Review: Star Wars: Quest for the Hidden City is a delightfully spooky High Republic adventure

A wrecked droid floating in space. A missing Pathfinder team. A mysterious world haunted by mythic monsters. Those are the key elements of Star Wars: Quest for the Hidden City, the next middle-grade novel in The High Republic’s second phase of storytelling.

Arriving on Nov. 1, it’s the perfect quick Star Wars read to keep the spooky season going. But at its core, Quest for the Hidden City by George Mann is about teamwork, community, and keeping hope through immense hardship — all told through the eyes of young people.

This Star Wars story is also good old-fashioned fun. Its pacing and action-packed adventure make it a breeze to fly through the book’s 240 pages. And it feels very much like a George Mann story — packed with intriguing lore like his in-universe Myths & Fables books.

Quest for the Hidden City follows a couple of groups. First, there’s Dass and Spence, a son and father who have been stranded on the planet Gloam after a shady prospector left them there. During the day, they have to scrape by searching for scrabbling lizard creatures to eat. At night, they have to fortify their camp against terrifying monsters.

Elsewhere, Jedi Padawan Rooper Nitani and her master Silandra Sho are sent to help investigate the disappearance of a Pathfinding team on Gloam. The planet is like the evil twin to Aubadas, where Rooper and her master first land. On Aubadas, they and their own Pathfinding team meet the Katikoot, humanoid beings who also sport batlike wings.

While the Katikoot are in need of assistance from the Republic because of their depleting energy resources, it quickly becomes clear some of them more know about the missing Pathfinder team and the origin of Gloam’s monsters than they’re letting on.

What Quest for the Hidden City does the best is encapsulate the key elements of The High Republic’s era of exploration. In this book, we get a better read on what makes the Pathfinding teams tick, how previously uncontacted worlds feel about the Jedi, and the possibility of joining the Republic.

We also see people discovering new things in real time — delving deeper into mysterious underground ruins, caves, and even long-lost Jedi temples. And, of course, the characters of Quest for the Hidden City are discovering things about themselves and their places in the galaxy along the way.

Quest for the Hidden City also pushes the boundaries of what’s normally considered a middle-grade or junior novel, but in the best way. This book would be perfect for Goosebumps or scary movie-loving kids, as it leans farther into more horror elements than previous middle-grade Star Wars books.

Don’t worry, it’s still very much age-appropriate. But these dark and spooky elements help draw in older readers as well.

Quest for the Hidden City is an atmosphere-driven character story. It’s self-contained enough to not feel like prerequisites are needed, but with plenty of name drops and plot threads to connect it to other parts of The High Republic. Ahem, like Jedha.

And while the middle-grade novels aren’t essential to understanding the larger arc of The High Republic, it would be a shame to skip these rich, loveable character-filled stories. Oftentimes, key characters of the era are introduced in the middle-grade or YA books, so you could miss key context for later stories.

Mann has created one of the best books for younger readers of The High Republic. And I can’t wait to see Dass, Rooper, and Silandra again, as well as more George Mann-crafted Star Wars horror.

Star Wars: The High Republic: Quest for the Hidden City is available on Nov. 1 from Disney Books.