"They Want to Be Heroes. The Galaxy Has Other Plans.”
Join the Resistance kicks off a new series of novels starring a crew of young adventurers. Like past series of middle-grade novels like Jedi Quest, Jedi Apprentice and the recent Adventures in Wild Space chapter books, this new set of tales will focus on galactic events through the eyes of young heroes.
Co-authors Ben Acker and Ben Blacker make their Star Wars debut with this 213 page middle-grade hardcover from Disney-Lucasfilm Press with cover art and occasional illustrations by Annie Wu.
Join the Resistance takes place shortly before the events of The Force Awakens and, as should be expected, mostly within the Resistance movement. Well-known Star Wars characters are mentioned frequently, like General Leia Organa, Admiral Ackbar and Poe Dameron, but the story is really about the Resistance’s young trainees.
For the first time, readers learn a lot about the Resistance: How does it function? How does it recruit new members? If you wanted to, how do you join the Resistance? This novel spells it out as young hopeful pilot Mattis Banz signs up for the chance to be a new hero to the galaxy!
Mattis dreams of being a pilot (though he’s barely left the ground) and soon joins the ranks of Resistance trainees. He meets several new recruits around his age and they begin to bond as they get themselves in trouble at the base.
There is plenty of fun along the way particularly with the character Dec and his “brother”, a droid, but things get more intense as the squadron reveal more and more about themselves. Each seems to have a secret they’ve kept hidden, including Mattis who may have more sensitivity to the Force than he even realizes. Other secrets are more troubling.
Since there are really seven main characters in this book each with their own story, it takes quite a while to get to the adventure Mattis is craving.
The story really picks up steam more than halfway through when they are all sent to the desolate, swampy planet of Vodran, a punishment for some of their antics at the base. Once there, the action escalates rapidly with speeder bikes and encounters with nearly every horrific Star Wars creature imaginable. No spoilers here, but if you like the big, scary creatures from Star Wars movies, you’ll love the last third of the book!
Not everything is fun and adventure, though, as tragedy strikes the group and the story ends with the squadron still facing great danger. Fear not: Book 2 is scheduled for release this Fall!
Fans of the Adventures in Wild Space books will particularly like these, although they are intended for slightly more advanced age/reading level.
Publisher’s Recommendation: Ages 8-12