Star Wars: Resistance Reborn (Book)
From the jungles of Ryloth to the shipyards of Corellia, the shadow of the First Order looms large, and those with the bravery to face the darkness are scattered and isolated. If hope is to survive, the Resistance must journey throughout the galaxy, seeking out more leaders—including those who, in days gone by, helped a nascent rebellion topple an empire. Battles will be fought, alliances will be forged, and the Resistance will be reborn.
Set between the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, Resistance Reborn has a lot of expectations going into it, but it somehow manages to exceed every single one of them. Come inside to check out my full review of the latest Star Wars novel.
I’m going to endeavor to avoid all major spoilers in this review, only sticking with characters/points revealed via official excerpts, so you’ll be able to read without fear....
The story picks up soon after the events of The Last Jedi, where the Battle of Crait has so thoroughly decimated the Resistance they can all fit on board a single ship; the Millennium Falcon. The survivors, including Rey, Finn, Poe, and General Organa are discouraged but not out of the fight. Two things are needed: refuge and allies. Both are in short supply and in order to rebuild, they’ll have to divide their meager forces even further. As unlikely allies lend Leia a hand with a temporary hideout, the bigger issue of finding allies reveals a mystery with the First Order at the heart of it.
As old allies are found (Wedge!), they must embark on a mission to recover a list that could help them acquire the resources they need to take the fight back to the First Order. And, well, that’s about all I can safely share without spoiling things. I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but that’s just how packed to the gills this book is!
I really enjoyed the story in Resistance Reborn. It does a fantastic job of filling in (some of) the gap between films. It takes place much closer to The Last Jedi than Rise of Skywalker, so it’s more about recovery and figuring out what to do next. Even so, you get a hint of how things come together and result in the Resistance amassing the large fleet of ships/allies that can be seen in the latest Rise of Skywalker trailer.
It’s wonderfully written and moves at a fast pace, managing to tie together a plethora of disparate elements into a cohesive storyline that you can’t stop reading. It hooks you from the outset and pulls you along until it’s over, leaving you emotionally drained, but eager for more.
Where Resistance Reborn TRULY shines and won me over, however, is in how the characters are handled. On the surface, the book deals with a fairly big roster of characters, including our big heroes from the new films, but the ensemble nature is dealt with deftly.
There’s a bunch of characters involved in the story, yet it feels like everyone gets just the right amount of attention. None of them feel superfluous, even if they don’t do as much as you thought/hoped. While it’s very much an ensemble story, Poe Dameron seems to be the main focus within the novel. Even other characters like Finn and Rey are mostly presented through his perspective. This isn’t a bad thing, and frankly, this novel has captured their voices far better than just about anything else outside of the movies.
Even with all this going on, the story makes plenty of time/space for heartfelt moments. These moments help drive home the novel’s central themes about dealing with loss and finding hope in the most dire situations. Poe’s failures are keenly felt throughout his journey, but it pushes him forward to try and do better. Leia struggles to recover from her injuries, but manages to still be a mentor and light by which others can gather. Wedge’s return is both exhilarating and heartbreaking...All in all, there are a number of particularly notable character moments that have kept me thinking long after turning the final page.
A Wealth of Characters and Lore
Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but there sheer amount of characters that pop up in this story (or even given name-drops) is crazy. What’s impressive, however, is how author Rebecca Roanhorse was able to incorporate all of them into the story without feeling forced. Instead of feeling like easy call outs to elicit knee-jerk reactions from fans, it’s all weaved naturally into the story.
From the games, previous novels, even some comics, Roanhorse pulled from just about every piece of canonical Star Wars media that’s out there (some Legends stuff as well), and brought it together in Resistance Reborn. Somehow, she managed to make them all instantly endearing. Even for the characters I knew little about (I didn’t play much of Battlefront II’s story), I found myself attached in a blink and worried over their fates as the story continued.
As someone who reads/consumes pretty much every piece of Star Wars content out there, even I felt overwhelmed at times by how much is included. From characters to references of events that have happened in shows, or comics, Roanhorse really tapped into the lore that’s been building up over the last several years since the new canon was established. More so, she presents it almost effortlessly on the page, making the galaxy far, far away feel truly alive.
Resistance Reborn hammers home how vast the Star Wars universe can be, while also bringing it closer together. You can feel the seeds of “finality” being sown throughout this tale, making it a perfect prelude to The Rise of Skywalker, even though it more closely follows the events of The Last Jedi.
Despite pulling from all these various sources, Resistance Reborn manages to be a highly accessible, and enjoyable, novel. Even for fans who’ve only seen the films and are looking to dive into the books for the first time will have a blast. Knowing about the other books/comics serve as great callbacks for those who’ve been keeping up with the extra material, but you won’t feel lost within it all either.
Frankly, that’s where I’ve felt some of the other novels have fallen short over the years. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve generally enjoyed (or outright loved) most of the novels put out since the new era, but too many of them relied on OTHER stories to be fully invested. The best, in my opinion (like the first Battlefront book, Bloodline, and Last Shot) were able to incorporate elements of the new expanded universe, without having to use them as a crutch either.
Reborn, thankfully, falls in with these. Sure, there’s a BUNCH of solid payoffs for fans who’ve been following every single release over the last several years, but it won’t take away from the story’s overall impact. If anything, it may be a uniquely perfect entry point to the larger stable of Star Wars material. People will undoubtedly want to learn more about the characters they were introduced to and quickly came to love.
That said, it also manages to work as an excellent "prequel" to The Rise of Skywalker. Despite being closer to the events of The Last Jedi, the setups established in this book feel pivotal to where we'll see these heroes at the start of the next film. I rarely say any preceding book is necessary, but Resistance Reborn feels like essential reading for Star Wars fans and those looking forward to The Rise of Skywalker.