Tempest Runner is quite a LONG read, but it is worth every minute. Hats off to Cavan Scott. He has delivered the big winner!
Tempest Runner by Cavan Scott is perhaps one of the best Star Wars books I’ve read in years. The narrative was incredibly good and flowed so beautifully. Many things took me by surprise, and all the pieces worked well together like the cogs of an engine. Cavan is an excellent author, but previously, I had suggested that Justina Ireland was the best of The High Republic authors. But Scott’s book takes the cake as the prime jewel of the initiative.
STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC: TEMPEST RUNNER
The book shows the tale of Lourna Dee, the brutal Twi’lek Nihil who quickly becomes the main target of the Jedi’s mission. However, she is not the true eye of the Storm. She is a distraction. A red herring for the real eye, Marchion Ro. This story takes place before that. It begins with Lourna being evil and attacking a relay station. The Jedi and Republic arrive to stop her, and we get a little bit of a Rogue Squadron dynamic between some of the pilots who fly alongside the Jedi. The two pilot buddies are built up early on, but sadly, they are not built on further from the beginning. Disappointing but this book is about Lourna.
Scott is very creative in his writing style. And much of Part 1 is told from the view of a former Nihil who is looking back and speaking to a hulking alien. One who proves to be someone you would never expect him to be. This technique is highly effective and much better than Zahn’s “Memory sections” or the horrendous interludes utilized by Chuck Wendig. It doesn’t last the whole book, but it is fun while it lasts. The Jedi board the Lourna Dee and try to capture her. I have been critical of Jedi’s hypocrisy in this era, and there is no exception for this book.
Skkeer, as a Trandoshan often forgets himself and his nature dips dangerously close to the dark side. That goes to show that sometimes the Force (like religion) cannot account for biological impulses. Lourna Dee is presumed dead by the end of the extraction. And Lourna sneakily is captured and not identified as the galaxy never saw her face as it was always covered by a helmet. Lourna is very wily and claims her name is Sal and finds herself on a prison rehabilitation cruiser. It’s very fascinating. Chancellor Lina Soh CARES about rehabilitation for criminals. And this program is supposed to teach the prisoners life skills and hard work so they can become better when they finish their sentence.
Lourna weaves her life story through her current story by finding different people to talk to. Ghal Tarfen from the Insider stories makes an appearance, and she says she sees the good in Lourna. This may be hard to believe, as Lourna is one of the “monsters” who killed all those people at the Republic Fair on Valo. How can she be a good person? The life story of Lourna shows how she started from a wholesome innocent family and due to betrayal, lack of respect, and a platform, Lourna is molded into the monster we see today. Everyone tries to take advantage of her, and she loses the only person she truly loved. Lourna is ambitious, highly intelligent, and doesn’t take crap from anyone.
When Jedi thought they knew what was best for her, and pompous military recruits demeaned her, Lourna would lash out, displaying quite a temper which is Kylo Ren-esque. Master Oppo Rancisis frees Lourna from slavery but doesn’t know Lourna well enough to help her. He assumes she needs structure and sends her to Carida to be a soldier. It isn’t the place for her, and this is another major oversight of a Jedi thinking that they know what is best for everyone. Rancisis is blessed with a long lifespan and survives centuries later, and I wonder if he still remembers Lourna Dee. He should because I want him to have regrets about losing her.
While on the prison ship, Dee learns to navigate the classic prison life. Tough customers run the prison, not the guards, and Lourna is on the receiving end of many violent incidents. She makes a true friend in a fellow Twi’lek woman named Sestrin, and we see this good in Dee that Ghal was referring to. Another person also sees the good in Lourna, and he befriends Dee. His name is Wittick and he claims to be there to help Lourna. But is that true? Everyone takes advantage of this poor woman, and she sheds identities like snakeskin. Her whole life she assumed different identities. Brutal, nasty individuals betrayed her. Why should she be anything less than a hell-bent space pirate with bold ambitions?
This book made me pity Lourna and realize how the system often fails people and they become destructive criminals. However, much like Padme and Luke felt about Anakin, there is good in Lourna. It’s just been pushed down where the light doesn’t shine. I grew to care for Lourna and Cavan did an excellent job building up that character.
Overall, Tempest Runner is quite a LONG read, but it is worth every minute. I was shaking when I finished it. Hats off to Cavan Scott. He has delivered the big winner. A+
Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!