REVIEW: Star Wars – The High Republic – Tempest Runner (2021)

An audio Drama by Cavan Scott as part of The High Republic multimedia series.

Lourna Dee has been presented as a fearsome character. She has been characterized as the most ruthless, and perhaps bloodthirsty, of all of the Nihil Tempest Runners (think generals if you are not familiar) seen in the recent High Republic series. One might see a character like that, and assume they are going to be evil for the sake of being evil, but not here. Cavan Scott has taken a character that was not particularly fleshed out, and made her one of the most fulfilled, rich characters in the entire series. This fully-acted audio drama is more structured like a play than a normal audiobook, somewhat similar to the Doctor Who dramas I listen to from Big Finish (Which Cavan Scott used to help create) in that it has a full cast, sound effects, music, and all the bells and whistles one expect with a movie, but just in audio from.

This book follows Lourna Dee after her her capture by Republic authorities as seen in an earlier book. Believed erroneously to be the leader of the Nihil (and possibly dead), she takes an assumed name and tries to meld into “prison life” the best way she can. However, it seems like she can’t fully escape her past, no matter how hard she tries. There is a parallel story involving her origins, from her life as a young naïve member of a royal family, to her many betrayals that hardened her heart and turned her into the person she is now. This story isn’t necessarily to rehabilitate her character, by any means, but it does a great job of making her motivations understandable at least. This isn’t a [boom] she’s a “good guy” now thing like I was afraid of, but it at least makes her ready for what I hope ends up being an alliance of necessity between her and The Republic against the real threat to the galaxy.

“The Nihil storm has raged through the galaxy, leaving chaos and grief in its wake. Few of its raiders are as vicious as the Tempest Runner Lourna Dee. She stays one step ahead of the Jedi Order at the helm of a vessel named after one of the deadliest monsters in the galaxy: the Lourna Dee. But no one can outrun the defenders of the High Republic forever. After the defeat of her crew, Lourna falls into the hands of the Jedi–but not before she hides her identity, becoming just another Nihil convict. Her captors fail to understand the beast they have cornered. Just like every fool she’s ever buried, their first mistake was keeping her alive.”

While I am technically listening to this story out of order, since I have yet to read Star Wars: The High Republic – The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott, I feel like this hasn’t really spoiled too much for me. I basically just know that the chief antagonist of the series (so far) did some “bad guy” stuff that I presumed he was going to do anyway. If making sure you read these in order is important, definitely wait until after that book. I’m keeping this somewhat vague on purpose to avoid main series spoilers for those that may be looking at this before reading one of the books as well.

Each “chapter” differs in length, but this entire story clocks in at just over six hours of runtime. I had to listen to this during my commute, resulting in it taking forever to finish, but I would imagine a marathon session wouldn’t be too bad. I purchased this through Amazon, through their Audible app, although I assume you can likely get this in other ways. Here’s hoping it eventually gets published as a book as well, because I’d hate for anyone with difficulties hearing missing out on such an important character building arc for a character. You can easily tell that they have big things planned for Lourna Dee, and I’m all for it!

For this being my first Star Wars related audio drama, I thought everything was done very well. Aside from a few choices that didn’t match up with my brain (Marcion Ro’s voice will take a bit to get used to), everyone did a good job with very few instances where I thought something was going awry. Some of the accents can be a bit much, but with such a large cast, I assume it was the best way to convey differences in characters in various scenes. I’d say this stacks up with the aforementioned Doctor Who dramas well, despite differences of format. If you are a fan of these, it’s definitely recommended.

If you’d like a copy of this, click HERE – I believe you could technically listen to it for free with a trial membership.

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