Less than two weeks from the next High Republic book drop, and we’re getting the first excerpt from Daniel José Older’s young adult novel Star Wars: Midnight Horizon.
The excerpt, shared exclusively by CNET, is a flashback of sorts and focuses on fan-favorite Kantam Sy, a non-binary Jedi who plays a prominent role in Older’s The High Republic Adventures comic series as the master of padawan Lula Talisola.
In the comics, Older said Kantam is known for their “calm and measured responses,” and this excerpt of a padawan Kantam dueling with both Master Yoda and their conflicting feelings.
“I wanted to explore some of what led up to that epic calmness, and Kantam’s turbulent padawan era was a perfect way to do that,” Older said.
As for Yoda during this period — set about 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace — Older said the wise old Jedi “has been going through some very, very rough times.”
By the events of the Skywalker saga, Yoda had trained Jedi for more than 800 years. During The High Republic era, Yoda is already a wizened and respected member of the Jedi Order and the Council. While not a central character in the era, Yoda appears most often in Older’s High Republic Adventures series and has profoundly influenced every major Jedi of the High Republic.
In the excerpt from Midnight Horizon, we see Yoda dueling with a young and conflicted Kantam in one of the Jedi’s meditation rooms. In this case, dueling and meditation were one and the same — a way for this Jedi to expel frustrations and energy while getting to the root cause of their turmoil by confiding in a trusted master.
"“But this was exactly how Kantam and Master Yoda had always found understanding, ever since Kantam was just a tiny youngling. They would spar, and spar, and spar some more, and somehow in that grapple of stick against stick — then later, saber against saber—whatever was troubling Kantam would start to untangle itself; the world would slip back into harmony. Even if the problem wasn’t resolved, Kantam would leave sweat-soaked and invigorated and feeling like somehow there was an answer out there, and if there was an answer, Kantam would find it.”"
One of the most touching moments of the excerpt comes when Yoda imparts some wisdom about the nature of feelings.
"“Very like the wind, our feelings are,” Yoda said. It was something he’d repeated many times over the years Kantam had been training with him, and Kantam had never totally known what to do with it.“The wind touches us. We experience it,” Kantam said, finishing the teaching. “It is real. But it passes. So, too, do our feelings.”Yoda nodded. “But sometimes, there is a hurricane. The winds are so strong, they lift us. Carried away, we can be. Everything we know and trust, gone, hm? Then easy it becomes to give in to anger, aggression, hm? Fear.”"
Midnight Horizon is the second release in the wave of Phase 1 of Star Wars’ High Republic initiative. It comes on the heels of Claudia Gray’s The Falling Star, but the events of Midnight Horizon largely occur before the devastation of Gray’s adult novel.
The book hops between characters and planets, but chiefly follows Jedi Masters Kantam Sy and Cohmac Vitus and padawans Reath Silas and Ram Jomaram. Though threaded with insightful flashbacks to our Jedi’s pasts, Midnight Horizon follows a mission to Corellia (home planet of Han Solo) to check out a suspected Nihil attack — a surprising report seeing as the Nihil mostly stick to the Outer Rim.
Star Wars: The High Republic: Midnight Horizon releases on Feb. 1.