The Rising Storm
By Cavan Scott
- The Rising Storm
Author: Cavan Scott
- Series: Star Wars: The High Republic
- ISBN: 9781529101898
- Published: June 2021
- Pages: 429
- Format reviewed: Hardback
- Review date: 29/06/2021
- Language: English
The Force is a concept that underpins the Star Wars Universe, but it is good or bad? The entire point is that it is both. There is a Light Side and a Dark Side, and these two opposing elements must be in balance. During the Star Wars films, the Dark Side is on its uppers and therefore we follow a band of plucky rebels as they fight for balance. But what works for one side, must work for the other. During the era of The High Republic the Jedi span known space acting as a protective force, but when Light is in ascendency Dark must inevitably rise once more. The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott starts to present the first chinks in the High Republic armour and an enemy who are increasingly emboldened.
After the events of Light of the Jedi, the High Republic believe they have dealt with the mysterious threat from the Nihil, so have organised The Republic Fair. The Fair brings together the technology and cultures of many of the Republic family into one place for a celebration. You could see this as a great way for the various members of the Republic to strengthen their bonds. Or you could see it as a big juicy target. The perfect event to strike fear and confusion across the known galaxy.
The High Republic series is an ambitious undertaking that covers several forms of books and comics, that will suit different age ranges. All of them are set several centuries before the core Star Wars films and allow authors to explore an age in which Jedi played a leading role. The various outings act like the Marvel Universe, giving individual Jedis the chance to shine, but main cannon books like The Rising Storm are The Avengers of the series bringing together lots of characters and creating Universe defining moments.
If Light acted as an introduction to the world and characters, Rising has the confidence to do things differently. This is the disaster movie of the series of far. The opening scenes brings the protagonists closer together at The Republic Fair. The arrogance of Chancellor Soh, the Jedi Council and Republic smacks of the Mayor from Jaws. What could possibly go wrong? When the Nihil dramatically come out of hiding, the answer is a lot.
The middle section of the book reads like the vintage disaster movies of the 70s. As the Nihil reign death from above, the Jedi below must save themselves and the innocents around them. We jump from hero to hero as they find themselves trapped or wrestling for their lives. The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and The Towering Inferno all come to mind as a cast of Jedi A-Listers fight for survival and like in those films, not all are guaranteed to live.
The focus on action means that character development could have been lost, but Scott ensures that the heroes’ actions are driven by their personality. After the disaster of The Republic Fair, some Jedi will have tapped into the Dark Side, other will rise in stature to become Masters. None of them will be the same again.
For the early books in the High Republic series to work, the Nihil had to be an enemy worth hating and they are. The structure of the Nihil means that the reader really gets to know them. They are not nice aliens, but you can understand their twisted reasons for fighting. These are reflected from some within the Republic who believe that the Jedi are too powerful and people without Force powers should be able to defend themselves independently.
The disaster section of the book feels like full on action and there is a lot for a reader to take in. When the action settles down towards the end, you get to know the character even better. The final set piece is a far simpler scene with fewer characters. It offers a little more clarity. It is great to read massive bombastic action sequences, but it is also good to catch your breath. Although, Rising is a tentpole book in the series and deserves huge scenes and they are highly enjoyable. Imagine this novel as a summer release at the movies, just be careful you don’t drop any popcorn onto the pages.
Written on 29th June 2021 by Sam Tyler .