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Star Wars: Join the Resistance! Review!,

Jondee here at Vodran,

Star Wars: Join the Resistance is a young readers series from Disney-Lucasfilm Press by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker. There are chapter illustrations and cover by Anne Wu. I was able to speak to one of the authors, Ben Blacker, at Comic Con. I told him that I just started reading the novel and he filled me in that there would be four books in the series and that while the characters are not showing up in Last Jedi, there is the possibility that they might show up in other films. I wouldn’t mind a Star Wars: Join the Resistance animated series. It is geared for young readers, but it is a serious mistake for Star Warriors to pass up these stories because they are “kiddie books.” The Jedi Prince books were fun with The Glove of Darth Vader (1992) by Paul Davis and Hollace Davids. The Jedi Quest books by Jude Watson were also good reads. The story of the young Boba Fett was covered in the series by Terry Bisson and Elizabeth Hand. All knocked out of the canon, but still entertaining to read. In the canon is Jason Fry’s Star Wars: The Weapon of a Jedi (2015), I absolutely love Servants of the Empire by Jason Fry, and the Adventures in Wild Space by Cavan Scott were a UK-only publication, that now has a wide release.

So onto the first book of Star Wars: Join the Resistance! There was always a question about what qualities the Resistance (and for that matter the Rebellion) is looking for in soldiers and pilots. This book answers it. Now, J-Squadron may be X-Wing pilots, but they don’t actually get to training in X-Wings at this point, so before you go locking in S-foils see these young people earn their flight suits. Our protagonist is Mattis Ban, a 14 year old orphan boy from the Durkteel in the Mid-Rim, it is the home world of the Saurin – the reptilian alien at the cantina. It opens with Mattis leaving Durkteel behind and meeting the excitable Klimo, a Rodian, the same alien as Greedo. Klimo is my favorite Rodian because he is so cheerful and instantly likes people. Mattis thinks back to his days in the orphanage in the city of Lund Gourley. He was being bullied by the Saurin Fikk. Mattis is thrown around by Fikk, but the bullying is stopped by the drift (bus) driver Antha Mont, a Skup, a new alien described as a humanoid with long arms and nose. She tells him that she has impressed how he handled the situation and that she has been watching him.

His contact tells him about the Resistance and Mattis is introduced to another Resistance figure, Snap Wexley. He of course was in The Force Awakens and first appeared as a kind-of Anakin in Aftermath (2015). Mattis takes the flight to the Resistance base on D’Qar. Mattis’ reminiscing is interrupted by Zeltron girl. The Zeltrons were an alien race that first appeared in Star Wars #70 (1983). They are a race with bright pink skin tones and had the ability to use pheromones to make themselves look attractive. In this case, it is surly Lorica Demaris, who is famous for destroying a weapons cache. They land on the base and are met by AG-90, a droid made up of different parts, and has speaks in a Southern drawl (new for Star Wars). They meet his brother, Dec Hansen, who grew up on the swamp planet, Ques. He speaks the same way as AG-90. They have the bickering relationship of brothers. Dec has Mattis act as lookout as he sneaks into a room. He is hoisted up by a massive girl named Sari Nadle. She seems intimidating because of her size and strength, but she is actually gentle and adept as a slicer, the Star Wars term for hacker. This is all a test of Mattis’ loyalty. Their loyalty is further tested when Admiral Ackbar discovers them! He sends them away for punishment and introduces Mattis to their squad leader, Jo Jerjerrod, a serious, young man. I’m not certain if there is a connection, but Moff Jerjerrod was commander of the second Death Star.

One of the parts that struck me about the book is that you may or may not be in the age range of the characters in the book, but you don’t have to be, it’s like Harry Potter. The characters are engaging and diverse so it is fun to follow their adventures.  Dec has another night mission for the friends, following Jo into the communications center, and ends with them getting captured by sentry droids.  They manage to escape the droids and Dec struggles with Jo to stop him from memory wiping his brother!  To reactivate AG-90, Dec shuts off power to the base, this works, but also shuts off the landing lights for a squadron of X-Wing fighters!  As punishment, Admiral Ackbar sends them to Vodran to scavenge for parts useful for the Resistance. This is the swamp home world of the dianogas, the trash compactor monster. The planet was also the former residence of a Hutt who brought along a collection of beasties. Dec finds that his brother can only speak in beeps so he suspects AG-90 overheard Jo’s conversation. They not only have to deal with the planet’s wildlife, but also a stampede and even more threats. Ben Acker and Ben Blacker are going to write the Star Wars Adventures comic for IDW.  Issue #4 features a character called Mattis Banz!  This novel is a fast read full of fun characters, very Star Wars with new expressions and worlds to explore.

Five Lightsabers out of Five!

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