Starting off pretty much where The Last Jedi left us, this story tells how Leia and the remnants of the Resistance started to get back on to their feet.
After their crushing defeat at the hands of the First Order the Resistance are almost done for. They have a handful of people on the Falcon and a few squadrons that had been sent to look for help but that’s about it. Leia calls her remaining forces together to look for a new base and to look for new resources, both in ships and people. The leadership has basically been wiped out as well as all their ships so they’re in a bad way.
For the one of the first times in the new Canon this really feels like a somewhat relevant Star Wars book to the movies. The book is populated by all the main characters, at least from the Resistance POV. Leia gets a lot of screen time and she is so well portrayed. It really brought home how long she has struggled, from a teenager in the Rebellion to the New Republic to the Resistance. Luke disappeared for years, so did Han, but Leia has been at the heart and soul of it for basically her whole life and has been through so much loss. She has lost her family, her brother, her husband, her son and so many of her friends and companions, yet even with all this she still soldiers on and is not letting her grief get in the way of what needs to be done. She’s an amazing character and I feel sometimes is short changed in the films.
One of the other main focuses of the book is on Poe. He is having to deal with his attempted mutiny and the consequences of it. He’s not being left off the hook and his journey is accepting what he did and why he did it, to learn from it, and gain acceptance again as a leader. Another great character is brought back here, in a direct node to the trailers of Episode 9; Wedge. He’s married to Norra (from the Aftermath trilogy and mother of Snap Wexley) and is enjoying his retirement. Then the Resistance comes calling again, they need leadership and he and Norra are dragged back into it. There is a strong streak of melancholy throughout this book and it is shown again here, they are one of the few remaining members of the Rebellion still alive but they just aren’t left alone.
There are lots of other characters brought back here from the novels as well as the movies and it was great to see. Too many of the books seem full of throwaway characters that are never seen or heard from again so it is great to see them being used, hopefully they will feature in the new film but I kind of doubt it, at least in any sort of impactful way. This is kind of my only issue with this book and it has nothing to do with the author or they way it was written. For all the great moments here nothing much happens. The Resistance is basically still on its knees, they have a few new faces and ships but that’s about it. It’s all due to the nature of the tie in novel and a probable embargo on anything major happening to the characters outside of the films. I understand the logic but it still frustrates.
All in all this is a great book and while not necessary to read before the movie I think it will definitely enhance it.