This review of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn (book and audiobook) by Rebecca Roanhorse may contain minor spoilers.
The latest in the Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is Resistance Reborn, written by Rebecca Roanhorse (with audiobook read by Marc Thompson). It's a bridge between the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker as the story unfolds in the immediate aftermath of TLJ. The Resistance has been all but decimated by the First Order, and those who survived are on board the Millennium Falcon. General Leia Organa, Chewbacca, Rey, Finn, Rose, Poe Dameron, among others. It seems all hope is lost, but this is Star Wars and we know better. There is always hope.
Poe is sent to find the rest of Black Squadron, who have been off on their own mission during the course of The Last Jedi. Snap Wexley, his wife Karé, and the rest of the squad are unaware of what has transpired, and the losses suffered at the hands of the First Order. It's up to Poe to break the news, including the hard fact he bears responsibility for many of those losses. Poe's coming to terms with that, and coming clean to his squadron members — friends and family — is a major step in accepting that responsibility and moving ahead as the leader Leia knows he can, and needs, to be.
Leia's words at the end of The Last Jedi — “We have everything we need.” — are loaded with meaning for Rey, and for us, but they don't address the very real issue of “need.” Namely they need a safe place to reorganize, they need supplies, they need ships, and they need allies. No one answered their call for aid on Crait, but, as they discover, it's possible many of their allies and those sympathetic to their cause have been rounded up and imprisoned by the First Order.
What follows in Resistance Reborn as Leia, Poe (who is very much front and center in this book), and the remaining members of the Resistance try to regroup, is something of a who's who from across Star Wars canon as they realize they're not alone and there are friends and allies who are willing to put it all on the line in the fight against the First Order. I won't go through everyone, since the reveals are so nicely handled in the book itself, but the cover reveals one of the big names we see returning to the fight — a very welcome Wedge Antilles, who has been living a life of peace in retirement with his wife, Norra Wexley. At the behest of Norra's son, Snap, and upon hearing of the losses suffered by the Resistance — most notably the death of Luke Skywalker — Wedge and Norra need little convincing. Heroes are heroes for a reason. They set aside comfort and answer the call.
It wouldn't be a Star Wars novel without an enemy presence or unsavory characters, and we do get both as the search for allies and ships turns to Wedge's homeworld of Corellia (one of my favorite planets), where the First Order is entrenched and maintaining control over the shipyards in order to replenish their own fleet. And it's where we meet Winshur Bratt, who is a puffed-up little weasel in the grand tradition of others we've seen in the past. I loved hating him.
Balanced with that is love for Leia. In Resistance Reborn, she is still fighting the effects of her near-death experience on the Raddus, as well as her profound grief after losing Han, Luke — and her son, Ben — but as always she is filled with courage, hope, and a regal dignity. She isn't necessarily the focus of the book, but she is its heart.
I mentioned earlier that Resistance Reborn serves as bridge between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. It accomplishes that, and does so effectively. While it doesn't take us up to the beginning of the final film in the Skywalker saga, it does show us the state of the Resistance — of the individual members, and the movement as a whole — as it prepares to make its final stand. I found great value in reading Catalyst prior to seeing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and discovering Resistance Reborn ratcheted up my anticipation for The Rise of Skywalker in much the same way. You must judge for yourself it it's a must-read before going into the next film, but I lend my recommendation.
I was also privileged to listen to the audiobook presentation of read by Marc Thompson. I've only listened to a handful of Star Wars audiobooks over the years, as print is my preferred method, but I'm always impressed by the quality and delivery. The narration is very well done, even though a few of the voices for supporting characters threw me off since I thought had a pretty solid idea of how they sounded in my head, but that was a small hurdle to overcome. I already appreciated the story, since I read the book first, and the audiobook only served to drive home the strengths of the book. If audio is your primary way of consuming books, I don't believe you'll disappointed in the presentation for Resistance Reborn. The sound quality, the music selections, the effects, and the voice work of Marc Thompson are all top notch.
Star Wars: Resistance Reborn is available for purchase today. You can order your copy on Amazon.com.
Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing copies of the book and audiobook for review purposes.Powered by Sidelines