Published: June 29, 2021
Author: Cavan Scott
Cover artist: Joseph Meehan
Target exclusive cover artist: TBC
Out of Print exclusive cover artist: Jama Jurabaev
Formats: Hardback (448 pages), eBook (448 pages), Audiobook (15 hours 32 minutes)
Timeline: 231 BBY
The heroes of the High Republic era return to face a shattered peace and a fearsome foe, following the dramatic events of Light of the Jedi.
In the wake of the Great Hyperspace Disaster and the heroism of the Jedi, the Republic continues to grow, bringing more worlds together under a single unified banner. Under the leadership of Chancellor Lina Soh, the spirit of unity extends throughout the galaxy, with the Jedi and the newly established Starlight Beacon station at the vanguard.
In celebration, the chancellor plans The Republic Fair, a showcase of the possibilities and the peace of the expanding Republic – a peace the Jedi hope to foster. Stellan Gios, Bell Zettifar, Elzar Mann, and others join the event as ambassadors of harmony. But as the eyes of the galaxy turn toward the Fair, so, too, does the fury of the Nihil. Their leader, Marchion Ro, is intent on destroying this unity. His storm descends on the pageantry and celebration, sowing chaos and exacting revenge.
As the Jedi struggle to curb the carnage of the rampaging Nihil, they come face-to-face with the true fear their enemy plans to unleash across the galaxy – the kind of fear from which even the Force cannot shield them.
Before you proceed, please be aware if you have not read The Rising Storm, this review contains some potential spoilers.
Del Rey seem to have taken a leaf out of Marvel Comics book where variant covers are concerned. We have 3 differing versions of the cover and all of them are stunning!
Here at Jedi News, we have followed Cavan Scott’s journey since he first broke through with the young reader Adventures in Wild Space series. He then quickly progressed to work on Star Wars Adventures and the spookily popular Vader’s Castle series from IDW. It was only natural that he was destined to be part of the then mysterious Project Luminous, now known as The High Republic.
The bar was set high by Charles Soule in the first phase of releases for The High Republic era of literature. In fact, the bar was set very high by all the releases in the opening salvo from the new era. It is hard to believe that like Soule with Light of the Jedi, The Rising Storm is Scott’s first Star Wars novel. Yes, he has written an audio drama which had its script published as a book, but that does not count as a novel. Cavan Scott has got big boots to fill… and he does just that, and then some!
In Light of the Jedi, the scene was set as the Jedi helped mop up the events of The Great Disaster caused by the new villains on the block, The Nihil. This story is centred around the events of the Republic Fair on the planet Valo called by Chancellor Linah Soh to help unite and heal the Republic.
There are so many talking points that rise from the pages of this book. The story Scott tells goes deeper, way deeper than the build up to the Republic Fair. Subterfuge, super weapons, disasters, the dark side, and all out action keep the pages turning.
As Jedi go, we all have one that we connect with. Personally, mine is Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I am connecting with Elzar Mann and Stellan Gios in a similar way. Both are polar opposites to each other, there is obviously some connection there between them that is yet to be explored. While Gios is the reluctant poster boy, Mann is a Jedi on the cusp of the dark side.
Mann turns to the darker side of his powers to stop part of The Nihil attack on Valo and this has a profound effect on him. To his credit, he recognises this and partners with an unexpected ally in Ty Yorrick. Yorrick is another complex character that is slightly unusual. She is a former Jedi, training and the reason she left the order is unknown, but I am sure that one of Scott’s next The High Republic outings with the Monster at Temple Peak mini comic book series for IDW will explore.
The Innovator is meant to be a star ship that will be the pride of the galaxy and a symbol of unity. The Nihil fail in their first attack while it was being completed in the Cyclor Shipyards, but this is the focal target of their attack on of the fair. The events lead to the ship being submerged into the lake it had been standing over and this brought me a parallel to a much-loved movie from my childhood. That movie is The Poseidon Adventure from 1972. For those who are not aware of the movie, it is a disaster movie where a cruise ship capsizes and the passengers and crew endeavour to escape the rising water levels. Bell Zettifar and Ember are the heroes of the hour. Zettifar has already been victim of what The Nihil can do. Losing his Master Loden Greatstorm and suffering horrific injuries in The Nihil attack on Cyclor, he is spurred on to rescue as many as possible. But the path ahead of him is greatly changed with an unexpected reunion. At this point there is a twist for which I cannot divulge, but the way that twist is written is simply… amazing!
In Light of the Jedi, we witnessed the type of carnage The Nihil can mete out in a space battle with their use of hyperspace and crude techniques, but now we get up close and personal on their twisted stim bolstered ground attack on Valo, which is quite ‘alien’ to what Star Wars fans know.
For this reason, they fascinate me immensely. They are unorthodox compared to the strait-laced Imperial’s or the mechanical Separatist’s. The only way I can describe them is Steam Punk-esque. I said in my review of Light of the Jedi, that I did not feel Marchion Ro was a typical Star Wars villain, but in a good way. He is definitely not on a path to redemption. The way Ro leads others to believe they are calling all the shots to then spin the tables on them and cut them loose reveals such a cold and calculated antihero. For this reason, he is fast becoming a firm favourite of mine. The Nihil remind me of the Yuuzhan Vong from the Legends series of The New Jedi Order novels; and for me, that is a good thing. That era produced many of my favourite Star Wars novels, and those notes are being hit already.
The beauty of these stories of The High Republic is that you do not need to read everything that is published. You can choose which medium suits you, whether that be novels, young readers or comics and you will get enough information to fill in those little blanks that could have been left. But, if you do decide to read everything, you are in for a full-on all-encompassing experience which will take you deep into this era that has brought us such exciting new characters and events already.
The horror genre is close to the heart of Scott, and this pushes The Rising Storm to have quite a dark edge to it. Scott knows how to push the boundaries of the level that is suitable to Star Wars, but I think he could go much darker and be able to deliver it in a manner that is tasteful and appropriate.
Short snappy chapters keep the pace of the action rolling along from the first page, but in a way that still builds great depth to the characters; their relationships and the path of the overall story of The New Republic. I found The Rising Storm to be a book that was compulsive to read and hard to put down. I cannot wait to read the next novel that Cavan Scott pens.
Star Wars: The High Republic – The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott was released on June 29, 2021 and is published by Del Rey. It is available in hardback, eBook and audiobook formats. UK retail price for the hardback novel is £20 and it is available from booksellers on the high street, online and from Amazon UK and Amazon US.
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