The First Order searches for an old weapon of the Empire in SPARK OF THE RESISTANCE (Review)

Justina Ireland’s Star Wars story follows Rey, Rose, and Poe on an unexpected mission that could recruit more help for the Resistance in its fight against the First Order.

When we last saw Rey, Poe, and Rose on the big screen, they were on the Millennium Falcon with what remained of the Resistance, fleeing from Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

From what we have been able to gather so far through some of the books and comics that have been released since then, the Resistance is now doing all it can to gather resources and recruits to its cause. General Organa is still spearheading the movement. Rey and company are major assets to the rebellion.

Justina Ireland’s story begins with three of our heroes (unless you also count BB-8 and the porgs) on the Falcon again, working hard to make sure the Resistance has everything it needs to go up against its enemy.

But just when they think their original mission is going to end without any bumps in the hyperspace lane, they get a call.

There are spoilers ahead for Spark of the Resistance! If you don’t want to know plot details, run far, far away.

Rey, Rose, Poe, and BB-8 (oh, and the porgs, which now apparently have names) are on their way back from a supply run when they receive an unexpected distress call. Because Rey wants nothing more than to help people, she and the group collectively decide to check it out.

What they soon discover is that the zixon — a sentient species described as “green and fuzzy” with big eyes and rabbit-like ears — are being terrorized by the First Order. The Order, it turns out, is looking for something that could help them rule the galaxy.

The Echo Horn — the device everyone seems to both fear and desperately want their hands on — is a weapon of sorts created by the Empire in a since-abandon lab. The weapon, when activated, forces those affected to physically obey any order given to them. Sort of like mind control, except you are aware of everything you are doing — you just can’t do anything about it.

First Order commander Branwayne Spiftz really wants the Echo Horn. Not to help the organization he claims to be loyal to, of course, but to begin his own reign as a pseudo-emperor — he wants to be a “legend.”

But Glenna Kip has her own plans. Glenna is a scientist from the planet where the zixon reside who actually helped create the weapon the First Order plans on using to overtake the galaxy.

She wants the Echo Horn for herself, and plans to abandon the First Order as soon as she has it.

At first, it appears as though she’s just another power-hungry evildoer who cares for no one other than herself. You soon find out, however, that she actually only wants the Echo Horn so that she can destroy it and prevent the Order from using it to control systems and their species.

This storyline reminds me a little of Sabine’s backstory in Star Wars Rebels. She ended up creating a weapon for the Empire that put a lot of people in danger and had to deal with that guilt, similar to Glenna.

But Glenna helped create the Echo Horn pretty much against her will — which is kind of funny, considering that’s exactly the sort of thing the weapon seeks to accomplish.

In the end — through a series of trials and quick battle sequences — Poe destroys the device, and both Glenna and some of the zixon warriors offer to join the Resistance. Which is a good thing, since Leia needs all the help she can get.

I loved the dynamic between Poe and Rey, and I am glad Poe finally got to fly something before the book ended. Can someone please get Poe Dameron an X-Wing?

Also, porgs are apparently taking over the galaxy now? Not really. But some of them did make themselves at home in the trees of the planet, and everyone just sort of decided to leave them behind and let nature decide what to do with them. So if you were worried about porgs going extinct, well, you can rest easy now.

One of the most impactful elements of this story in terms of the “big picture” is Rey’s current relationship with the Force.

This is one of very few post-The Last Jedi stories we’ve gotten that features Rey as a prominent character. And so we’re really seeing for the first time how unsure she is about her own abilities as as a Force-sensitive (she specifically says she’s “not a Jedi”) and her struggles to connect with the Force.

During the final battle, she really has to work hard to attempt to make a connection with the Force. She doesn’t think she will ever be as important as Luke Skywalker, which is ever so slightly worrisome, because, um, it’s kind of up to her to defeat Supreme Leader Kylo Ren?

Unless she really does go dark and doesn’t turn back?

Ha. Just kidding. Or am I?

This was, in all seriousness, a quick but enjoyable read. Could you skip it and get similar info from other stories, such as the Allegiance comic series? Probably. But if you have a free afternoon, give this a try. I read through it in just a few hours.

But just because it’s an easy read doesn’t mean it lacks substance. If you love the main characters from the sequel trilogy, you will have a fun time with this story.

I’m planning on picking up everything that’s part of the Journey to The Rise of Skywalker series for many reasons — mostly because I’m impatient and need as much content as I can to occupy my brain while I’m waiting for it to be December 20.

Some of these stories really are going to plant some seeds for things to come, however. I highly recommend, at the very least, keeping up with our coverage of the stories that are coming out of Del Rey and Lucasfilm Publishing in the next few months. There’s a lot, but there’s bound to be some hidden gems just waiting to be found.

Have you checked out any of the Star Wars books or comics that have come out in the last few months? Which has been your favorite so far?