Star Wars: Quest For The Hidden City Carries On The Second Phase Of The High Republic

This will contain spoilers for "Star Wars: Quest for the Hidden City"

As the writer behind "Star Wars: Myths and Fables", George Mann is no stranger to "Star Wars," but with "Star Wars: Quest for the Hidden City" he takes his first step into the world of "The High Republic."

For those unfamiliar with "The High Republic," it's the publishing initiative that sets the clock back on the prequel era by a couple of centuries. The second phase, which we're in now, sets it back even further. The galaxy is one big frontier. Communication is slower, the Republic is smaller. And the Jedi are like frontier sheriffs and explorers. In Phase One, we were introduced to the Nihil, a vicious band of pirates who work to undo the Jedi and monopolize the hyperspace lanes through the galaxy. In the second phase, with the clock turned back, the Nihil is but a twinkle in the galaxy's eye and the hyperspace prospectors and Jedi Pathfinder teams explore the wild edges of space. Though "The High Republic" has been primarily in printed media, that is set to change with "Star Wars: The Acolyte," the Leslye Headland-run "Star Wars" show heading to Disney+ in the future.

"Quest for the Hidden City" is a middle-grade adventure yarn that follows a Jedi Pathfinder team and the problems they face in exploring new planets in the galaxy and biting off more than they can chew. It largely revolves around a Jedi Padawan named Rooper Natani and her master, Silandra Show as they investigate a frightening distress signal on a pair of twin worlds. The other major POV character is the son of a hyperspace prospector named Dass. He and his father have been stranded on a planet thought to be abandoned by a fellow prospector who double-crossed them. 

But there is more to the planet Gloam than they realize and the mystery deepens as the book continues.

The Life of a Pathfinder

This book introduces the concept of these Jedi Pathfinder teams, pairing a Jedi and their Padawan with a team of explorers, as they rove throughout the galaxy, responding to threats and keeping the peace on the edges of the galaxy. The way communications work in this era of the galaxy is particularly fascinating, with droids and communications relays operating much like a high-tech version of the Pony Express.

It's fun to see the Jedi at this time in their prime, even before the first phase of "The High Republic." The first phase feels almost like an art deco and idealized version of the Jedi in the 20th century. This second phase of "The High Republic" takes them back to the wilds of the American west and all of the flourishes of storytelling that come with it. If that sounds fun to you, with Jedi roaming the galaxy doing good without the threat of the Empire or the corruption of the Republic as the backdrop, this entire series is for you, and this book in particular.

Details to watch out for

This book is a fairly fast read and isolated from the rest of the "Star Wars" galaxy in a lot of ways, but that doesn't mean that George Mann didn't find some fun touchstones to the rest of the galaxy to layer into the lore.

The most important might be the inclusion of the character of Sunshine Dobbs. He doesn't appear on the page in this book but is still a motivating factor in the story. He played a minor role in the first book in the second phase of "The High Republic" as well—"Path of Deceit." He's a dirty hyperspace prospector and definitely a character to watch out for in future installments of "The High Republic."

Batuu makes an appearance, an important point in this rough and tumble part of the galaxy during this era, further tying the planet from the Disney theme parks into the increasingly long history of the "Star Wars" universe. There are also some mentions of fried tip-yip, which is the name for chicken used when serving food inside Galaxy's Edge in the park.

Jedha, the planet with the Holy City first seen in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is mentioned here again, with Jedi Master Silandra Sho wanting to go on a pilgrimage there. This is the second book in a row with references to Jedha, which makes me believe it will be important coming up in the course of the second phase of this initiative.

The verdict

Though not my favorite book in "The High Republic" series, this novel is a nice, breezy read. It's easy to lose yourself spending an afternoon falling into it. It's got all the hallmarks of a great "Star Wars" yarn: adventure, suspense, action, lightsabers, and hints toward the future and the past of the galaxy.

Star Wars: Quest for the Hidden City is available now at bookstores everywhere.