ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm’

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The High Republic: The Rising Storm

Published by Del Rey, Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm is written by franchise staple Cavan Scott with cover art by Joseph Meehan and is the next adult novel in an ever-expanding High Republic era of Star Wars. Following the events from the first set of books in the High Republic media, The Rising Storm takes place around the same timeframe as its junior and young adult novels counterparts: Race to Crashpoint Tower and Out of the Shadows. The High Republic is recovering quickly from the ripples of The Great Hyperspace Diaster. The Republic Fair, a celebration of unity, is being planned by Chancellor Lina Soh as she attempts to bring stability back to the High Republic. However, not everyone is eager to celebrate the High Republic’s accomplishments as a storm brews from a familiar enemy who has been quiet for some time.

As the adult novel of the second books in Phase 1, Cavan Scott has a tall order following up the previous smash hit adult novel Light of the Jedi. The stage has been set and now The Rising Storm is expected to build off that momentum to give fans Star Wars as they have never seen it before. Scott is perfect for this role. If you are familiar with Scott’s other works in Star Wars media, you know that he is a masterful storyteller. From his audio drama, Dooku: Jedi Lost to comics like the Tales from Vader’s Castle series as well as the currently running Star Wars: The High Republic series, Scott, in my opinion, has always been one for a slow build to a climactic ending that leaves you wanting more. The Rising Storm is no exception.

The Rising Storm follows multiple character perspectives throughout much of the book. Readers follow familiar Jedi from wave one like Stellan, Bell Zettifar, and Elzar Mann, new characters like Force-sensitive Ty Yorrick, the interworkings of High Republic politics with Chancellor Lina Soh, and even the Eye of the Nihil himself, Marchion Ro. While the back and forth perspectives may be jarring for some, the foreshadowing of an epic conflict in the prelude lets the reader know that there will be an eventual payoff to meeting new characters and learning more about others. Even as someone who enjoyed the politics of The Prequel Trilogy because of its importance to the overall story, I felt bogged down with planning of the Republic Fair as I wanted to get back to other characters. However, Scott’s slow-burn process is justified. There are multiple instances where Scott uses these perspectives as loose mirrors of each other as we see dissension in the ranks of both the High Republic and the Nihil as well as the multiple perspectives of the Force and beings connected to it.

One of the biggest issues that many may have with the High Republic publication line, is that it might be too interconnected forcing fans to have to read everything. However,  as the writer of the Marvel Star Wars: The High Republic series, Scott expertly weaves in the other media to give readers all the context they need even from his own work. As a non-major spoiler example, early on in the novel, it is mentioned that the Jedi are working the Hutt Cartel to combat the Drengir which may come as a surprise to some.

However, by the time that The Rising Storm releases comic book readers would have known this from the events of Star Wars: The High Repulic #5 over a month prior. The exposition for details such as this is in no way hamfisted throughout the novel. As someone who has not read the other two novels in this second wave, I never felt like I needed more than what was presented to me to understand the significance of events.

While the Jedi in The Rising Storm may not be my favorite of the era (it is hard to top Keeve Trennis and Vernestra Rwoh) the focus on Jedi we have seen in The Light of the Jedi shows that Jedi of this era are not as rigid to what it means to be a Jedi as we are used to in the Skywalker Saga. Further, in this era, we continue to see more and more examples of beings and cultures who are blatantly Force-sensitive without being Jedi. The Rising Storm continues this trend giving new aspects to the Force and our understanding of its power as fans. Readers also learn more about the hierarchy within the Nihil and how their cause, in their eyes, is a righteous one.

Scott’s characterization of the Nihil leader Ro fits in with what we see in other media like Star Wars Adventures: The High Republic which even had me rooting for the marauder at times throughout the novel. Even seeing the races such as the Togrutas who are staples in the Skywalker Saga, being introduced into the ranks of the High Republic shows how much the Galatic Senate has expanded in the last 300 years leading up to the films. It is this kind of galaxy building that leaves readers open to experience a multitude of stories in this era as it slowly transforms into the Republic we know by The Phantom Menance. 

Without spoiling too much, The Rising Storm is as its name implies. Readers learn more and more about the galaxy following the events of The Great Hyperspace Diaster. As the characters we follow move closer and closer to each other tension builds as the calm before the storm quickly vanishes as they converge at the Republic Fair. Readers are thrown into an action-packed climax that left me stunned as the final pages of The Rising Storm swept by. It is the perfect follow-up for this era of novelizations.  While The Light of the Jedi was the foundation of this era, The Rising Storm is the hurricane of events that will truly let fans know, they will never see what’s to come in this era even if a prelude shows the storm on the horizon.

Star Wars The High Republic: The Rising Storm is available  June 29, 2021 wherever books are sold.

The High Republic: The Rising Storm
5

TL;DR

Without spoiling too much, The Rising Storm is as its name implies. Readers learn more and more about the galaxy following the events of The Great Hyperspace Diaster. As the characters we follow move closer and closer to each other tension builds as the calm before the storm quickly vanishes as they converge at the Republic Fair. Readers are thrown into an action-packed climax that left me stunned as the final pages of The Rising Storm swept by. It is the perfect follow-up for this era of novelizations.  While The Light of the Jedi was the foundation of this era, The Rising Storm is the hurricane of events that will truly let fans know, they will never see what’s to come in this era even if a prelude shows the storm on the horizon.