Tempest Runner by Cavan Scott Audio-Drama Review

Set between ‘The Rising Storm’ and ‘Out of the Shadows’, ‘Tempest Runner’ switches the main perspective from the Jedi and Republic to The Nihil, specifically the Tempest Runner, Lourna Dee.

Much like ‘Dooku: Jedi Lost’, Cavan Scott’s previous Audio-Drama, the narrative flits between the current storyline, here, focusing on the capture of Dee, her time imprisoned on the Republic Correctional Ship, The Restitution and moments from her past, all the way from her time on Aaloth, a Twi’lek colony, her time in a Zygerrian Slave Camp and the rescue by Master Oppo Rancicis and his Padawan. Dee then enters a Republic Academy but soon learns she’s not one to take orders and escapes, eventually joining The Nihil as part of Pan Eyta’s Storm and quickly becomes Tempest Runner after meeting Asgar Ro.

I have to admit, I really struggled with this one. The first half felt like it dragged for me. I was really hoping for a bit more of an original story instead of the riches to rags to leader of a gang of Space Pirates than we got.

The second half, once Dee is a member of The Nihil (in the flashbacks) and has gotten over the first hurdles of being incarcerated (her first trip to the med-bay) does the story pick up steam.

Lourna is desperately trying to keep her identity hidden in prison, going by the name Sal, there are only a handful of people onboard who know her true identity, and one of them inevitably betrays her to the Dowatun Pan Eyta, the former Tempest Runner who is believed to be dead, but instead is pretty messed up and constantly on deaths door, his need for revenge against Lourna is the one thing keeping him going.

The climactic battle makes most prison riot stories look tame, with Lourna leading a group of prisoners and guards against Eyta’s forces and eventually killing her former ally as well as taking control of The Restitution and taking it back to Nihil space where the remnants of the Pirate hoard are gathering give the story a decent yet predictable conclusion.

The one thing that I kept thinking as I listened to this was that I wasn’t really sure if I wanted the back story of any of The Nihil, or at least not a whole origin story, rather I wanted them to be like The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’, an absolute, a mystery. Instead, Scott has turned one of the most bad ass villains in Star Wars literature into a cliché. Her story has been told in many times and it, for me at least has made Lourna Dee at least, less threatening, which is a real shame because I absolutely loved her in ‘Light of the Jedi’ and ‘The Rising Storm’.

One other (and the last) gripe I have is the structure. This is the third Star Wars audio-drama and we’ve had in as many years and all three have followed the same structure, which has worked but it’s getting old now. Having recently listened to the Dirk Miggs produced ‘The Sandman: Act 1’(which is absolutely phenomenal), I feel like the publishers/producers are holding the authors back from going all out, giving them a template that has worked previously and not allowing them to stretch their wings.

Despite my gripes, I think that the cast were well chosen and all performed amazingly, I really love how Jessica Almasy used a French accent for Lourna, who as a Twi’lek has been established that the majority of the species speak with one, even Hera in times of stress or when necessary in ‘Rebels’.

I’m gutted it didn’t enjoy ‘Tempest Runner’ more, and I suppose it was only a matter of time for a ‘High Republic’ story to fall short of the mark for me. I’m hoping this is just a blip on the radar, and maybe on future listens I will enjoy it more but right now I’m still disappointed.

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