Greetings Ladies and Gentlemen, and our readers! Welcome back to our HAR, written edition, continuing on from the previous installment of Light of the Jedi. This time we’re covering the second adult novel in the High Republic series, The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott. As the first release of wave 2 within phase 1 of the series, The Rising Storm sets up the main events of this wave which have ramifications for all the upcoming releases.
It is a time of great joy as the Republic Fair approaches, and the Republic, Jedi, and planet of Valos prepare to welcome citizens a year after the Great Disaster to the celebration of Chancellor Soh’s outreach to the Outer Rim. Elsewhere, the Nihil are also preparing to show that they’ve not been beaten and that Marchion Ro still has some venom up his sleeve.
Multimodal Narrative. Although this is a full story within itself, it also pulls on the threads of all previous publishing endeavors for The High Republic series, linking itself to Light of the Jedi, Into the Dark (YA release), the High Republic (Marvel) and High Republic Adventures (IDW) runs, and A Test of Courage (Middle Grade), by pulling in characters and story lines began in all those works. The story here is so interwoven with the previous releases that we also get a story within the story via the release of Race to Crashpoint Tower by Daniel Jose Older (see below). In these two books, Race and Rising, we get the same scene told from two different character perspectives, while also having the events in each affect and play off of each other. However, each book also works singularly without the reader having to read both. Truly, this is narrative cohesion the likes of which some will wish had been a part of the sequel trilogy.
Stellan and Elzar. What does the friendship of two Masters look like? Thinking about previous examples throughout both Canon and Legends, I don’t think I was prepared for the level of complexity, understanding, and forgiveness we would be shown. Avoiding spoilers, I won’t go in to any real level of detail here as this should be discovered as the narrative unfolds. However, it is safe to write that these two Masters are vastly different in their perspectives of the Force, their approach to the Jedi Council, and their greater responsibilities to the Order as a whole, and yet they manage to be accepting of each other in a way that I cannot recall in other works. In fact, they are actually a part of a trio that is missing Avar Kriss as she is off on a different adventure while the events of this book occur, so we are still due to see their friendship from another angle once we get all three together narratively.
Politics. A chief complaint of some fans of the prequels is the inclusion of the complicated politics of the galaxy. Inversely, there is a complaint against the sequels that they skip all politics that could help understand and shape the complexities of the time period that could’ve explained the rise of the First Order. At its heart, Star Wars has always had political elements to it; the entry of The Rising Storm helps paint the Republic’s canvas of complex workings in relation to Core members states, the Outer Rim, and the Jedi themselves, while also furthering our understanding of the nature of affiliations within the Nihil themselves. In simpler terms, power, who has it, who’s sharing it, and by whom is it most coveted.
Familiar Gripe. Normally, this section is split in two but I’m still at a loss for things that I really didn’t like or that didn’t work for me. However, we still are inundated with a great many characters and keeping track can be a tad cumbersome. I still maintain that a Dramatis Personae is a much needed tool that would help experienced Star Wars readers and newcomers alike. I would also add that a High Republic specific timeline within each release regardless of publisher be included. Too often the Del Rey releases only add their specific books to the timeline. I know these can be found on the internet, but come on!!
What a great time to be a Star Wars literature fan. This era started with a bang and has managed to avoid the sophomore slump with this (these) release(s). I genuinely care about these characters and feel for the dire circumstances that they find themselves in, and that’s entirely credited to the writing team and masterfully complex coordination between authors!