Book Review: "Star Wars: Resistance Reborn" (by Rebecca Roanhorse)

As I’ve said before, I’ve recently become a little bit obsessed with Star Wars. Given that, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I’ve thrown myself into the universe with all of the enthusiasm of a recent convert. To that end, I recently checked out Star Wars: Resistance Reborn, and I’m very glad that I did.

The novel moves us along at a brisk pace, showing us the events that transpired between the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. The Resistance, still reeling from its near-obliteration at the hands of the First Order, struggles to find a place where they can begin to regroup. They eventually end up on Ryloth, and while Leia stays there, she dispatches Poe and a number of others to start drawing far-flung allies to the new Resistance.

One of the things that I’ve come to appreciate about this new spate of Star Wars novels is the fact that they give us so much of Leia’s perspective. The loss of Carrie Fisher in 2016 was truly a tragedy, a loss from which the Star Wars universe will never fully recover. Fortunately, novels like Resistance Reborn allow us glimpses into her psychology and her motivations, allowing us to appreciate just how much of a hero she’s been for the Galaxy, and how much she has sacrificed for the betterment of the downtrodden. If anything, I would have liked to see more of her perspective in the novel.

Of course, one of the other enjoyable parts of the novel was the character of Poe. He is, for me, one of the best things about the new films, and no small part of this has to do with Oscar Isaac’s characterization. Here, we get more insight into his guilt over his actions in The Last Jedi, as well as his determination to make good and redeem himself. This he does to good effect, and I particularly enjoyed seeing the rapport between him and Princess/General Leia. It’s clear, both in the novels and the films, that this was intended to be one of the primary relationships in the films.

The only character who was a bit of a let-down was the cruel bureaucrat Winshur Bratt. I wasn’t really sure what his point in the narrative was, unless it was to show in a more personal and intimate way the fact that the First Order manages to exert its influence by preying on the sort of petty people who are always seeking power at the expense of others. I can’t help thinking, though, that there might have been more effective ways of demonstrating this than with a relatively minor character.

The novel’s great strength, I think, is that it effectively bridges the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. One of many complaints that people had about the latter was that the arrival of a fleet of ships in response to the distress call from the Resistance seemed too abrupt. Resistance Reborn makes it clear that this is actually the end result of significant sacrifice and planning, both from Leia and from others. While it is, admittedly, a little frustrating to have to rely on extra-filmic material in order to have a film’s narrative make sense, that seems rather par for the course with Star Wars.

All in all, I really liked Star Wars: Resistance Reborn. I disagree with those who see the new canon novels as filler. In my opinion, there’s something to be said for these novels that help us to understand a bit more about the events that transpire between each of the films. Besides, these novels allow us to delve deeper into the psychology of some of our favorite characters in ways that simply isn’t possible on the screen (no matter how good the acting might be). If I have one complaint about this novel, it’s that it’s actually too short, and so we don’t get to see a lot of either Rey or Finn (a rather strange thing, given their centrality to the new films). Nevertheless, Resistance Reborn is a fine addition to the Star Wars universe.

Next up, I’ll be reviewing Lords of the Sith, an interesting novel that sheds light on the fraught relationship between Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.

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