The evenings are drawing in, the clocks are about to go back, and the wind is whipping around our feet as we wander down the fall streets. That means it’s the perfect time to pick up some fantastical books to read, and luckily for all of us, Random House is rereleasing J.M. Lee’s wonderful Dark Crystal novels which tie directly into the brilliant Netflix prequel series Age of Resistance.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance stunned fans who had grown up with the classic Jim Henson film as it expanded on the world of the Gelfling and the Skeksis, setting up the great war and epic journey that we saw Kira and Jen embark on in the ’82 fantasy flick. But before Netflix blessed us all with the ten-episode masterpiece, one of the show’s writers and linguistics specialists—who helped create the podling language in the series—J.M. Lee was laying the groundwork for the story in a series of brilliant YA novels set years before the original film that are available in your local bookstores in a new gorgeous format with wonderful illustrations from Cody Godbey.
Beginning with Shadows of the Dark Crystal, the books introduced readers to a new cast of characters who viewers of the show will likely be familiar with. The first book in the series centers on the Gelfling Naia (Hannah John-Kamen) who has to head to the Castle of the Crystal after her brother Gurjin is put on trial for treason by the Skeksis. It’s a heartbreaking arc that fans of Age of Resistance will immediately recognize, as Gurjin (Harris Dickinson) in the series is Rian’s best friend who is captured after the pair see their bird-like overlords using the Crystal of Truth to drain a Gelfling of her essence. It’s the shocking reveal that sparks the titular resistance and the first book in Lee’s series gives a whole different insight into the strife and tragedy of Gurjin’s struggle, as well as Naia’s eventual hunt for Rian (Taron Egerton).
The second book, Songs of the Dark Crystal, follows directly from the last and centers on another member of the Age of Resistance roster in Kylan (Shazad Latif), a young song teller who aligned himself with his friend Naia at the end of Shadows. With the pair run from the Skeksis, we follow them as they try to find a way to help the Gelfling clans prepare for the darkness that is spreading throughout Thra. The third and fourth stories in the series, Tides of the Dark Crystal and Flames of The Dark Crystal both add to the mythology and world of Dark Crystal, with Tides introducing the Sifan Coast and Flames acting as a finale of the four-book series, which all acts as a spectacular prelude to the popular Netflix show—the script for which was completed before Tides and Flames were released. Other fan-fave characters who make an appearance include Tavra (Caitriona Balfe), skekSo (Jason Isaacs/Jerry Nelson), and skekMal (Ralph Ineson) amongst others.
It’s the perfect time to catch up with the books as on November 12, J.M. Lee is releasing two more tie-in gift books from the series: Heroes of the Resistance: A Guide to the Characters of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and Aughra’s Wisdom of Thra.
Header Image: Penguin Random House