T

he first phase of The High Republic is quickly coming to a close. With The Fallen Star behind us and Mission to Disaster delayed until March 2022, we thankfully have another Star Wars book to look forward to: Daniel José Older’s Midnight Horizon.

This young adult High Republic novel focuses on the growing conflict between the Jedi and the Nihil, and is expected to do a lot to set up for Phase II of The High Republic, which launches this October. Because this next phase will take place in the past, Midnight Horizon is bound to leave Star Wars fans with more questions than answers.

In a brand-new excerpt released this week, a Padawan wrestles with their feelings and encounters a familiar Jedi Master along the way. You can read part of the excerpt below.

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Kantam already had tears welling up in their eyes when they stepped up to the door of the meditation room. A million scenarios pounded through their head, each more elaborate and ridiculous than the last. A million ways to try to explain. None made any sense -- because this didn't make sense. That was all there was to it. Some things were beyond logic and reason. The Force, for instance. And love.

Was that what this was? Kantam had read about it, watched those goofy holos about people falling in love, sometimes even Jedi. It had always seemed like a big joke—something other people did. Not that Kantam judged love, or people who fell in love. It just wasn't for them.

Until, very suddenly, it seemed to consume Kantam's every movement and breath.

Didn't matter. This was the moment they existed in, the reality they had to face. No amount of logic, or even poetry about the lack of logic, would change that.

The door slid open.

Master Yoda stood inside, back straight, facing the far wall.

For a flickering moment, Kantam wondered absurdly if Yoda was going to challenge them to a duel, as punishment for tarnishing the image of the Jedi Order and throwing all that training out the window.

Then Yoda extended his lightsaber.

Kantam let out an audible gasp.Yoda chuckled in that Yoda way: raspy, high-pitched, relentlessly endearing. "Many times, have we dueled in this very room, Padawan Sy. No?"

"I . . ."

"One last session," Yoda said solemnly, then turned and looked up, meeting Kantam's gaze. "Perhaps?"

Kantam extended their saber. You didn't say no to a duel with Master Yoda. Even in these fraught circumstances. It just wasn't done. "Of course, Master. But . . . you know?"

Yoda whipped up into the air in a swirling cartwheel, that bright green blade flashing in fierce spirals around him. He landed in a crouch, one hand out, lightsaber poised above his head.

From any other master, that may have been intimidating. Paired with the implicit understanding that something very real was up, Kantam would've normally understood this to be a veiled threat of some kind.

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.

They had no such expectations of this duel, but it didn't matter. Sparring with Yoda was the answer, in this moment, the only moment that truly mattered. So they leapt forward, unleashing a controlled downward slice that Yoda easily parried, then followed up with a straight sweep across their shoulders. Yoda ducked, then sprang straight up, lightsaber needling directly at Kantam, who swatted each stab away while backstepping gracefully.

"Come, the time has," Yoda said, "to make a choice, hm."

--

You can read the full excerpt on CNET.

The penultimate book in this wave of The High Republic arrives February 1, 2022. You can view our complete Book Profile for more details and pre-order your copy now.

For a complete list of recent and upcoming Star Wars book and comic releases, visit our regularly updated Release Schedule.

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Meg is a writer, podcaster, and photographer. She lives in Illinois with her dog and medal-worthy book collection, and believes any conversation in which Star Wars references are applicable is one worth having.