#SciFiMonth Audiobook Review: Star Wars: Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Star Wars: Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse
Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction, Media Tie-In
Series: Star Wars Canon, Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Publisher: Random House Audio (November 5, 2019)
Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
Author Information: Website | Twitter
Narrator: Marc Thompson
Guys, I was so excited when I found out about Star Wars: Resistance Reborn and that Rebecca Roanhorse would be writing it. Rebecca Roanhorse, as in The Sixth World Rebecca Roanhorse? I love that series! And couldn’t have been more thrilled that she was tapped for this project. But she also has her work cut out for her, given the challenging task of bridging The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.
Reduced to only a handful of survivors after the harrowing events at the battle of Crait, the Resistance now they must decide their next steps. Leia Organa, unwilling to give up, sends out a call for help to whoever would listen. But it appears most of her support have abandoned her—or have been captured and detained by the First Order. Wracked with guilt for his actions, Poe Dameron is ready to do anything to make amends. At Leia’s request, he takes it upon himself to search for more allies.
And at its heart, that’s what this book is all about: Poe’s road to redemption. He knows he screwed up royally in The Last Jedi, and Resistance Reborn is merciless in making you feel the full brunt of the repercussions to his actions.
So this, in essence, is really Poe’s story. The consequence of his recklessness that effectively led to the end of the Resistance is a shadow that looms over the entire novel. But just as the rebellion needs to be reborn, so does our commander of Black Squadron. No one is harder on Poe than Poe himself, and throughout this journey, filled with moments both heartwarming and heart-wrenching, he realizes that he still has teammates and true friends who will fight by his side, lifting him out of that dark place. And then there are the kind of allies who won’t take such a direct route, choosing instead to empower him and set him on the right path by teaching him how to help himself.
Which brings me to the cast of characters, and I was pleasantly surprised to find we got to follow some major players. In my experience, whenever we get a “bridge book” or a “prequel novel” in the Star Wars expanded canon that promises to fill in the gaps, what we usually get instead is a fun but fluffy throwaway piece starring a bunch of expendable one-use characters because you just know they’ll save all the most important developments for the movies. A prime example of this is the first book of Aftermath (though to be fair, some of the characters in that trilogy ultimately became quite prominent, impacting the Star Wars universe quite significantly, but more on that later).
Such is life when it comes to media tie-ins, after all, but Resistance Reborn on the other hand features all our old favorites: Leia, Rey, Finn, Poe, Rose, Chewbacca, and the list goes on. It helped make this feel like a real Star Wars novel, lending weight to its people, events, and places. It also made me feel like what I read mattered on a greater level, and you’d be surprised how few canon novels thus far have passed this test.
Not only that though, Resistance Reborn is like a gift to the superfans of Star Wars who have really embraced the franchise beyond the movies. If you’ve also enjoyed the books, comics, video games, TV shows, etc., there will be quite a few references and appearances by characters you’ll recognize from elsewhere. Snap Wexley, for example, who made his debut on the aforementioned Aftermath and was brought to life on the big screen in The Force Awakens. Shriv Suurgav and Zay Versio, from Battlefront II. Even Ransolm Casterfo, the handsome rogue senator from Claudia Gray’s brilliant Leia Organa novel Bloodline will show up, with some answers as to what he’s been up to all these years. Not only that, we have some highly recognizable names like Wedge Antilles, who has married Snap’s mother Norra and are living together as farmers on Akiva. Maz Kanata, who understands more than most how the Force works in mysterious ways. And of course, there are ties aplenty to the Poe Dameron and Black Squadron comics. It was fascinating to see this book gather all these disparate characters together, forming the basis of a new resistance. There’s a sense of renewed hope, but also this bittersweet acceptance of an end to an era. The coming battle will be fought by this new line-up of rebels, and I’m curious to see who will show up in The Rise of Skywalker.
As for Rebecca Roanhorse’s writing, I think her style translates well to Star Wars, despite the occasional turn of phrase which would jolt me out of the immersion. Her best portrayals were of the female characters (there was one particular scene I loved, involving a heartfelt conversation between Leia and Rey), while a couple of her male characters like Wedge and Finn could have used some fine-tuning, and there were a few telling-not-showing moments where Poe came across just a bit too detached. But overall, I couldn’t be happier with Roanhorse’s work and her dedication to detail. The book was peppered with little Easter Eggs, calling back to everything from Star Wars: Rebels to the original trilogy.
But when it comes to story, admittedly the plot was on the flimsier side, and it worked out too neatly. Yes, we get this whole build-up to a nail-biting finale, but at the end of the day, we are still left with an awkward sense of being back to square one. Granted, we now know the Resistance isn’t as alone as we thought it was; the most important elements of Black Squadron are intact and we we’ve dug up some new allies. Poe, the linchpin of the novel, also gets his absolution. But really, all this could have been inferred from the end of The Last Jedi. I guess the point I’m trying to make is, Resistance Reborn ends in a way that seems purposely designed not to affect the third movie at all, but again, this just goes back to the nature of media tie-ins. Like most, it’s a standalone, supplementary rather than required, and the most important characters are kept from making any huge decisions or weren’t developed much because obviously you save those things for the movie.
That being said, should you read Resistance Reborn? Yes, if you’re a diehard Star Wars fan and are going all in on Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, you absolutely should. Despite its weaknesses (many of which are related to the tie-in genre rather than anything negative to do with the book itself) this was one of the better novels from the new canon. Rebecca Roanhorse did a fantastic job writing a fun new adventure to fill the gap between the two films, even fixing or clarifying a few things from The Last Jedi, while providing lots of geek-out moments for those of us who love everything Star Wars.
Hmm, interesting. I was curious about this solely because Roanhorse is writing it, but The Last Jedi was SUCH a disappointment, and Poe being a misogynistic ass was a huge part of what I hate about that movie, so I had zero interest in a Poe-centered novel.
But then you went and talked about knowing he screwed up royally, and feeling the full brunt of repercussions for his actions . . . and suddenly I’m wondering if this might be the palate cleanser I need before braving Rise of Skywalker. 🙂
I think you’ll find that this books redeems Poe a whole lot! 🙂
I don’t think I knew she had written a Star Wars book. I love that! And I’m glad it was a good one😁
I hope this will give her more attention that she deserves!
I totally agree. I’ve been tricked into reading a SW bridge book before, but this one was more substantial.
Haha, “tricked” – that’s how I felt with Aftermath 😛
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I only made it through the first book. I keep telling myself that I’ll go back to the next ones, but…
Ive never really got into Star Wars but I’m glad to hear that you mostly enjoyed the book. Media tie ins do tend to make me a little wary but I really want to read the new Sabrina ones sometime. And maybe check out the original comics. I’ve never got in to comics though so I constantly put those off.
Yeah, tie-ins are tricky, but I find that recent ones have gotten so much better! It used to be there was a stigma around them and the automatic assumption that they will be terrible, but a lot of franchises have gotten better authors on board to write theirs 🙂
Not sure it’s something I would read but I’m glad that you had a great time
Thanks! And yeah, Star Wars fiction has a pretty niche audience.
While movie and tv tie-ins are not my favorite kind of read, a book written by Rebecca Roanhorse deserves to be taken into consideration, indeed…😄
Agreed, even if I hadn’t been a reader of Star Wars tie-ins, her name would have gotten me to take a look!
Ohhh I could read this and omg the finale is soooon
So true! Read this if you want to do the full prep 😉
Nice that Poe gets a spotlight, and Roanhorse writing Star Wars? Cool! I still need to read her other books but they’re on my list!
Yeah, I was happy with Poe getting the spotlight too, because so far in the movies he’s mostly a footnote 😛
Great review! Shame you didn’t say more about the narrator or the quality of the production as it is an audiobook.
It’s a Star Wars audiobook and it’s Marc Thompson – they’re all good. If you aren’t familiar with the awesomeness of Marc Thompson, check out my past Star Wars audio reviews for my comments on his narration, at this point I’d just be repeating myself 😛
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Ransolm Casterfo’s in it?! Heck yes!
Briefly, but yes! So awesome! 😀
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Oooooh, so glad you liked this one! I don’t know if I’m ever going to read anymore SW media tie ins but I did totally pitch this one to my friend and glad to hear that it’s good so she’s not mad at me later LOL. 🙂
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Ahh, I recall seeing this one and was curious how you’d feel = simply because Rebecca Roanhorse – so it’s great to see you really enjoyed it.