Publisher: Del Rey
Page Count: 295
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Rating: 4/5 Stars – Really Liked It
After their fleet was decimated by the First Order at the Battle of Crait, the Resistance has been reduced to a few dozen people at best. The sole remaining leader, General Leia Organa, has found them temporary refuge, but with no ships, few supplies, and no answers to their hails to allies, the future is looking grim. But while there is still breath in her body, Leia will continue to fight, and she begins to create a plan to rebuild. Aided by Poe Dameron and members of Black Squadron, Leia puts in motion an effort to collect former leaders from her days in the Rebellion. And what better place to start than with a list that’s just appeared on the black market of people the First Order has labeled “subversives”?
If the ending of THE LAST JEDI encapsulated “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” then RESISTANCE REBORN is about seeing those first rays of sunlight peek over the horizon. There’s a great element of “getting the band back together” as Leia digs through her digital rolodex of Rebellion soldiers and starts putting out a call to arms. The result is a lot of old familiar faces grace the pages of this book. Some I recognized right away, others I had to Google, but I was always greeted with a memorable face from the original trilogy when the search results came back. It’s especially touching knowing we’re going into the final act of the Skywalker saga and getting to see old friends one last time.
It wasn’t just the movies that RESISTANCE REBORN pulled from. Characters from Chuck Wendig’s AFTERMATH trilogy, as well as Claudia Gray’s excellent standalone BLOODLINE, make sizable appearances, and it’s one of the first times that the new canon Star Wars truly felt like a series of interconnected tales, instead of very discrete books that have little bearing on each other. If you haven’t read those other books, don’t worry, for RESISTANCE REBORN stands fine as its own adventure. But for fans of Star Wars books in general, there’s plenty of appearances to delight you.
As for the story itself, you’ll find a quick but fun adventure setting the stage for THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. Only a few days have passed since the Battle of Crait, and the Resistance desperately needs a place to regroup and strategize. There’s a share of firefights and close getaways as heroes infiltrate various First Order outposts to claim the supplies they need. If an evening of high society black-market auctions cross-cut with stealing ships out of a scrap yard sounds like your cup of tea, buckle in! There’s a lot of mini-escapades at hand, enough to whet the palate without being overwhelming.
But it’s also a moment for two characters in particular to really take a beat to process what happened at Crait. Although several characters get POV chapters throughout the book, Poe and Leia are the only “cinematic” characters we spend significant time with, and given the events of THE LAST JEDI, that’s somewhat appropriate. (Rey, Finn and Rose make appearances, but largely remain background characters). Leia is tired, despite her constant devotion to fighting the good fight, and it’s touching to see how much things are beginning to weigh on her. She’ll never complain out loud, but the inner monologue adds a layer to the fearless leader of our hearts, and it was nice to see her get some time to reflect. Poe, on the other hand, is going through that metamorphosis from reckless cowboy to more thoughtful leader, openly acknowledging that his mistakes cost lives. Seeing him be a touch more cautious and considering was welcome growth.
If you’re looking for a little something to tide you over until THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, you can’t go wrong with RESISTANCE REBORN. It’s fun, full of Easter eggs, and feels like a great segue way to the upcoming movie. I’ll definitely be curious to look back at this adventure after seeing the film, but for now, the Force is alive in RESISTANCE REBORN.