The next wave of books from The High Republic era were recently released, and I’ve just got to say… WOW.
The most prominent novel of the group is The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott, and that’s the one we’ll be looking at today (we’ll get to the others soon as well). And though there are general spoilers ahead, I’ve avoided delving into anything specific.
The Rising Storm is the direct continuation of Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi, detailing the galactic-wide events that the other stories revolve around. When I reviewed Light of the Jedi, I mentioned that it was one of my all-time favorite Star Wars books, and I’m very confident in saying the same thing about The Rising Storm.
The basic premise of the book centers around the Republic Fair. Set approximately one year after the Great Disaster (as told in Light of the Jedi), Supreme Chancellor Lina Soh is determined to move ahead with plans for the Republic Fair on Valo, a triumphant display of the strength and unity of the Republic. The Nihil, it is believed, are largely taken care of. The Drengir are being dealt with by Avar Kriss (which ties in perfectly with the ongoing comic series!). But Jedi Master Elzar Mann can’t shake a devastating vision from the Force, and the first part of the novel slowly builds to what we all know – and dread – is coming.
The Nihil wind up launching a furious attack on the Republic Fair, and let me tell you: as soon as that begins, you’re not going to want to put the book down. It’s a tense, action-packed, thrilling, and gut wrenching novel that is so brilliantly written. Cavan Scott so expertly moves the players into place in the first part of the novel, setting up wave after wave of tension to follow. Jedi High Council member Stellan Gios is one of the main focuses, as are other Jedi like Elzar Mann, Bell Zettifar, Indeera Stokes, and many more. There’s the former Jedi Ty Yorrick, the reporter Rhil Dairo, and plenty of important politicians – not least of all Chancellor Soh, who becomes a primary target in the attack…
But it’s not just the Republic in focus in this novel, as the Nihil receive plenty of attention as well. We follow along with Marchion Ro and his very mysterious plans, as well as the brewing uprising amongst the Nihil Tempest Runners, Pan Eyta, Lourna Dee, and Zeetar. We get a significant look at the Nihil in this novel, and Marchion Ro in particular continues to grow into a more interesting character. He’s got plenty of plans up his sleeve, but the Nihil grow frustrated with not knowing all of it – and it’s easy to do the same as the reader, but once we finally learn what his plan is, it’ll leave you desperate to know more and very fearful for what it means for the Jedi.
And I really think that’s a good way to sum up the novel. Without giving too much away, this book will leave you devastated, still reeling from what has happened and afraid of what might be coming. From the moment the Nihil attack on the Republic Fair happens to the very final page of the book, Cavan Scott pulls no punches, and he manages to land all of them right into the gut of his reader (and I don’t mean that as a negative at all). But amidst all of that, this book nonetheless also manages to capture and highlight the heroics of the Jedi. This is indeed a golden age of the Jedi Order, and there are so many compelling characters introduced (I fell in love with Stellan, Elzar, and Bell in particular in this novel). The Jedi on Valo are thrown right into the fire, and they certainly rise to the occasion against seemingly insurmountable odds. One other thing I really appreciated about this book was the way it connected to everything else going on in The High Republic, as it pulled in everything. It pulled in what’s happening in The High Republic comic, in The High Republic Adventures comic, in Race to Crashpoint Tower, and obviously in Light of the Jedi that came before it.
Light of the Jedi was the novel that kicked things off, introducing us to the heroics of the Jedi even amidst the Great Disaster. That tragedy was brought about by the Nihil, but pretty much inadvertently. So what happens when the Nihil reveal their true strength in an intentional attack on the Republic? The results would be devastating… Elzar Mann’s nightmare would come true… and the Republic would be thrust into crisis. That’s precisely what happens in The Rising Storm. It’s one of the best Star Wars books I’ve ever read, and it might very well be the most intense one I’ve come across.
The Jedi and the Republic, fighting desperately for light and life, against the devastating threat of the rising Nihil storm. I mean this in the best way possible: you’re not ready for what comes next.
My grade: 10/10