Light of the Jedi, the first novel to be set in the High Republic era of Charles Soule’s Star Wars, told the story of a galaxy full of Jedi facing a very different threat than would occur some 200 years later when A Sith Lord named Palpatine would deceive the galaxy, eradicate the Jedi, and call himself Emperor. The Nihil are not Force users. They are marauders, fueled by hatred and greed, and somehow united by a mysterious mastermind who at first seems modest and fragile, Marchion Ro. But the Nihil are as terrifying as any Sith, and the stakes in this era are as high as at any other point in the Star Wars timeline.
With The rising stormCavan Scott picks up the sequels of Light of the Jediand while the stakes in the first novel were high with galaxy-threatening catastrophe averted by the Jedi, The rising storm — because it’s set in a time when the Republic should be at peace, believing the Nihil threat isn’t as bad as it really is — feels like a jolt. Even the first half of the novel is a slow buildup of something almost unexpected were it not for the perspective chapters of the Nihil members themselves.
The story centers around the Republic Fair, Chancellor Lina Soh’s grand symbol of the unity the Republic seeks to provide to the galaxy. Citizens from systems across the galaxy flock to the planet Valo to celebrate, with a number of Jedi, Jedi Council member Stellan Gios and Elzar Mann driving much of the story. Master Gios was not a great player in Light of the Jedi, but his increased presence in this story gives us an illuminating perspective on the Jedi Council during the High Republic, as well as a look at the character of a man who already demonstrates the complicated line the Jedi must walk between the guardians of the peace in the galaxy and political figureheads. Interestingly, the chapters that focus on Gios’ perspective show us a man filled with compassion and humility, but from the outside, those qualities don’t always show through.
Elzar Mann, whose story ended in Light of the Jedi with a terrifying vision of all the Jedi slaughtered, is a really complicated character. All along Light of the Jedi, readers get a sense of Mann’s obvious attraction to fellow Jedi Master Avar Kriss, an attraction that isn’t necessarily clarified as one-sided, but Kriss is bound to heed the Jedi Order’s warning against attachments. personal, while Mann is more reckless and daring when it comes to Jedi rules. Mann’s story may be the most fun to watch The rising storm because he’s the most realistic of the Jedi in his struggles, and he’s the character who, so far, most foreshadows the struggles that Anakin Skywalker will one day face as a Jedi.
And then there is, easily, the most interesting character to introduce into this story and possibly Star Wars as a whole: Ty Yorrick, lightsaber for rent. She’s a Tholothian mercenary who was clearly trained as a Jedi at some point in her life, but left the Order for reasons she deems justified and uses her skills and connection to the Force to fight off monsters against payment. Yorrick attends the Republic Fair as a bodyguard to a woman with an invention that could disrupt the entire galaxy and is soon caught up in the Jedi’s fight for light and life, despite her reluctance to be connected to the Order she once abandoned.
The mystery of who Marchion Ro is is further expanded, along with his wavering level of control over the Nihil, both from his perspective and that of the characters around him. Pan Eyta and Lourna Dee are still Tempest Runners, joined by a new character named Zeetar. And with all of them, Ro is terrifying and calculating and not to be misjudged.
Along with other storylines focused on Jedi Padawan Bell Zettifar dealing with the loss of his master Loden Greatstorm, a Republic reporter named Rhil Dairos follows coverage of the Republic Fair, an interesting storyline involving the Togruta people (Ahsoka Tano , for example, is a Togruta), and much more, The rising storm is the best kind of Star Wars book. Emotional. Rising stakes from start to finish. Foreshadowing of the Skywalker saga. Learn more about Jedi mythology. A classic page turner.
I’ve read almost every Star Wars novel that’s ever been written, but the High Republic-era stories hit differently, and The rising storm is a perfect example. I can’t wait to see more of what’s to come in this era of Star Wars storytelling.
The rising storm releases June 29.