This review of Star Wars The High Republic: The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott may contain minor spoilers.
The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott is the follow up to Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule, the book that kicked off The High Republic era of storytelling. Light of the Jedi had to accomplish a lot in the way of world-building and character introductions, and those efforts pay off in a big way in The Rising Storm.
The Rising Storm takes place on the planet Valo during the Republic Fair — an event Chancellor Soh hopes will celebrate the “Spirit of Unity” in the galaxy and forge new alliances. It’s been nearly one year since The Great Disaster and the apparent defeat of the Nihil, vicious marauders with their eyes firmly set on conquest. Peace seems to have won the day.
However, the Nihil were not defeated and are not gone. Under orders from Marchion Ro, the Eye of the Nihil, the pirates have stayed in the shadows, lulling the Republic into a false sense of security. When they do finally emerge, carnage follows making this second book in the series a very dark chapter indeed.
The attack on the Republic Fair is brutal and unrelenting. The Nihil are a very real threat to everything the Republic has built, but they can also be a threat to each other as we see some of the inner workings of Marchion Ro and his Tempest Runners, Lourna Dee, Pan Eyta, and Zeetar. Ro is a fascinating character, and the things he will do to bring his plans to fruition are chilling.
Jedi Masters Elzar Mann and Stellan Gios, along with Padawan Bell Zettifar, are at the forefront of The Rising Storm, and all face trials that will test them in the most challenging ways. Bell Zettifar is still coming to terms with the loss of his master, Loden Greatstorm, at the hands of the Nihil. He has a fantastic companion to keep him grounded in the charhound known as Ember, and is under the tutelage of a new master, Indeera Stokes.
Elzar Mann is a complicated character, with impulses that are often contrary to the Jedi way. Stellan Gios, who reminds me a bit of prequel era Obi-Wan Kenobi, is very much the face of the Jedi — not necessarily a position he relishes. Stellan and Elzar go way back, and the friendship shared by the two is one of the highlights of this book. There is also an intriguing new character, Ty Yorrick. She’s mysterious, but has clearly trained as a Jedi at some point. We get teases, but her past is largely left open to explore in the future.
Light of the Jedi had the weighty task of having to set up so much, and as a result we never really got to spend much time with individual characters. The Rising Storm really ramps up the development on both sides, in particular the Jedi and the Nihil. With all the introductions aside, there is more room to get into the heads of the main characters, and that makes The Rising Storm a compelling read. The action and conflict then propels the story forward, making The Rising Storm a thrilling read. Cavan Scott has created stunning page-turner.
As mentioned in the review for the middle-grade book Race to Crashpoint Tower by Daniel José Older, the events of The Rising Storm and Crashpoint Tower take place in the same place at the same time, making both books good companion pieces. It’s not necessary to read both, as each book can stand on its own, but it wouldn’t hurt either. Both are good reads.
The audiobook presentation of The Rising Storm, read by Marc Thompson, is excellent. I read the book and listened to the audiobook after, and it’s perfectly complementary. Hearing the characters adds a new layer to the story. Marchion Ro is already an unsettling presence on the pages of the book, but hearing his voice takes it to a new level. Thompson is a master of his craft, and that mastery is on full display in The Rising Storm audiobook.
Book Rating: 5/5
Audiobook Rating: 5/5
Star Wars The High Republic: The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott is available now from Amazon.com
Thank you to Penguin Random House and Penguin Random House Audio for providing copies for review purposes.
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