Resistance Reborn

By Rebecca Roanhorse

Resistance Reborn, a novel by Rebecca Roanhorse
Book details Books in the series

The Star Wars tie in novels have a rich and varied galaxy to explore. An author can reach into the distant past or take on the history of an obscure character. Sometimes you just want to read about the big hitters. What happens between those massive blockbuster movies? Whilst we are waiting for the films to be produced, the characters must continue to exist between flicks. Rebecca Roanhorse’s Resistance Reborn is set between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker and features most of the characters from these films. Can Roanhorse produce an exciting and coherent story without messing up the plotlines of the films?

The Resistance is in tatters and to most of the known universe it appears that The First Order have won. However, to the likes of Leia, Poe, Rey and Finn, the resistance is not over until there is no one left. They must find a new base and search out new fighters to their cause. More importantly, they require new thinkers and with The First Order gathering up all the possible dissidents there is an opportunity to rescue them as they gather in one place.

Roanhorse has the unenviable task of fitting an adventure in between two of the most successful films in cinema history. Her aim is to entertain, but she must also make sure that no major character is altered in a way that will affect The Rise of Skywalker, such is the burden of the cannon novel. The author goes about achieving this two-fold; firstly, by introducing some new characters and secondly by reintroducing well known heroes that are not present in the later films. Hello, Wedge Antilles.

Resistance Reborn must deal with some huge incidents that bookend the narrative i.e. the destruction of the rebellion at the start and its rebirth at the end. The book charts the grieving period, but also how the rebuilding process began. Having to go through the mental fallout at the start of the book means that it starts off as a slow burn. Those that like to see their heroes show their vunerable side will enjoy the angst that Poe and Leia are given. Roanhorse successfully gets under their skin and fleshes out what they must have been thinking as their friends and families were destroyed around them.

Other characters are not given quite as much space to breath, with Rey being left alone as much as possible. Her story will play out in the film. There are some fun moments as the bromance between Poe and Finn continues. The more considered roles are given to the smaller players; the other X-Wing pilots, Wedge and his wife. There is a lot more freedom and tension with these characters as their survival is not guaranteed.

My favourite parts of the book are not about the Resistance, but The First Order. There is a delicious side story about an egotistical First Order Officer who gets his just desserts. This storyline plays into the second half of the book as things begin to open. Suddenly, our heroes stop lamenting and act. A series of low-key operations are undertaken that remind you of Rogue One. These tight action sequences are pacy and entertaining. You are given the feeling that green shoots of regrowth are starting for the rebels. All they are after is a new hope!

With a balance required between respecting the films and making her own path, Roanhorse achieves something that sits comfortable between two behemoth films. You get the sense that the author had to take a step back on occasion; certainly, in the case of Rey, but overall, there are some fabulous actions set pieces in the book. The final interweaving heists are triumphant and evoke the entertaining and dark world of classic Star Wars.

Written on 10th December 2019 by .

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