didn’t recognize the scientist she’s with until looking back at my highlighted notes [before finishing the book]. That scientist tells Nan about Mari and more of her backstory, which links to the two adult novels.
That scientist is also pretty darn scary and super manipulative.
Cohmac offers some great advice at various times.
Senator Starros also makes an appearance, whose name I didn’t remember until she brings up Avon and Honesty. She’s the one who has Vernestra and Imri meet Syl (and Xylan).
Both Starros and Xylan are extremely annoying.
There are some great philosophical questions that surround the theme of what is best for the Order vs. what is best for the Force, and how the two may not be aligned.
Jordanna becomes super awesome and Syl grows on me. I really like how Jordanna provides a reason as to why people are drawn to the Nihil.
There is also mention of the Church of the Force, even on Naboo.
It’s super odd that Jordanna and Syl only knew each other a month before Syl’s mother picked her up after leaving her on Tiikae, and yet there’s this entire emotional upheaval around them. They’re 18/19; so yes, they’re young in terms of love and relationships, but it was just a month.
Good end except for the secrets Vernestra keeps from others. But the Jedi are even more convinced that Lourna is the Nihil Eye.
It's also pretty freaking scary given the capabilities the Nihil have at their hands.